*Fictional letter from an ex-pupil at a top UK independent boarding school*
It’s been a whirlwind since school started 3 weeks ago. Believe me when I say I wanted to call you earlier. Instead, I’m writing you an email since it’s 9pm here, but 4am over in Hong Kong!
Firstly, my room is massive compared to home. My bed is about three cartwheels away from the room door. At night, we open the window because there’s no air-con. However, it’s extremely quiet outside, and not too hot.
I’ve also finally unpacked everything. Remember the 20 cup noodles you put in my luggage? They’re now in storage, and I’ve already eaten two pots. My roommate, Leo, also ate another two. (Dad, please send me more when you can.)
My roommates are from the UK, in case you’re wondering. Leo’s from London, and Toby from Manchester. I wasn’t sure what to expect when moving into the dorm, but now it just feels like a daily sleepover. Both of them are very friendly, and we’ve been chatting almost every night. They say “cheers” a lot instead of thanks, which I have to remember!
Leo and I also share a lot of classes — we’re daily “prep” buddies between 7–9pm in study hall. I’m kind of glad we can study together cause it makes time go by faster. He’s also really good at maths; so Dad, you won’t have to find me a math tutor until the holidays!
There’s another new boy from Hong Kong, called Jason, who’s in both my year and house. He’s been really quiet when all of us sit down at dinner, so I don’t know much about him unfortunately. I did catch him eyeing my slice of pizza yesterday though, which cost me 1 pound from an older boy.
Next time, Toby and I will just directly order an entire pizza ourselves and resell the spares like they did. Maybe I’ll ask Jason if he wants to chip in too.
I tried to call you and Mom last weekend but there was football practice all afternoon. I’ve been getting a lot of time to play during weekdays too, after classes and before dinner and prep. There’s tryouts for the U16’s school team soon, so fingers crossed.
Speaking of fields, the school campus is simply massive. It’s even bigger than what the pictures on the school website we looked at (remember the lake, Dad?). Just walking from the music building to the history classrooms takes at least 10 minutes, so I have to be careful not to run late. Especially for dinner, when there’s always a queue.
I didn’t know what to expect on the first day, but there’s been so many activities every day that I’ve been too busy to be homesick. The best part so far aside from meeting my housemates (so far so good), is living at school. Can you believe that water is drinkable straight from the taps in England, and that vast sunsets exist? The food is pretty good too, especially Sunday roasts. Not to mention apple crumbles and cheesecake!
I know you must miss my voice, Dad, and I’ll try find time to call before midnight in Hong Kong. Have to finish now though cause it’s almost bedtime and the housemaster will come check on us soon at 10pm. Here’s my first email update to you; there will be more.
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