Week 55: Canadian Invasion

Being around Canadians a lot in Cambridge means I get invited to several Canadian cultural events. Monday was no different; some of the Canadians in Jesus college were hosting a Canadian Thanksgiving Potluck. Apparently Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving in both date and history. Both still have turkey though.

In response to the overwhelming Canadainess, I thought I’d fly a little bit of an Aussie flag by bringing a plate of lamingtons along to the pot luck. Most people didn’t disapprove; lamingtons are very hard to argue with. We had a dozen people, each bringing their own dishes. We had everything from pumpkin pie to turkey to salads to cakes. The Canadians found a stream of Canadian music, and it devolved into a fun evening talking about Canada. I had the opportunity to catch up with Krittika and Kevin, and Alice.

My week continued as is now routine. I played a bit of real tennis, leading up to Thursday evening. I had put my name down to play in the Cambridge Doubles League. I was put into the Th’underdogs team. This week, we were playing against Charles’s Angles. Over two hours, we played three games, with three players per team. Hence, I played in two games, one with Terry, the other with Pat, two of the other players on my team. We played against Alex, Paul and Charles. Our team won each of the games, 7-2, 7-5, and 7-2. The bizarre Cambridge event of the week came when I was told that Paul, who played on the other team, was the nephew of JRR Tolkien, the famed author of the Lord of the Rings. He even had a Gandalf beard to go with his credentials.

Over the weekend, the Canadianess continued. Jacqueline had invited her friends Kevin and Rob to Cambridge, whom she knew from her undergraduate years in Vancouver. They were now studying at UCL and Oxford respectively. Kevin arrived in time for a formal at Churchill on Friday afternoon. So we went along, but there were others at the formal too. I got to catch up with Elyse and Luis, both new scholars at Churchill, as well as the familiar faces of Eddie and Alex. Jacqueline and Kevin had another friend, Umang, who was also studying in Cambridge. Again, Churchill formal food isn’t the greatest, but it was the people, not the food, that had my attention.

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Post-formal, we headed out to the Maypole. Collin was having some farewell drinks as he had handed in his thesis and was leaving Cambridge, and many people had come along to say farewell. It was strange walking into the beer garden there and knowing most of the people. I chatted with a couple of different groups over the course of the night. Eventually, people encouraged Collin to give a humbling farewell speech, before the bar staff tried to push everyone inside. Annalise, Jacqueline, Kevin, Emma, Joanna, Danny and I left to go hang out for a bit in Annalise’s nearby living room. Hence, we only got back home quite late

Jacqueline left with Kevin to go and find have some brunch on Saturday morning. I headed out to the Queens’ sports fields to referee a match between Queen’s and Sidney Sussex. It was certainly an exciting game: Queens’ scored in the first 10 seconds, and again 90 seconds later to take a 2-0 lead, but in the following 8 minutes, Sidney Sussex managed to get a yellow card and 2 goals to bring it to 2-2. The game calmed down from it’s hectic start, and Queens’ passing game ended up giving them a 4-3 overall win.

Later, I went with Jacqueline and Kevin out to an Indian restaurant on Castle Hill. We were joined later by Rob, who proceeded to tell us many stories about his life in Vancouver and Oxford. We each had something from the grill. From there, we walked out to DarBar and spent the evening socialising with each of them. Jacqueline and I left home early; we would later discover that Kevin and Rob went out somewhere else to return home with glitter on their faces.

Finally, Sunday came, and so we went back to Darwin and booked out one of the punts. I took the three Canadians down the river past all of the old colleges. Jacqueline brought along some snacks, and so we sat and ate and watched the other students and tourists. Punting down the river is so familiar to me now, but I still get enjoyment out of it. Kevin and Rob left that afternoon back to London and Oxford respectively. Meanwhile, Joanna and Danny came around for another chapter of Dungeons and Dragons. Jacqueline was feeling somewhat under the weather, so didn’t join us. Finally, I went out to a Gates Council meeting, which drew the week to a close.


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