Sunday 4 July 2004, LSE summer school, London, England

I got off the train at London King’s Cross station with my luggage. This was the second time that I was moving after arriving in the UK three years ago. Each time, the difficulty of the operation multiplied in magnitude. Even though neither Warminster nor Hurtwood was that shopping friendly, my belonging still managed to mushroom. On top of the radio CD cassette player I got in the beginning to practice English, when did I get myself a desktop computer, a speaker, a cooker, a fan, a heater, a lamp, dozens of books and all the other random stuff as well? Didn’t I know I would need to carry them with me around one day? Even though I had left as many things at Lanfang’s place as possible, I still had two suitcases and one heavy backpack with me.

The good news that I was not going to anywhere far this time. For the coming six weeks, I enrolled myself in London School of Economics’ summer school. According to its prospectus, the residence hall I picked, Rosemary Hall, was within walking distance to King’s Cross. That was lucky. Having to carry all the luggage up and down the tubes would be a nightmare.

The summer I spent studying the A level Maths and Physics on my own prior to Hurtwood proved to be invaluable. It freed me to concentrate on economics once the school started—or  in my classmates’ eyes, reading newspaper all day. That was how I managed to get an A, although just barely.

So it was a no brainer to do it again. If I was not sure how hard A level was going to be, there was no such uncertainty this time. Cambridge was going to be hard, extremely hard. That was a given according to everyone I had talked to. Which chapter of the textbook would they begin with at Cambridge?

After an hour’s walk, taking multiple water breaks and getting fully soaked in sweat, I finally reached Rosemary Hall. For once in a long while, I wished British summer was not this sunny and hot. As I checked in, I asked the the receptionist: “Are people in London all very good in walking? It took me ages to walk here from King’s Cross.”

“Well, we are better at walking than throwing stones at least.”

“What does that mean?”, I puzzled.

“We used to call this place a stone’s throw away from King’s Cross, you know. We only recently switched to walking distance. And by the way, the main campus is a bit further away than King’s Cross from here, you’d better get up early enough tomorrow for your lectures!”