Let me tell you how old I am. My boyfriend had a Sony Ericsson flip phone (with a collapsible antenna) when I went to Eds. And it wasn’t a retro thing. It was cool.
When I got my Eddies acceptance letter in the postal mail – there was no website to find out what the College looked like, or any Yelp reviews with grainy photos to let me know what to expect. I had no idea about the rooms, food, or what the town even looked like. I suppose I could have gone to the Toronto Public Library and looked it up in an encyclopedia, but that seemed like an unnecessary three hour round trip on the bus.
I flew to England just a few weeks after September 11, against the advice of my mother, who was convinced it was the wrong time to get on an airplane. Having spent the last year working in Washington, Brussels and Toronto I was ready for another year away and was first in line to board that Air Canada 737.
At Eddies, I met some of the loveliest people in the world. I know that’s a big statement, but it’s true. And not because I don’t get out much anymore as a 40 year old with three kids. Within the very first day of arriving I met Max, Joe, Christina and Thomas on the ground floor of the Richard Laws building, and Alessia, Katie, Holly, Jane and Wolf on the second floor with me.
Max and I became fast friends, when walking back from class one day (we were in the same M.Phil programme), I shyly mentioned it was my birthday. He had just stopped by the post office and was carrying a big yellow DHL box – a care package of food from his mother in Germany. He promptly tore it open, broke up the loaf of dark rye with his hands and gave me half right there on the street outside Kings, and wished me a very loud and hearty “alles Gute zum Geburtstag!”
Max introduced me to David (who later became my husband) in the elevator in our building. We fell in love over dark chocolate and casually let everyone know about our romance when late one night the fire alarm went off and I emerged onto the back field (with everyone else in College), with no coat and only his rugby jersey (FASSBENDER across the back) to keep me warm. I would kill for such excitement in my life again. No one cares what I wear anymore.
Bops in the CR were a highlight at Eds. The big cozy sofas moved to the side and the lights turned off, sweating buckets and dancing to cheezy Europop (Kylie!), cramming into the tiny bar to grab a beer or braving the cold outside for a breath of fresh air.
I tried out so many different activity clubs in Cambridge, including the Italian Society and the Investment Society (which helped so much with my current portfolio on robinhood.com… 😉 ). But getting regular tickets to the St. John’s Wine Tasting Society events was a weekly nightmare so our little group of friends decided to take matters into our own hands and the Eddies Wine Appreciation Club was founded. President (me) and Secretary/Intern (Max). Max’s father was the CEO for the bank of a famous German winery, so we always had a good supply of wine, dressed up for our ‘meetings’ and once hosted Master Brian Heap.
One particularly fond memory was when a certain royal patron came to officially open the Richard Laws building and the Millennium Friendship Garden in May 2002. Upon seeing the student rooms he treated us to one of his infamous one-liners as he remarked: “Oh what a lovely room – must be much bigger than what you are used to back home.”
Amongst our group of friends, we almost never went to London or to the countryside; we were so happy spending time at Eds. Joe making ketchup sandwiches in the kitchen, David arguing about anything with anyone, and the default Saturday night fun – all of us sitting on the floor of someones’ room, eating ice cream and watching a rented VHS video from Blockbuster.
We are all scattered across the world now – Max with his four children in Germany, David and I in Singapore with our three, Joe in New York, Alessia in Alberta with her husband and kids, and many more whom I have lost touch with but remain in my heart. I wish I could go back in time, and walk through the doors of the Richard Laws building and see them all again – at least they might notice what I’m wearing?
My advice to you? Put down the iPhone, push the sofas back and put on some Kylie.
If you are ever in Singapore, come say hi! David and I are always happy to meet other Eds alumni or students joining the College.