Tag Archives: College

Tastes Like Uni. (For all you yanks: Uni; University as abbreviated by our kilt wearing, haggis eating friends across the broad broad bay)

A (really, really exciting) Interactive iSpy Activity:

Seven Things To Be Found Floating About Our Kitchen

1.

If you weren’t already convinced as to which land mass I happen to be occupying, here’s a hint.

One can simultaneously toast/bake/warm/reheat/broil/grill eight pieces of bread in our flat at a time.

Coming from a country in which toast and tea is reserved primarily as food for the sick and bedridden (all right, potentially a wee bit of an exaggeration, even by my own standards, but we’re trying to get a point across).

I found that endlessly impressive.

Our flat is stocked with not only a toaster, but also a, and I quote, “toastie maker.”

Other popular outlets for toast preparation include the oven, in addition to the microwave.

However my flatmates have incessently shot me down whenever I’ve offered to just warm up a batch of microwaved toast for them, describing it with harsh adjectives such as, “stale” “rubbery” and “unappetizingly chewy.”

Pretty cruel critique when divulged in a British accent.

2.

Skint.

(North Americans, this is Scottish for, “broke” a friendly term with the 18-25 age group)

Cliche?

Potentially.

Nonetheless probably the most common cupboard landscape round campus halls is the very spitting image before you.

3.

No one’s quite sure what this is. What it’s for. How to use it. Nor how it appeared in our flat.

So, we did what all other practical uni students would do in this situation, threw it in the drawer of wonders and waited it out till it proved it’s worth.

Which surprisingly came in an impressivly short amount of time the very next day, and the next day, and the next.

Seeing as it has no use, we have managed to use it for just about everything there is.

We’ve set this awkward stick to work grinding, crunching, stirring, smooshing, flattening, rolling, and wrecking general destruction.

4.

Seeing Jonathan eating food is never an odd occurrence.

In fact, that is a very, very natural occasion in the kitchen of Flat 2, one that happens most essentially on the hour, every hour rain or shine, more rain than shine, never fail.

The only impressive, and therefore relatively odd happening in this photo is the way in which Jonathan is avidly (and may I note successfully) consuming a Tesco bought lasagna meal pack meant for four.

That gorgeous trophy of a college student’s dinner was devoured in one single sitting.

In a span of about fifteen minutes.

Only under the strictest supervision of peer pressure of course.

5.

I could probably write a novel about the chickpea incident.

Screw that, I could write encyclopedias, as in multiple, about the chickpea incident.

Or at the very least a couple of semi-decent blog posts.

However I now present to you, the debut recounting of:

The Chickpea Incident; Abridged Version.

It has something to do with me coming home from lectures right about dinner time, absolutely starving as always, if I were a twelve year old boy, the hunger would most certainly be attributed to an inevitable growth spurt just minutes down the road of maturity.

But I fear I’ve far out-aged the good old days of growth spurts and must now face the reality that all that food I’m consuming really isn’t going to make me taller, and I’ve got nothing at all left in the world to blame my hunger upon.

Anyhow, it’s the type of evening when everything smells delicious, like really, really good.

And all I want is some sort of insta-meal to just appear before me, you know, the way that food would just sort of, materialize whenever mum was around back home.

Rummaging through the echo of my roomy kitchen cupboard, the results weren’t promising.

The options looked to be a can of beans for the third time that day, or the untouched economic sized bag of chickpeas I’d picked up from Tesco a couple of weeks back.

Chickpeas it was.

Now, I’m not really sure what a chickpea is, neigh how to cook it, the more important thing however, is that it was on sale.

And such a bargain it was (moment of nostalgic recollection).

With the simplest of calculations, I figured that the mere two pound investment would then feed me for the next couple weeks solid based on the size of that bag.

Besides, they were practically peas right, just like, attractive, womanly peas, “chick” peas.

Yeah, not.

After a short flat debate, I decided to treat them like pasta and throw them in a pot to boil, expecting, like pasta (minus the pest0), in ten minutes time I’d have a steaming plate, and fork in hand.

Healthy, nutritious, and delicious.

In hindsight, it’s almost adorable. How innocent and idealistic I was.

Ten minutes turned into half an hour, which turned into two hours, which turned into ten hours, which eventually became a twenty-four hour span, which is how I met chickpeas.

Thee absolute most high-maintenance pea on the planet, at the most aptly inopportune moment of college student starvation.

6.

Only in a flat with medics do we have poetry and artwork regarding the corpse they’re dissecting in anatomy class gracing our fridge tops.

Expressing their deepest darkest sentiments about slitting flesh with scalpel.

Great. Sure works up the ole appetite.

7.

The relatively gruesome result of what was, I believe, appropriately dubbed, “Epic Meal Time.”

It involved eight male freshers (scottish slang for first years), forty quid of meat products, and some sort of bacon weave, from what I could determine.

Feel free to skip over this next part under the pretenses of preserving your stomach if you wish.

However I feel it necessary to comment that this photo was taken the morning after, and moments following this endearing image of processed meaty goodness was captured, the contents of this picture were consumed, instead of Corn Flakes, for breakfast by my lovely male flatmates.

I’ve never known a better time for being vegetarian.

 

 

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The Great Cracker Challenge.

  

Living in Apartment Number Two of the largest student-housing complex in town means that we get a lot of visitors.

Mainly due to the lack of flights of stairs required to scale in order to reach our front door. After a mere literal hop and a skip, you’re in the building.

News Flash: A rainforest genocide has taken place and the results are apparent by the twenty seven odd pamphlets slid under our door each half hour. Advertising new salons, an Indian food buffet, this Friday’s jungle themed rave, and a free bag of chips with the purchase of a new printer.

Believe me, there is quite a party going on beneath our doorframe.

And those are just the notices from those either to respectful, or just to lazy to knock.

There’s another whole genre of PR folks who’ll pound down your door with their various rhythms of knocking until you open it up and listen to their spiel.

We always glue our faces against the peephole and give the knocker a thorough once over evaluation before deciding whether or not to let them in, at the high stake sacrifice of giving them a couple minutes of our lives that we’ll never get back again.

But I’d take the PR staff any day rain or shine over the man who tests our fire alarms. He has this tendency to barge in at all hours of the wee morning, and put off the fire alarms under the pretenses of “testing them.” I’ve come to the sole conclusion that as a youngen he had many a sleep cycle interrupted by intrusive fire alarms, and from a psychological standpoint, he now seeks to make amends by persecuting countless other meager seekers of knowledge.

Just the other day after a bit of habitual knocking, I swing open my door indignantly to reveal probably the most intriguing triumvirate to ever grace the carpeted hearth of Flat Two.

They labeled themselves as architecture students, raising money for their new project of outdoor classrooms.

I wasn’t sure how pleasantly this would pan out with the harsh and icy Scottish windy weather. But I wasn’t there to interrogate them on the practicalities of their scheme, I was present merely to cock my head in wonder at the sign strung round the young mans neck, reading,

“Can YOU Eat Four Crackers In One Minute?”

I don’t know, could I? Surely four crackers wouldn’t be too difficult for a bigmouth such as I.

They all held uniformly mischievous smiles and a single orange bag of seemingly innocent crackers.

The challenge was thus: Consume four crackers in one minute, and win a bottle of Irn Bru (a type of strong orange flavored soda, so popular it’s practically the national drink of Scotland…and nowhere else…).

It was a tempting offer.

And I’ve never been good with temptation.

Reluctantly, I shoveled over a pound, and came to the realization that those elementary school wrapping paper fundraisers never really come to an end, they are just revamped to create a college rendition of the door to door give me all your money tactic of acquiring funds.

So I began.

One cracker at a time.

Liquids not permitted.

Biting through the stack of parched cardboard, the crackers crumbling beneath each other in their crispy shards of dry.

I chewed.

And chewed.

And choked.

And all I could hear was the sound of my relentless salty chewing.

I paced the hallway to the recurring sound of the architects dull counting down of the seconds.

And I heard behind me the muffled expectant cheering of my flat mates.

And then came the loudest sound of all, the dry chortle of sawdust spewing from my mouth as I bent over the bathroom sink gasping through splinters of wheat as failure glared at me in layers from the depths of my bathroom drain.

Most likely a photograph is neither necessary, nor appreciated, and I’m quite certain your imagination is vibrant enough to conjure up it’s own mental picture. However I’m never one to waste a perfectly good photo….

 

Trust it to students to come up with a fund raising idea of such ludicrous proportions, and leave it to students to actually participate in, and enjoy (relatively) said activity.

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I Love Packing.

 I love packing.

Correction.

I absolutely adore packing.

Packing fits into my category of cleaning.

Which I also love, but only the fun type of cleaning, like emptying out old closets, sweeping up spilled Cheerios, and folding warm static-y post-dryer clothes.

Three activities of which I’m particularly fond of.

I must admit that cleaning my room is on the top of my favorite things to do, almost grazing writing in a plain black journal with a steamy cup of peppermint tea.

Emphasis on the almost.

Ironically enough however, my room is a constant disaster.

Although I often feel like I spend the entirety of my spare moments wading through cleaning it.

Still haven’t sorted through the complexities of that paradox.

Packing for a trip, to my delight, is like cleaning for a purpose.

It also includes, which I won’t eschew either, shopping for a purpose.

A reason to rid your closet of the most comfortable elastic-less underwear, third grade class t-shirt, and that faded pink, ratty old sweater that magically becomes the first thing you put on.

If it doesn’t fit in the suitcase, it’s got to go.

I made an exception for a pair of moss green beaded espadrilles, and hid them in the back of my empty closet, hoping their impracticality would mark my return to the States of America.

I do believe, however, I’ve somehow discovered the reason behind the majority of all suitcases being black, the most evident of which, includes the miraculous slimming qualities of the color black. That can make even the most abundant of overstuffed luggage look remotely thinner. Whereas, my own bright red polka dotted bags never manage to attain that same degree of sophistication.

But they are pretty cute, to say the least.

One thing that’s left me persistently baffled is the manner in which a girl such as myself, who loves organization to such a meticulous degree, has absolutely never managed to pull up to the gas station pump with the right side of the car facing the tank on the first try.

Not to mention all those times I forgot to empty the lint filter in the dryer, or left my quesadilla on the stovetop frying to a blackened crisp.  Or the way I consider it a rare blessing when I’m able to find the car keys in under five minutes.

Perhaps organization comes in hills and valleys, in ebb and flow.

Becoming too organized can leave a sterile taste at the back of your tongue, and a floor too clean to tiptoe on.

Being too flamboyantly gaudy with muddled disorder, obtrudes your mental space with materiality, and obstructs clarity of thought and vision.

I guess we just can’t win em all, and in the meantime, I’ll be over here leaving my coffee cup on the roof of the car in the Coffee Bean parking lot, as I peel out of the drive way, just to run home and measure the precise degree and angle each item occupies in my suitcase, and the additional weight it adds.

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