Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
As I mentioned in a previous article, my family finally came to Norwich! My parents had been talking about that trip for a while and my brother and I were really excited about it. With my house this year and my housemates being home until the end of the Easter holidays, it was nicer for them to come and to have the house for ourselves! For once, it was nice not to have to travel back to Norwich on my own since leaving home and my family is always a bit hard – especially when you know how hard the work awaiting you at university is going to be.
I was really excited to finally get the chance to show them “my place” and what has been my life for the past year and a half – my house, the university I talk so much about, the uni village, the lake, the Ziggurats, the parks, the castle, the Cathedral and many churches and last but not least… The Sainsbury Centre! In a nutshell, I took them to all the places I could think of! Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to plan a day on the coast or in Cambridge, but they’ll hopefully visit me again (when I graduate next summer?).
During Day 1 in Norwich, I gave my parents the ultimate campus tour and went all the way to the university village, which is at the opposite of where I live now. We walked so much that day that I nearly fell asleep while have dinner. The weather was… well, let’s just say that we had a typical English weather the entire week which is a shame because the campus is so much nicer in sunlight (here’s an older article with much nicer photographs of the campus!). We were all wearing coats and hats and English people were in shorts, t-shirts and wore sunglasses.
We went everywhere: Ziggy’s (food is very important), the Square, the Arts buildings, law school, the Enterprise Centre (they were very impressed by it), Earlham park… I got used to this amazing university but it really struck me how nice UEA is, especially compared to French universities (or at least the one I went to in Nice – it was falling apart).
I couldn’t help feeling a bit emotional when we reached the village and even more emotional when we stood in front of Pine House. I wished I could get in, open the door to my flat, go to the kitchen and see all my friends there, or knock on my boyfriend’s door to say hi… But instead, I just said a shy “Hi” to Celia, who was my cleaner, and told my parents not to go to close or someone might think we are stalkers. We went as far as the back of the village where there’s a nice river and, sometimes, a strange hybrid creature that looks like a mixture of a horse and a cow.
If I had to give my campus tour a stupid geography-lesson type of name, it’d be “UEA: From Concrete to Nature”. Or “From Tradition to Modernity” which leads us to…
The Sainsbury Centre! O, what a beautiful place – even the toilets are so cool (but not as nice as the ones in Julian Study Centre. Trust me, I am a connoisseur). I never get sick of it and in fact, I will go again next weekend for the opening of their new exhibitions (I told you I was a VIP). My family adored it, especially my father who found a really nice place to sit and had his nap there.
Even my brother liked it! He discovered a passion for pots and vases. Like me, my mother loved Degas’s wonderful ballet dancer and Davies’ very unsettling pieces.
Special mention for a special photograph my mother took by the lake: a barbecue! If someone can explain this to me, I would appreciate it? Did she think it was a sculpture from the Sainsbury Centre? We will never know. I thought I should still include it in my article because I couldn’t stop laughing when I found this photograph on her camera.
The next two days were spent in the city centre, Castle Mall, Chapelfield and counting the numerous churches. My mother really liked all the shops and fell in love with Prêt à Manger, Poundland (we don’t really have that in France) and Primark (one has literally just opened near where we live!).
It was really fun to re-discover Norwich with them and I shared my passion for three amazing shops with my mother: Tiger, Gifted and Clinton’s! Oh and the Disney store… My childhood! I non-ironically wanted everything but I’m afraid the princess dresses were too small for me.
I took them to the Forum to show them the BBC office and the TARDIS! I think my mother was much more excited about it than my brother, haha. Taking my brother to the Television and Movie store was a necessity and again, we both wanted to buy everything. This shop is so amazing there is no word to describe. All the series related merchandise is so cool (Breaking Bad!), their DVD collection is cool, but they also have really cool video games things which gave me ideas for my brother’s birthday!
I really wanted to them to the wonderful cathedral but was disappointed that nobody was playing church organ this time! The last two times, I had to sit for a while and listen to this wonderful instrument (definitely one of my favourites) and feel everything shaking around me. I have looked on their website and there are organ recitals regularly, sometimes with a choir, so I will have to go one day to celebrate my freedom (three weeks to go, three weeks to go…).
I thought it’d be cool to take them to the castle – it’d be such a shame to come to Norwich and not visit it! As usual, I went an hour before closing so you only pay £2 each. Since (I assume that’s the reason?) the castle was a Norman one the explanations were in French which was cool for my family. We got to try on these cool helmets (oh my god they were SO heavy!) and I carried a maille vest (even more heavy, I nearly fell when the woman dropped it into my arms)! It wouldn’t be a true visit to the castle without the costumes so… I dressed up again. That’s my guilty-pleasure.
They found it cool and interesting! Everything is really well made and explained so that helps. I didn’t know that after visiting the castle you could get access to other galleries with stuffed animals and old dresses – like the ones you can see in Norwich Museum at the Bridewell. I didn’t take them there because everything is in English but it’s a really nice place to go to so I strongly recommend it.
The whole week with them was really nice and the house suddenly felt really empty without them. But work never stops and there was no time to think about it! I’m so glad they finally came to Norwich! Oh and please let me know if there is any place you recommend in Norwich or around it 🙂