I realize an entry has been long overdue. To be honest and fair, not a lot of new things have happened. Classes have begun. As I have mentioned before, they educational setup is extremely different than Nazareth’s. We have 4 classes instead of 5. For each class, you have an hour lecture with about 100 or more people. Then, later in the week, you have a 1-hour seminar with around 25 people. It acts as a place where people debate their ideas they’ve gathered from the lecture and the week’s reading. Oh and reading isn’t required. It is “suggested” and followed by a list of at least 20 books you could choose from. Although reading isn’t required, teachers still want students to skim through at least one of these textbooks a week. And for the assessment? Well, I have 1 essay for each class that counts for 100% of my grade and is due at the end of the semester. The essays range from 2,000-3,000 words. They are ones that require a lot of research, but not in the form of book report. You choose from a list of questions, and the questions do not have a right or wrong answer. You take a position/have an opinion and defend it. That’s Leeds Met in a nutshell.
Although nothing surprisingly new has happened in a little while, I can still write you something. I tend to notice and appreciate the weird/fascinating things in life. The little oddities that people tend to overlook are usually highlighted in a bright fluorescent yellow for me. On my many walks around the city of Leeds, I have discovered a few of these things, and I would like to share them with you.
When you take the 2.2 mile hike from Mary Morris to Civic Quarter (my campus in the city centre), you discover that the sidewalks have become so saturated with gum remnants that they are quite literally polka-dotted. Should you choose to look at this another way, they even remind me of a reversal Dalmatian… black with white spots. Anyway, these spots have gone far beyond the point of general litter, and instead have reached the status of decoration. What also decorates these sidewalks is shattered glass. About every 50 feet, at bus stops or right outside a pub mostly, you will find piles of broken glass. Every time you pass one of these, you imagine the drunken group of Uni kids that could not possibly hold onto their drink any longer. There are about 19 or so pubs on the main road in Leeds and people attempt to have a pint in every one. They call this the Otley Road walk. Maybe, perhaps, these glass pieces indicate moments on someone’s journey when their Otley Road challenge has come to an end. Good push, guys. Better luck next weekend.
At every bus stop and all along Otley you will find smashed Styrofoam containers, revealing the leftovers of whatever munchies these Uni kids had the night before in their drunken stupor. Generally it’s fish and chips you will find spewed across the sidewalk, keeping the gum company. If not that, definitely a burger. Whatever greasy mess that can be inhaled to help absorb the pints of Otley Road.
If you get tired of going to pubs, why not try the clubs? There are dozens of them. Probably more than dozens. For instance, oddity #4 is the club called Halo which is remarkably a former church, a gorgeous old building with beautiful stand glass and dark, aged brick. The place that people used to go to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness and guidance is now a place where people attend on a regular basis to commit what would probably be considered sin-like behaviors. To put a cherry on this irony, Mormons stand outside of it on the weekdays doing their missionary work, trying to persuade passersby to see/hear the truth of God. If that does not open your mind, I’m not sure what else would. Only in Leeds.
All of these things just reveal the unique evidence that this is a student city. I haven’t quite discovered what it says about the actual people here. I’m not quite Sherlock Holmes with mastery in deductive reasoning. Perhaps I will let my observant nature take me there one day. For now, these little factoids remain a mystery.