Thursday, November 18, 2004

Where I live in Bristol: Hodgkin House

A bit about my house in Bristol is certainly in order, as it is a major locus of my life here.

The house is run by the English Anglican Church, and church activities are certainly a part of the house, though they welcome everyone ('of all faiths or none' they say). The staff is very kind, I think they are more kind to me as a native English speaker than to some of others in the house, more patient perhaps, or at least more at ease.

About a quarter of the 55 or so students in the house are Chinese, and they tend to group together a lot, though there are several who are very outgoing toward non-Chinese. There are several Indians, most of whom speak Bengali and spend time together (these are the ones mentioned previously - a very fun group). There are two muslim men, one from Bengaladesh and one from Pakistan (two nations which were one before 1971 I have learned) - they seem very nice from my short talks with them. A couple guys are from Malaysia, there is a girl from Vietnam, and a few other Asians. There are also a handfull of Europeans, notably one Italian woman and a girl from the south of Spain - oh, and Erol from Bulgaria (think of Tom Hanks in 'The Teminal'). These are the people I spend my meal-times and some spare extra time with. There are also several students there who use the 'small kitchen' (as opposed to the main kitchen) so I don't see them and have met them only in passing here and there. More should be posted on particular residents/friends from the house as time passes.

The building itself is composed of 5 flats side-by-side together, 5 levels (basement-ground floor- and three floors of rooms). I'm on the first floor (room 105) and most activities are on the ground (table tenis, office, small tv room) or basement (both kitchens, large tv room, games room, laundry) levels.

The house is just 2 blocks from the Student Union (which I have yet to visit! but soon will) and about 10 minutes walk from my department (Theology and Religious Studies). It's also just about 5-7 minutes from a grocier and a flock of other up-scale stores on a main strip called 'Queen's Road'. The neighborhood is fairly busy, especially at night, when students pour toward the bars/clubs (many on Queen's Road) and then return in the whee hours. My room faces the street, so I get to hear them pass :)

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