Great food and even better friends

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.
– Cesar Chavez

As an undergraduate student at the University of Indianapolis, almost all of my friends were American. The university has a partnership with Ningbo Institute in China, so there were a ton of Chinese students on campus, but they seemed unapproachable because they hung out in packs and only spoke their native language to each other. I was friends with a couple Chinese students and a few  Saudis, but I could number them on one hand.

I am excited to say that that has changed since I came to school here at the University of Exeter!

The building I live in is home to exclusively postgraduate students, which is awesome because we are all on the same level academically and age-wise. More importantly, it has facilitated my making friends. I have three close friends here thus far; one lives right across the hall from me, one down the hall, and one in the room directly below mine. One is from Vietnam, one is from India, and the third is from Japan. This has been an incredible experience for me to get to know people from all around the world, learn about their cultures, and share mine as well.554535_10151571863452132_670794465_n

What I’ve found is that the best way to share our cultures and bond with each other is through food. One night we ordered Dominos Pizza. My friends at home might say, “Well we have that in America! That’s nothing new!” But that’s exactly the point: through the act of partaking in food that we are all familiar with, it brought us together. Knowing that even though we are from various countries across the globe, we all have Dominos pizza. It made the world just a little bit smaller, and made us each feel like we were at home.

I’m part of the Global Chums Scheme here, which basically consists of matching foreign students with an Exeter Chum who can help us get accustomed to British life. I met with my chum for coffee last week, and his other foreign chums came as well. They are from China, and asked our Exeter Chum and I if we had ever had Chinese food before. We replied that we had only had the Americanized or British-ized versions, which are probably not true to form. They then invited us over to their house for a traditional Chinese meal later in the week. It was DELICIOUS. Two of the dishes were so spicy that the British guy and I were sweating and our noses were running, which was quite hilarious. One dish with beef and carrots and another that was essentially an egg pancake were my favorites.

After that experience, I was excited to try more new foods. My Indian friend invited my Japanese friend and I to the Indian feast she and her friends were having Saturday night. {Okay, this is getting annoying. Their names are as follows: Anh (Vietnam), Sayali (India), and Natsumi (Japanese). I love them. x} Anyway, it was AWESOME. There were about a million people there cooking and mingling, and the guys made the food! We helped a little bit, but it was so nice because we got to sit and talk while they kept bringing out starters. Then there was the main meal, with chapati, chicken curry, and a cheese dish. So delicious! Whenever Natsumi and I laughed at something or otherwise drew attention to ourselves, everyone was worried that the food was too spicy. But they very courteously made less-spicy versions of everything, and it was perfect 🙂

Here’s to more good food and trying new things!



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