#IHLove: The 2018 IH Valentine's Message Board

'Tis the season of love at International Hall. Here are some of the messages we received through anonymous postings from our residents.

Have a message for a special someone who caught your eye in the Dining Hall? Been aching to sing a sonnet for that special someone you met one time in the Laundry Room? Well, here is your chance to let that special someone know that you care. Use our IH Valentine's Message Board to anonymously post a message for that special someone (or your close hall mates). These messages can be in the form of poems, sonnets, screenplays, etc.

There is still time till the 14th to send a message. You can do so here.


The Stallion

Jose,
There are many reasons you are special. The most important one being you have the face of an Angel, but the body of a God. I love that you can run marathons effortlessly. You probably built up a lot of stamina from running around in my head all day, every day since October. Most importantly, I love the old man noises you make when you sit down. Knowing how old you are makes me feel so young. :)


Fashionable

Jacob,
Hey :) you dress nice


Forms of Love

Sarah B,

You smiled when you first arrived. A warm, shiny, and beautiful day for September, but not as warm as your expressive brown eyes; not as shiny as your captive smile; not as beautiful as your marvellously undefined-colour hair. The world stopped the moment I saw you... I tried to capture every shape of you: your hair, your eyebrows, your adorable eyes, your lips, your neck, your long figure. And then, brought from the place I was caught in awe, I heard a voice, like a fairy talking smoothly: you started talking. Why oh why was I not the subject of your questions, why oh why was I not the one to whom you were talking to, why oh why didn’t I have the courage to go and introduce myself. I got closer, I wanted to get a name, to get a room number... “Sara”, you said. And I was happy. You walked by like a breeze and I could sense the perfume... I knew, right there, that I would like to know more about this Sara, about this smile, about this colourful hair, about those captive eyes, about this sweet voice of yours, about... about you... love has many forms: Eros, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Agape, Philautia, Storge! With you, I have them all!


Thanks

God,

Thanks for my life, you gave me all the tools to learn to be happy


Have fun, kids.

 I have no idea, whoever can recognise I suppose?,

x^2 + (x-y^(2/3))^2 = 1


<3 <3 <3

Greek God,

Don't know your name but I call you Greek God and you're a beautiful man and I love your vibey preppy style. 


Bhalobasa r potro

Sir Sudipto Mitra FRHS, OB,

Pakhare tha ki tha tu dure,
Sabubele lagu achhu mo
Pakhare.
Bhabanare tora mun thae
Natehe,
Mo bhabana arambha tori
Thare.
Emiti bhala paichhi tote,
Jane nahin yara mapa ta kete.
Hrudaya ta ebe tori ghare.


Loads of love and wishes

To all families,

Hi I am really delighted to be with so many lovely people. The family block is specially filled with smiles of cute and lovely kids and parents. I also appreciate efforts of Tsveta for taking care of us specially when I arrived here.


For THAT Post Graduate Group

Sudhir, Do you like photography? Because I’d love to take you to a darkroom and see what develops. #PictureThis

Georgia, You’re like a broken staircase. You make me go head over heels.  #FallingForYou

Joe, The Surgeon General ought to put a warning on you, because you are smokin’ hot. #Warning

Jose, I need a compass when I look at you, because I keep getting lost in your eyes. #SaveMe

Ish, If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? #369DamnYouFine

Sasi, You know what’s on the Valentine’s Day menu? Me-n-u. #MiracleKitchen

Adi, Do you like cats? Because I’d like you to take meowt for Valentine’s Day. #Purrrrr

Seba, Are you a parking ticket? Because you've got fine written all over you. #Naughty

Nicole, It's a good thing I have a library card because I am checking you out! #Studious

Jacob, Something's wrong with my eyes because I can't take them off you. #SoWrongItsRight


;)

Dear Jake,

You look like a delicious piece of cake
My love for you is anything but fake
Thinking of you every night I quake
For a date we can go to a lake.

Love,
Your Secret Admirer


Looks!;)

Yon,

The tall, German dude from LSE
You're an Abercrombie model :)


Music of Love

D,

Your beauty Makes my Tanpura strings go naughty
I think you are very hotty
I know I look like forty
But it's okay since you are so shorty.


Secret admiration :)

Angelina Georgieva,
You are too beautiful! Absolutely flawless!


Smoking causes cancer!!!

Virender Chandale,
Hum kabhi very good friends hua karte they...
Lekin ab tanhai mey facebook sey tumahre photos dekhta hoon...
Tumhare tarha mujhe bhi bikes ka bohot shokh tha
Lekin zindagi ki tarah Delhi ki sarkon par gadiyon ka raftar bhi bohot tez tha...
Aj bhi kabhi kabhi raat ko IALS se lautte waqt thand mey apna raftar kho baithta hoon...
Tab tumhara yaad aata hai... Phir thodi si Bikaneri bhujia muh mey dal ke wapis se chalne lagta hoon.


The love glove

Dear Katie,

Your powers make me flurry
Turning me into a sweet little bunny
For cupcakes I love
I think we’d fit into one glove
-Henry the 8th


Mistake

Magda,

Noticing you existed was a mistake but now I do not want to lose your sight every time I see you my heart can't fake hoping that there will ever be a might. There is for sure no lake or sea with the colour of your eyes. Such a luck they are here for me but following them is not wise. I hope the time will bring a sign and the destiny changes for us because I want you to be mine there is no other thing to discuss.


The First Date Song

Let me ask you out on an awkward first date
I will be nervous
You will be late
I'll come off too weird
You'll butcher my name
And it may not end well, but oh, what the hell
Let me still ask you out on a date

Let me ask you out on an awkward first date
You'll drink for two
While I'm thinking for two
Just looking for fun?
I don't think you're The One.
But let's not give in to fears; we can down a few beers.

Just say yes to an awkward first date.
Let me ask you out on an awkward first date
If we make it through one
We'll have already won I'll let go of The One
Settle for Didn't Run
And some people, you'll find, just get better with time
Don't miss out on an awkward first date.


Secret Love

Dear PC,
Sun bhai,
Tu mujhe bahut sahi lagta hai yaar
Tujhe dekh ke dil ke mere baj uthte hain taar Chal na
Hum kahin door chalte hain
Chal kar karte hain pyaar
Tu phoonk ta nahin hai
Isliye aur bhi sahi lagta hai


Five ways to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions

By Nikol Stoykova

We all know that with January comes the time to pull yourself back together, slim down after feasting on your mum’s specials, get back on track with the uni work you fell behind on during the holidays, and save twice the money you spent on gifts last year. But did you know that while 100% of us enter the new year with some grand expectations in mind and 50% of us have a very ambitious list of resolutions in hand, only 6% of people actually feel accomplished by the end of it? So instead of beating yourself up over some quite unrealistic intentions, why not avoid the imminent disappointment and self-loathing of falling behind by following IH’s simple tips on how to start the new year off on the right foot—and keep up the momentum for good.

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1. Narrow down your list

Before declaring you’re going to cut down on all sugar and fat, try thinking first about cutting down on your list of New Year resolutions. The more you have, the bigger the failure you are setting up for yourself. Don’t expect that you’re going to change every single aspect of yourself overnight; keep it real and stick to one, two, or at the very best three concrete and realistic resolutions. Cutting down means avoiding the trap of being too vague as well: forget about ‘losing weight’ or ‘reading more’. And that brings me onto my next tip…

2. Break everything down

If you want to succeed, planning is your best friend, and big vague promises are your worst. Think in numbers and break down the big intimidating goals into baby steps. You want to read more, but how much more? In order to see a change, you need a point of comparison. ‘Losing weight’ won’t do the trick, but trying to fit back into your old jeans might be a step closer to getting you there. And if you write it down and plan how to tackle it, you’re already halfway there: visualization is half the realization.

3. Don’t think All-or-Nothing

A grand mistake of all passionate resolution makers is throwing away everything once they slip up. Not going to the gym for a day because you’re feeling lazy or spending a few extra pounds on that cute top that drew you in as you were walking by the store won’t make you a failure. But giving up because you derailed once and creating a vicious circle out of that one mistake will. What’s even worse, you’ll stop enjoying the luxury of occasionally indulging if you compensate for having a few scoops of ice cream for dessert by eating the whole tub.

4. Bring a friend

There’s nothing better than a friend, right? And resolutions aren’t necessarily about blood, tears, and eternal suffering; working on yourself could be even fun! Hopping on the NY resolutions bandwagon with a friend can bring some extra motivation and help both of you get on track by keeping each other accountable. Going for a run doesn’t seem as intimidating when you have a jogging buddy, and going through all the uni work can’t be that terrifying with a study buddy!

5. Be kind to yourself

Finally, don’t forget that the New Year and all the expectations it inevitably brings is merely a social construct, and all the pressure it can bring is simply an abstraction. Don’t get too caught up in any incredible three-month transformations and even if you fail with every single one of your new year’s resolutions, don’t punish yourself and always remember all the incredible qualities you have. After all, good things always take time, and most, if not all, radical overnight changes are never bound to remain a valuable or sustainable lifestyle choice. Remember IH believes in you and wishes you a wonderful year ahead!

Image Credit: CC by New Year's Resolutions/Flickr

Tête-à-tête with Norbi

Norbi Receiving the IH Community Award for November from IH Warden, Saeed Zeydabadi- Nejad.

Norbi Receiving the IH Community Award for November from IH Warden, Saeed Zeydabadi- Nejad.

In this piece, IH Blog Assistant Editor, Nikol Stoykova, sits down with Norbi, the winner of the November IH Community Award. Read on to learn more about the friendly face that greets us as we enter our home.

Nikol: Describe yourself using only three words.
Norbi: Helpful, talkative, friendly.

Nikol: Where are you from?
Norbi: What is one special thing about the place you grew up in? I’m from Hungary, from a village in the Eastern part of the country that is close to the Romanian border. It is a small town where everyone knows each other, and we talk a lot amongst ourselves. I was looking for a job in Hungary, but it’s really tough, so I followed my sister and came to London. First, I was a cleaner in College Hall. Then, they offered me a job in International Hall, Monday to Friday; they knew my sister, and they knew they could trust her, so they thought, you know, “maybe the brother is similar” (Laughs) Since then, I’m here, since March 2013. I do miss home though, mostly my family, but me and my sister, we go home at least three times a year.

Nikol: What is your favourite holiday and why?
Norbi: It’s definitely in the summer time, maybe in July and August when the weather is nice because you don’t get too much sun around here.

Nikol: What do you wish you had more time for?
Norbi: To be with my family.

Nikol: What is the one food you can eat every day and never get bored of?
Norbi: Good question! I’m not sure if there’s a food I’ll never get bored of. But I definitely miss my mum’s chicken soup! (Laughs)

Nikol: What are you interested in that most people aren’t or haven’t heard of?
Norbi: I really like watching football, but everyone does really. (Laughs) I used to play football back in my country, in third league; it was amateur but I really enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t say I have any extraordinary hobbies.

Nikol: What is the most interesting place you’ve been to?
Norbi: I went to Finland when I was 14. I’ve also been in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, and I really enjoyed it there, but I would say Finland is the most interesting place I’ve visited. The people there are very friendly—I know it’s not just there, but still. It was my first time away from home, my first time getting on a plane. Actually, I went there to play football, and we were staying there with another family, and they were so nice to us. It was my first time away from my family as well, so it really felt heart-warming how welcoming they were. It was really fun, although we didn’t win the tournament. (Laughs)

NIkol: What is an exciting thing coming up in the near future that you’re looking forward to?
Norbi: I’m planning a trip to Canada in March with my girlfriend. We’re staying with her brother in Toronto, and I’ve never been there, so I am excited about the many interesting things there are to see. That’s the biggest plan for this year. I was just looking at the flight tickets today actually. (Laughs)

NIkol: What is one hidden talent that you have or that you wish you had?
Norbi: I would love to be able to play the guitar and sing. Or be a mind-reader. (Laughs)

NIkol: What sport would you really want to be a professional in?
Norbi: Maybe football or cycling. I like to cycle, not this time of the year, but when the weather is better. On the weekends I do 20-25 kilometres just around where I live. I really like watching cycling too! They have incredible stamina: in football, they go for only one and a half hours, while in cycling they can go on for six to eight hours!

Nikol: What is the best thing about working in IH?
Norbi: You meet so many people here. I really like talking to everyone; it’s so nice to get to know so many different people. You can never get bored, even when it gets quiet sometimes. Once you start to chat with people, the time flies so quickly. I know that any problem people have, they’re going to come to me or to someone else who is there. It’s good to help them because for some people it’s very difficult to be away from their family for the first time, I can imagine. I was in student accommodation back at home when I was in high school, so I understand how difficult it could be to be on your own. When you know someone, it’s much easier to settle.

If anybody ever wants to talk to me about something, I’m here. I’m always good to talk for good things or bad things!

Eating Health at IH

What if I told you it really is possible (and simple) to stick to your resolution even at the IH dining hall?

“Nothing in excess” was boldly inscribed years ago on the temples of Delphi. This Greek philosophy can be applied to your diet too. You neither need to gorge down the entire (seldom) good-looking salad bar, nor cut yourself loose on the dessert counter. It’s all about the balance.

A balanced IH tray would ideally contain a rich source of carbohydrate, a rich source of protein, some vegetables and a dessert/fruit.

To break it down, carbohydrate is the primary source of glucose that provides energy, especially to your brain. (Whoever told you to cut down the carbs?!). Examples of good sources of carbohydrates available at the hall are noodles, rice, bread, mashed potatoes or corn. This should be accompanied by a good source of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, soya or any pulses. Ensure you consume deep-fried or oily dishes less often, and opt for baked or roasted items instead. For those days when you just cannot tolerate the site of naked meat/ fish being served- including boiled eggs in your salad could be a good idea.

Speaking of salads, they could be a good source of vegetables and provide the needed fiber in your diet. A vinaigrette dressing could be a better option than creamy mayonnaise. You could also experiment and make your very own lemon- honey- mustard dressing!

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Sugary juices and fizzy drinks could be cut down to 2-3 times a week instead of a daily basis. They tend to provide unnecessary calories and barely contain any nutrients.

One way you could fulfill your dairy requirement for the day is by opting for a pot of flavored yogurt for dessert. Grabbing a fruit, instead of a pastry could also be a better alternative. Flaky pastries tend to have a higher amount of fat in addition to the chocolate/ sugary jam inside the pastry. Even if you do choose the pastry- reconsider drizzling the custard instead of drowning your dessert in it!

Finally, allow yourself cheat days wherein you could wish to enjoy all the croissants and fish and chips IH has to offer. By doing so, there is a higher chance of you sticking to eating healthy on the other days. Here’s to a healthier 2018, without IH food being a roadblock in shedding those extra Kilos!

Ishitaa Bhatia is a resident of International Hall. She is currently pursuing her MSc. In Clinical and Public Health Nutrition at UCL. These are her personal suggestions.Image Credit: CC by Eating Healthy/Flickr

How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint at IH

What is your Carbon Footprint?

Image Credit: CC by Carbon Footprint/ Flickr

Image Credit: CC by Carbon Footprint/ Flickr

Your carbon footprint is the total of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which you were created by your activities during a given time-period. You can calculate your carbon footprint on these useful tools designed by www.carbonfootprint.com or by the US Environment Protection Agency. Offsetting our unavoidable CO2 emissions is a practical and immediate way to take ownership of our personal contribution to climate change.

Since we are an international audience, check out this article from the Guardian to see how much CO2 emissions our home countries produce.

 

How can we reduce our Carbon Footprint?

We put together seven practical ideas for IH Residents on how we can do our part at reducing Carbon Emissions. To learn more about the University of London sustainability efforts, look at this presentation by John Bailey, the Sustainability Officer for the University of London. John would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

1.      Bring your own bags and buy in bulk when possible to reduce packaging. It’s great that we have Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco within walking distance from the hall. Make sure you carry a cloth bag with you or opt to not use a plastic bag if you are only buying a few things.

2.      Reduce your consumption of bottled water and other packaged drinks. In general, driving up demand for plastic means doing the same for fossil fuels. Plus, plastic has several negative impacts on the environment. Thankfully, all the water that comes out of the cold water taps at IH are completely drinkable you can also get filtered water down at the Dining Hall. However, if you prefer, a Brita Filter is a good investment.

3.      Eat less meat, and opt for sustainable sources when it comes to what you do purchase. By one estimate, consuming a pound of beef gives off more carbon than burning a gallon of gasoline. There are several vegetarian options available in the Dining Hall.

4.      Turn off the appliances which are not in use in your room. This especially applies to switching off devices when you are not in your room. Remember to Reduce the Juice.

5.      Take a shorter shower. Ever considered taking a shorter shower? Here are some ideas to help you keep your shower to under six-minutes.

6.      Recycle. As students, naturally, we use a large amount of paper as well as plastic, glass, etc. The EPA estimates that recycling glass, aluminum, plastic, and paper could save 582 pounds of CO2 per year, equivalent to more than 600 miles of driving. There are recycling areas on each floor in the hall. Contact Hall Management – info.ih@london.ac.uk for more information.

7.      In addition to the awesome things to do, one of the best things about living in central London is that you can walk to most places. As awesome as ride-sharing apps can be, consider walking it or using a Santander bike as often as you can.

Looking for more ideas? Click here

Guide to Camden Council Tax

ImageCredit: Selby Design

ImageCredit: Selby Design

Have you received your council tax bill? Unsure what to do next? We have compiled an easy step-by-step Council Tax Guide for you.

Identifying your circumstances

 You will receive a council tax bill by post. Below are explained the steps you need to follow depending on your circumstances.

Case 1: If you are a Full-time student

As a full-time student you can apply for council tax exemption.

Case 2: If you are a Part-time student

Part-time students are not subject to council tax exemption, but can claim a council tax discount.

Case 3: Full-time/Part-time student living with a non-student

The student can apply for exemption or a discount (as explained above). However, the non-student is required to pay the full amount specified on the council tax bill. Find out ways to pay below.

Applying for exemption or discount

In order to claim a student council tax discount or exemption (Case 1,2 and 3) you need to email a scanned copy of your original student certificate/confirmation of study letter in jpg or pdf format to revenues@camden.gov.uk. Please contact your university for this document.

You must put the council tax reference number found on your council tax bill in the subject line of the email you send.

Make sure that the student certificate contains the following information:

•    Name and address of University/College

•    Name of Student

•    Confirmation you are following a course of education

•    Start date of your course

•    End date of your course

•    Confirmation of the hours studied per week (including study, tuition or work experience).

Once your email is received, response will be sent. It usually takes up to 14 days.

Paying your council tax

Online

Go to www.camden.gov.uk. Select ‘Make payment’> ‘Council tax (pay online) and follow the instructions.

Phone

Call 020 7974 6104 and follow the automated menu.

By direct debit

Set up a direct debit and you don't have to remember to make your payment. You also have the reassurance of the direct debit guarantee.

For any further questions please feel free to contact, the International Hall Management by emailing info.ih@london.ac.uk.

 Please Note: This blog post serves merely as suggestions on what to do and should be treated as a substitute for information provided by the Camden Council. Please contact them for further information.

Teeth and Eyes

In a previous blog post, "What is the NHS?", it noted that dental and optician services are not included within the NHS. So where can you access these services? 

Dental Services

Some dental services may be included, dependent upon clinical assessment and judgement. Even those that are, still have charges to them. It is always important to discuss with your dentist what options are available and what fees are involved. 

Click here for a list of dental clinics near IH. 

Some universities may even have their own dental clinics. For example, if you are a UCL student, you can access the Dental Centre on 139 Euston Road. 

Image credit: CC via Flickr

Image credit: CC via Flickr

Eye Services

Another service not included within the NHS is eye care services. It is important to get your eyesight checked every two years. Specsavers has a lot of branches across London, including one in Brunswick Centre, right next to IH! They offer eye tests, glasses and contact lenses.

They often have vouchers and deals, including this voucher for a free eye test up until October 31st 2017: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/brunswickcentre  

Additionally, Student Central (for University of London), has an optician centre: http://www.universityvision-ltd.co.uk/

 

Image credit: CC via Google Images

Image credit: CC via Google Images

Sexual Health Services

Starting university is such an exciting time in your life. You'll meet so many new people, and probably party quite a bit. It can also be a very sexually active time of your life. So it's important to remember to stay safe

The best sex is safe and consensual :) 

Image credit: NHS

Image credit: NHS

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) 

Young adults (under the age of 25) are most likely to get an STI, so it is important to use condoms to prevent this as much as possible. 

Image credit: Brook.org.uk 

Image credit: Brook.org.uk 

Get tested!

If you are sexually active, it is good practice to get checked for STDs and STIs every 6 months. A lot of infections are asymptomatic, meaning that you could have them and spread them, without knowing because you may not realise it. 

Here's some sexual health services near IH, which offer FREE STD/STI/HIV tests and contraception: 

Mortimer Market Centrehttps://www.sexualhealth.cnwl.nhs.uk/clinics/mortimer-market-centre-including-margaret-pyke-centre/

Brookhttps://www.brook.org.uk/find-a-service/service/euston

You can also check with your GP what they can provide for you in terms of sexual health care.