Nelson Turgo is an SIRC-Nippon Fellow studying for his PhD at the School of Social Sciences. Originally from Manila in the Philippines, Nelson talks about his last two years in Cardiff
Coming to this charming city of falling leaves and wet pavements months and months ago, Cardiff seemed like Macondo to me Ė that fabled city of windy houses in One Hundred Years of Solitude written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Cardiff was at first for me an illusion, a ghost-like figment of my imagination. Never did it occur to me Ė even when I indulged in endless fantasy production Ė that one day, I would be among its residents, comfortably trapped in one of its colourful houses, looking out of the window and feeling the cold air in my face.
Far from the madding crowd that is London, Cardiff is both a sanctuary and a refuge. It is most appealing to contemplative souls. Its student life is both exhilarating and overwhelming. The parade of faces in the morning excites me no end. The cold weather unnerves me but gives me a sense of wonder.
Studying at Cardiff is, to put it simply, refreshing. I like the laidback atmosphere and the provincial air that the city exudes. Being lost in a myriad of faces could be a disenchanting experience but not in Cardiff.
I love long walks and Cardiff has served it to me on a silver platter.
Academic life is daunting. Books to be read can look sinister. Sometimes, I get a feeling of awe: so many books to read, so little time. When I was still in the Philippines, I was always frustrated that our library did not have a copy of Henri Lefebvre books, or Fredric Jamesonís Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism was reported missing.
Here, the truth is, I donít know what book to read: itís an embarrassment of riches. But believe me I am enjoying what I am doing.
You see, I am your regular guy. I do more than read and walk. I dream, drink coffee, go to the gym, wash my dishes, and go shopping, hunting for the cheapest grocery item, and yes, exchanging a smile with the cutest lady staffing the counter.
I love my Cardiff.