I’ll admit, at the beginning I was slightly dismayed when I realised how ‘far away’ Churchill was from the city center (in quotation marks because it’s actually just a mile-and-a-half, an eight minute cycle). And there are still days when I don’t get enough sleep and my legs burn when I cycle up the hill; days when the odd ladybug from this suburban landscape surprises me; days when the rain and wind blows me backwards a length every two pedals I take (though my faithful raincoat keeps me toasty dry).
But then there are the days which seem like the finest in the world – when the sun shines bright, the sky is azure, and the air is crisp and clear once I get away from the bustling city and its fumes… these are the days when I ride back leisurely, slow as I can, while my mind wanders, ponders, when I think about everything and nothing at all. The journey feels effortless, almost too short – what was I complaining about all this time?! Almost every time, I stop to take a photo – I must have tens by now! – and count my blessings. I love my bright and airy room; I have a soft bed and a cosy duvet, warm food available all the time from the buttery, and a well-supplied kitchen to whip up whatever tickles my fancy. I’ve made the most wonderful friends here that I could ask for, who love to travel, and enjoy the same kinda healthy fun (board games, movies, baking, secret santa~) and banter I do.
Some people treat cycling as a chore, a mere means of getting from A to B… but to me it’s a physical reminder that the journey matters too, a precious time to smell the flowers by the road, literally and metaphorically. It’s a reminder that (university) life isn’t about rushing, head down, from lectures back to my room back to lectures back to my room – something that’s too easy to forget when you’re perpetually ferried around (as I was in Singapore), or when you have too easy a route to plod and never stray from it.
The road ahead may be uncertain, and my choice of major still worries the practical Singaporean in me (a tale for another time sigh)… But Cambridge is beautiful, I’m here, and I’m just glad I have space to acknowledge that. To let it sink in, and fill me with a deep contentment.