Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm Stockpiling ALL the Bueno Bars

We finally had Dr. Snyder's class at New College this morning. However, those of us who live at Venneit Close were late because we lost New College and had to call Dr. Snyder for directions. After finally making it to our lecture hall, we discussed C.S. Lewis's book "Out of the Silent Planet." (Side note: If you haven't read it, I really suggest it. Especially if you enjoyed any of the "Narnia" books.)

During our break, we walked around in the gardens and admired how pretty the flowers were.

That's when I decided I'm not coming home. And then I realized the price of living, the lack of degrees I hold, and my job prospects. So I guess that means I will be returning to the States.

After we finished with class, we went to lunch at the pub and then I went to the Bod. Where I worked on my paper until I got bored with it. So I decided to explore the library. After I got bored with that, I decided to walk out into the rain just so I could have an adventure.

But I got turned around, spent about an hour walking around Oxford, got wet, and finally made it home. Where I spent more time working on my paper. Now I'm almost to page six of eight to ten. That's not bad, right?

Casey and I went to Nandos for dinner, which is somewhere I really suggest trying if you get the opportunity. It was really good food and empowered me to consider writing more of my paper. But instead, I went to the grocery store and got more Bueno bars.

Which I'm stockpiling for the return trip home. I'm addicted to them. They're almost as good as Nutella.

That's right, I said it.

I literally have no obligations tomorrow, so hopefully, I can go an adventure of some sort that doesn't involve giving myself a small cold.

That isn't too much to ask for, right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Doing work ... all day long

On Sunday, I went with Ben, Bailey, and Josh to Pentecost college communion at Christ Church — and I really enjoyed it. (It should be noted that those who did the readings wore swim trunks. So the whole ironing of the skirt for two hours thing was really unnecessary.) We also went to Evensong that night, which was really pretty. And then the majority of the MSU kids went to dinner together at a Thai restaurant.

I almost made it a week without getting lost.


Monday morning, Khanh and I went to Christ Church for some errands (which failed, by the way). And so I decided to head back to the flat while Khan went on her own adventures. I took the canal paths, which was a mistake. And then I wandered around for two hours.

Know that Tolkien quote about "Not all wander are lost?" Yeah, that didn't apply to me at this time. I somehow ended up halfway to Dr. Snyder's flat, then ended up in the conservation area, and finally realized that I was really hungry.

So I finally called someone. And Josh and Bailey were nice enough to come and find me and guide me back to the flat.

I went to meet with my tutor yesterday afternoon and received my first assignment: a paper on "The Taming of the Shrew." I went to Blackwell's and picked up a copy of the play and finished it last night. I'm currently on page three of my eight to ten page paper, which is due next Tuesday. So I'd call that progress. Right?

Basically, today has been full of Dr. Snyder's class and working on my paper for my Shakespeare tutorial. And that's really all I have to say about that.

Because, let's face it, as interesting as I find my interpretation of "Taming of the Shrew," none of you care.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ironing pleats is my personal form of hell

Aside from my airport adventures (and forgetting a couple important items of clothing I need to replace), I've yet to have any real problems since coming to Oxford. I haven't gotten (completely) lost, I haven't broken any bones, and the sun has been uncharacteristically shining brightly.

Except that tomorrow we're going to the cathedral for Christ Church's college communion and apparently dress etiquette requires knees to be covered. Which is fine, really. Except I have one skirt that fits the bill and it has pleats. And I literally just spent an hour attempting to tame said pleats and consequently ended up dropping the iron on my arm.

But, let's face it, if this is the biggest problem I have when I'm in Europe, I'm good to go.

Aside from the iron fiasco, today was more laid back than the past couple of days. I slept in, went to lunch and then got ice cream with Khanh, Josh, Ben, Bailey, and Spencer before we went to the rowing races at Christ Church, which was held in the Meadows.

We met up with the Trinity College group of MSU students (The university is made up of colleges and the MSU students were sorted into either Christ Church or Trinity. These colleges are separate entities in the way that the states  in America are separate from the Union.) and relaxed in the grass for a bit before heading to our colleges' boathouse to watching the competition.

Which, honestly, I didn't really get. Seriously. I just figured out American sports to the point of competency. No one should expect too much from me. However, some of the Christ Church rowers explained everything to us and hopefully I have it figured out.



After a bit, we headed back to the college and then made plans for dinner at The Four Candles. We are working on getting our meals set up at the college so we can eat there, which needs to be soon because the pubs are expensive. Good but expensive. We then went to the grocery store and got some food, which had the longest lines I've seen anywhere, ever for that kind of thing.

And then we watched a movie at the flat. 

And I discovered I got a little sunburned. At least the sun has been shining, right?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Shakespeare at The Globe is Amazing ... even in Urdu

Today we went on a (really short) trip to London. And, long story short, after a really awful bus ride, we went on a walking tour. We went by Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, through St. James's Garden, and Traflagar Square.

Literally by them. For the record, it costs sixteen pounds to get into Westminster Abbey. That's disappointing.

But onto the important thing: After lunch, which was at The Sherlock Holmes, Bailey, Josh, Spencer, and I went to The Globe to see Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." In Urdu. Which was really cool and occasionally reminded me of a Bollywood movie.

We really enjoyed the play (though they didn't as much as I did), and it an amazing experience. Check one of my dreams off my bucket list. The play ended later than expected, so we walked with purpose back to the bus and luckily didn't get left behind.

And then we drove back to Oxford. And then went to the pub for dinner. And now I'm working on my reading list ... because I'm actually here to study, surprisingly.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How I almost went to Amsterdam, got hit by a car, and finally started having adventures in England

I've been excited about studying abroad with the honors college in Oxford since Dr. Snyder and Dr. Anderson mentioned it would be a good way to supplement my grad school application. Of course, going to live in England has nothing to do with my excitement at all.
When I got on the plane Monday in Gulfport to meet my connecting flight to London in Atlanta, I thought everything was going to be fine.
I was wrong.
Because a thunderstorm formed over the Atlanta airport, my plane was diverted to Augusta. Where we were held for an hour, which lead to me missing my flight in Atlanta. And then Delta decided my best option was to fly to Amsterdam at 10:40 that night and then catch a flight from there to London, which would keep me from getting to Oxford until at least five o'clock on Tuesday. So I wasn't exactly happy. Luckily, after reaching Atlanta and calling and begging Delta, I was put on the standby list for an 8:45 flight to London. By then, it was eight o'clock, so I ran to the terminal. And, thankfully, I managed to get onto the flight. (Although my luggage did not, and my best guess is that it went to Amsterdam without me before meeting me in London. But that's another story).
After talking to my neighbor (who was a really interesting guy with a lot of good stories), I managed to fall asleep to "When Harry Met Sally" and didn't wake up until we were supposed to land. It turns out, I was in for more bad luck because my plane didn't land on time. We were an hour late. And my luggage wasn't due to meet me for another hour and a half. So, because I assumed the rest of the group had already left, I decided to wait for my luggage. And I happened to meet with Casey and Melissa, two girls from my group who had also lost their luggage.
We finally found our luggage (after going through security again. Except through the staff security). But then when were supposed to get on the train to terminal five we got on the train that goes to Paddington. Which costs money. So, devoid of sleep and exhausted from running around the airport, I lost what common sense I had left. So when the sales representative came around asking for tickets I didn't know what was going on. He told me that the tickets would be for the bus to Oxford. And I bought a round trip.
Yeah, that ticket was totally for the train. And I wasted money. But, I can now go from Paddington to the airport for free. Because I totally need that.
So after we finally made our way to terminal five, we got on the bus, nothing else bad happened, and we made our was to the OSAP (Oxford Study Abroad Programme) office. And, after catching the end of the welcome party, we took our luggage to our flats (which are very nice).
We went to the Red Lion Pub to get food and basically called it a night and walked back to the flats.
And that's when the car hit me.
Well, it almost hit me. I moved to the side so it just clipped me. So my right side hurt a bit for a day. It could have been worse.

For the record, the walk back (as you can see above) is really, really pretty. And, for once, the weather has been really nice.
Tuesday was a busy day as well. We woke up early, had orientation sessions at the OSAP office and then went to get our Bodleian Library cards (which is the University of Oxford's library).
As you can guess, I was super excited about my library card and going to the library. In order to get our cards, we had to recite an oath promising to follow the rules of the library (including not bring in or lighting a naked flame into the library).

Fun fact: Charles I was denied permission to borrow a book from the library. He actually later moved his court to Oxford during the war.
After leaving the library (which we did, unfortunately), we went on a walking tour of Oxford. A really short walking tour.

Which included Trinity College, which most of the MSU students are members of (I'm a member of Christ Church instead). According to our tour guide, walking in the grass is a hanging offense.
We went to a few other places and then headed back to the office. And then we found food and a grocery store.
Today came earlier than any other day for some reason ... and we again attended orientation lectures at OSAP. We were inducted into our colleges, which meant visiting (for me) Harry Potter sets and another library. But I didn't take pictures because I didn't want to look like a tourist. Fun fact: Our dining hall is the same on in the Harry Potter movies.
After we finished at Christ Church, we went to Blackwell's (a huge bookstore). And, amazingly enough, I walked out with only a few photos as souvenirs (mainly because all the rare books cost thousands of pounds, and I doubt my parents would be happy if I came home with a book too valuable to use).

As you can see, there are a lot of books. And that's only part of the basement level. I didn't want to leave.
We had our first day of our Tolkien lecture with Dr. Snyder, and it seems like it's going to be a really fun class.
And we ate Indian food. That was delicious. And something new ... because they're like two Indian restaurants in all of Mississippi.
Our table kept moving our discarded dishes onto the table next to us and for some reason, they didn't notice. For some reason, this was very amusing.

But you haven't even heard the best part yet: Tomorrow is London day.
Know what that means?
Shakespeare. At. The. Globe.
How is that not exciting?