Monthly Archives: November 2016

It’s Been a Rough Week

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By itsmaggiegwu

Last weekend started out as an adventure. My housemate,  Makiyah and I, decided to pay a visit to the Good Fortune Supermarket down in East Falls Church in Virginia. We’ve been missing a lot of Chinese/Asian foods in our diet because it’s always been Trader Joe’s or Safeway for us. We hopped onto the 4B a few blocks from our apartment and was on our merry way.

Good Fortune resides in Eden, a complex that has a variety of Asian (Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, you name it!) restaurants, bakeries, and shops. We window shopped for food at nearly every shop before sitting down to have a good bowl of pho. We needed the energy before going into Good Fortune. It was an Asian supermarket but nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was big, which fits well with the “everything-is-big-in-America” theme. They had a great range of fruits (Asian pears, durian, longans) and vegetables (bok choi, turnips) at very decent prices. I ended up buying 3 lbs of bok choi for about $3 which probably would have been double the price in Wholefoods. They also had a live seafood section with lobsters and fish. A BBQ section with BBQ pork, duck, chicken. A bakery with the egg tarts, pineapple buns, pork floss buns. And everything else in between. It was difficult to decide what to buy but I had to restrain myself because we had to bus back.

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The next few days of the week were pure agony. It was probably from an accumulation of things but I had a severe case of tonsillitis that was met with 2 visits to the ER. I wanted to write about it briefly in case any exchange students are met with an unfortunate illness that requires them to go to the hospital. The experience wasn’t all that horrible. I went to Virginia Hospital both times because I figured that it’ll have less of a wait (and also I live in Virginia). You sign in at the ER and wait to be called in for them to do a triage. After that either a doctor or physician will have a look at you (depending on the severity of your case I guess). The second time I had to stay for a few hours because they had given me IV drips for my infection and inflammation and had a CT scan done in case there was any abscess (there wasn’t, thank God). I felt a hell lot better when I walked out of that ER and I’m glad that I went even though initially I thought I could just sit and let it slide at home. The bills will probably come in the mail soon, but luckily I have insurance that’ll cover me.

 

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week, but I’ve learnt something new: living away from home is difficult and there’s only you to take care of yourself. So make sure you do.

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Host Dinner and the Spirit of Halloween

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By itsmaggiegwu

What’s not to love about a dinner at an amazing apartment in Adams Morgan with two friendly American hosts, Grace and Matt? Absolutely nothing. Halloween was edging closer and Kinsha (another Aussie exchange student) and I were headed to the host dinner organised by the exchange office. We didn’t really know what to expect, I mean they were strangers after all. But as we walked inside the apartment, Kinsha holding a bottle of wine we bought as a gift, we both stopped and mouthed a little “wow” under our breath.

The apartment itself was really nice. The bare walls, the open kitchen and Halloween decorations to top it all off. We were greeted by our hosts Grace and Matt who were young professionals working in DC and were contacted by the GW exchange office to partake in the host dinner. We talked about Australian things and American things and had chilli and rice for dinner and pumpkin pie (fitting for Halloween once again) and coconut ice cream for dessert. So the dinner was way above and beyond of my expectations and I had lots of fun. But then again the exchange office never disappoints.

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On the topic of Halloween, as it is a tradition that never really took off in Australia, it is very interesting to experience it first hand. As kids, we never really had a chance to get dressed up and go trick-or-treating and eat candies like there’s no tomorrow. So first, in order to get into the spirit of Halloween, one must not go without pumpkin carving. I bought a 1 penny pumpkin off Amazon Fresh (I know!) and waited till it was weekend of Halloween to carve it out. The pumpkin was large enough to have three designs carved out. My roommate and friend and I all took a stab (pun intended) at it and although mine didn’t look nearly as nice as the other two, it was great fun! The pumpkin seeds were then roasted and devoured in the spirit of Halloween.

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Then it was time to think about dressing up. This was a hard one and I probably didn’t put as much effort into it as I’d liked. Something Australian would have been good, maybe the magpie one I’ve seen on Facebook, but ultimately it came down to what was easiest. I bought some shirts from the Church sale for $3, some socks that matched, and went as a….watermelon! Given that people kept thinking I was either strawberry or Christmas, I think I’ll just let them slide. For the ultimate Halloween experience, add in a little trick-or-treating at Embassy Row (I hear they give out candies from the embassy’s home country too).