I am on the plane right now flying back to Kuala Lumpur after about 10 days spending time in some interesting places in the UK. I arrived on the 4th June 2022 and flew back on the 13th June 2022.
My main motive for this visit was to see Dr Kit as he just moved back to the UK after 2 and a 1/2 years in Mauritius and also to attend an event for a family friend. In addition, I also had some time to discuss and work on the longitudinal study with the University of Hertfordshire.
It was an absolutely amazing and memorable visit this time. I have been to a number of really interesting places in the UK, north of London this time. Here are some places that I can list:
1. Cambridge, Ely and meeting Dr. Claire
This is an amazing place to be! I just can’t stop thinking about how Cambridge just blew my mind. We stayed with Dr Rose Drury for 3 nights. We went around King's College, had an amazing tour in King College Chapel, wondering around the Cambridge City Centre and punting on the river. It was a brilliant moment for me to experience punting for the first time. Dr. Kit did all the punting while I mainly focussed on the rowing. I was a bit nervous to try the punting as there were too many eyes around the river.
One of the days, we also went to Ely. However Ely Cathedral was closed for a wedding ceremony. Not that we expected it but it was Pixie Lott's wedding! Not that we planned it but, we were suddenly in the middle of the crowd waiting for Pixie Lott and his husband in front of the Ely cathedral entrance. It was a magical moment for me.
A very special part of staying in Cambridge was meeting up with Dr. Claire. After several years of participating in a longitudinal study with her and other researchers that were mainly conducted online and by phone calls, I found it quite satisfying to be able to meet her in person and discuss a the research in a more detail fave to face.
2. Derbyshire, Matlock
After a few days in Cambridge, we then travelled to Derbyshire and stayed for two nights with Ali (former UH lecturer) and Simon in Matlock. They own such a huge house and beautiful garden. It was really well kept and beautiful scenery from the garden and the hills surrounded. I had such an interesting time learning about them as well as learning about a part of UK that I had not explored before.
One of the days, we went to the Heights of Abraham to spend our day there. The weather was not as sunny with a bit of drizzle every now and then. We went up to the hills via cable car and it was an amazing view - to see Derbyshire from the cable car. There were many activities available to do on the hills - we went to explore the lead mine - where we experienced the darkness and the hardship of mining lead a long time ago; we went to the Masson Pavilion Exhibition Hall - where we were able to learn and experience how clothes have changed over the centuries and we went for coffee at the café as well. Right after that we went for a walk around Matlock and witnessed this interesting part of Derbyshire.
3. Yorkshire, Bedale and Thirsk
Dr. Kit and I continued driving to the north up in Yorkshire to see and stay with Sue Higgins and Ian Condron. I had never met them before but they were Dr. Kit's best friends from the past. They were hosting an event to celebrate their anniversary together. The main purpose was to be in that event and get to know them closely. I was so honoured to be invited and to be a part of that event. It was a lovely time and I really enjoyed the night!
4. Newcastle and Durham
During the stay in Yorkshire, we had a day to ourselves to drive up to Newcastle. I took the opportunity to reminisce about my time in Newcastle during my Masters degree. I met Dr. Farrah Khan for a bit of chat and then wandered around the Newcastle University area for photos and videos. I can't believe it that it has been 10 years since 2012 when I was there. What an incredible moment to remember and to be back there again!
We then stayed in a rural area in a barn house of Durham. It was located in the middle of the farming area and near the wind turbine. It was quiet and calm. The next day we woke up, we explored the car garages in Durham to find the best car for Dr. Kit as he now back in UK for good for now. We even had some time to stop by the sea at Seaham. I found some glass pebbles on the beach and really had a wonderful time there.
This 10th time visiting UK was so magnificent. The experience was memorable, definitely rich and I met a lot of interesting people. The best thing was that I am more calm and at ease especially when making conversation with people there. I was not sure why. I have never had so much confidence inside but hopefully it shone differently on the outside.
PS: I never tire of exploring UK