Each time I talk to my little brother on Skype, rather than asking how I am or saying that he misses me, the first thing he asks is, “have you gotten fat yet?” And to be honest I really don’t know how I have avoided doubling in size. Everything has sugar in it and I love it.

I’m pretty sure my teeth don’t love it though. I have weak teeth anyway so all this sugar is definitely not helping my situation. Even snacks I thought would be the healthy option, like granola, are coated in something sweet. The endless supply of cookies in the dining hall is definitely not a good thing.  Neither is the blueberry pie.  Junk food is fast becoming an unhealthy (yet totally worth it) addiction. I guess all good things come at a cost, but I think I can deal with that.

Some of the eating habits of Americans I just can’t get my head around. Personally, I think cereal for dinner is just plain wrong. Its for breakfast, end of story. I am not going to embrace the way too brightly colored Lucky Charms, which are the number one cereal for dinner. Apparently the cartons of eggs are normal here too. At home, if I want an omelet I will crack two eggs into a bowl, mix them up a bit then fry them. Here it’s readymade. I can’t help but question whether it’s made of real eggs.

I am however beginning to appreciate coffee. Usually I stick to tea or hot chocolate, but before those 8 a.m. classes on Tuesday and Thursday, I now embrace the magical qualities of coffee. Some people love it, but for me it’s like a foul tasting medicine I have to accept as it’s my only option for survival through class.

What I’m having difficulty accepting is the wait for pasta in the dining hall. It is a form of torture. You must stand in line behind what may seem like a small number of students but you soon come to realize this is not the case, especially if you are starving and even a line of one person seems too much to face. I’ve come to realise it’s just not worth it if the line goes beyond the cutlery – the danger of eating your own hand while waiting in line is just too much. (This may seem like an exaggeration, but my roommate one day suddenly began wondering what humans would taste like. I’m now scared to go to sleep.)

Due to the ridiculous arrangements in the dining halls, I can never be sure if I will actually be able to get my food. Tactics to find a table become vital in the unstable world of Hope or Butterfield. It really does become the survival of the fittest as me and my friends trek around the hall in search of a table which is more elusive than the Holy Grail. This high stakes game of hide and seek with a piece of furniture forces us to circle the room continuously, forever in the fear that we might keel over from despair and hunger at any moment. The need is so great that when one cunning friend discovers a table lurking in the corners of the dining halls they are congratulated as though they have discovered the lost city of Atlantis.

Most of the time there are no free tables. In these instances I am forced to creepily linger by a table of people who seem to be reaching the end of their meal. We stare down at the table, willing them to hurry up and stop talking. The people at the table may glare over at us because we are audibly sighing and acting like stalkers.  No I’m not a stalker. I just want your chair.

The majority of people understand that we want a table so will leave when they can. However I am sure some lack basic humanity and deliberately linger. Most of the time it’s probably because they are just lazy and can’t be bothered to venture outside. That’s often why much of my life is wasted away in Hope – for just a couple more minutes of avoiding deadlines or revision for midterms.  I’ve just about reached half way through the term and survived – hopefully the rest won’t be too much harder. Now please finish your coffee and give me your seat.