I woke up on Monday from a dream in which i was in my first year room, and it was a little disconcerting when i woke up and saw the white walls of the small sparse room and everything and realized that i was very much not home. It's funny, Smith is what feels like home. I miss the library sometimes, and sometimes i want to talk to my parents, but Smith is what feels like home. This place is growing more homey, though. I was walking up the stairs this afternoon and it felt like home.
Digression describing my room:
When you walk in the door, you see a low table in middle surrounded by four chairs. On opposite walls are a desk with chair, lamp, and phone. One side of the room overlooks the quadrangle, the other has two doors, one to each of our rooms. Our rooms each include a bed (with drawers underneath), a sink with a small mirror above it, a closet, and a full-length mirror mounted on a wall. I'll take plenty of pictures of the rooms and the outsides of buildings and the gardens and all. I really like that we can close the doors to our rooms. The main portion of the room feels almost like a sitting room. And even though there's only one toilet and one shower for 12 people i have never had to wait for a shower and only a couple of times has the bathroom door been closed when i went to use it.
This campus is so small. I mean, Smith's got nothing on this. It's almost impossible to be late to anything because you're not more than about 2 minutes, literally, from everything on campus. It's nice, though.
Meeting on Monday. One of the speakers mentioned the myth that people steal bicycles in Oxford and bring them to Cambridge to sell and vice versa, but that really if your bike gets stolen it's probably just around the corner because someone was late to their tutorial. Tee hee. :) The traffic here is almost all buses and bicycles, which is cool, though you've gotta watch out for them, man. This evening i was walking by a building which just had this big metal rings on the side that you locked your bike to -- how much more efficient than bike racks.
I was going to just not eat lunch Monday because i'm cheap (We get breakfast every day and dinner Sunday-Thursday.) but i was talking to Josh and he and Adam and Kate and Christina were going out to lunch, so i went with them. We went to the Nosebag because i'd heard it was good. We couldn't figure out where the entrance to the Saddlebag, which has sandwiches, was, though, so we went upstairs and it ended up that all of us except Josh got potato soup. How very British. :)
I had gotten the reading lists for both my classes in advance and didn't know what kind of time i would have, so i did all the reading before i got to Oxford. My classes didn't start until Tuesday, but a lot of other people did have Monday classes. It's not like i brought extra reading with me, so i was feeling very at loose ends but ended up working on fanfic because i haven't had a chance to do much of that this summer. I am tapped out on BtVS (The rewriting S7 from mid-"Dirty Girls" needs to wait until i am writing it on a computer with Internet access in my room, because i will be referring to the specifics of the episodes so much.) and may be doing some Firefly PWPs which have been floating around in my head for a while, but i actually think i'm gonna be doing X-Men movie fic. (Me writing in a non-Whedon fandom? Wow.) Amusing note: coming back from town one time and starting to work on a Whedonverse fic i actually had to go and do something else because the voice in my head was a British accent and i definitely wasn't writing any British characters. Particularly amusing because British voices seem few and far between here. Not only am i irked by the prevalence of American stores, but because it's summer it seems like there are a million tourists. Meh. Oh, and i knew when Fred mentioned the Pergamum Codex in "Orpheus" that i'd heard it on the show before.
I went to Morton's (baguette shop across the street) for lunch on Tuesday because we were having a special dinner at 8pm and i didn't think i could last that long. I would just sit in my room and think, "I'm hungry, and i'm not eating." I could not eat, but i wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything else. Cheap and yummy (though the hot chocolate was not that good), plus i got a "13th purchase free" card. I hear Heroes nearby is also good.
I went to University Park with Amy (co-Smithie whom i met at the English Department Picnic), Caroline (my roommate), and Ken (who lives downstairs and who was the first student i met here). It's quite lovely and i have to go back with a camera. We saw a heron and people playing/practicing cricket (I saw people playing croquet on the lawn outside my window once and have regretted not taking a picture because no one's done it since.) and punting (think: gondola). There were sprinklers and Ken and i ran through them (Amy and Caroline were wearing white t-shirts).
We had Pimms out on the lawn at 7:15. Yum. I had two and was considering a third. There's like no alcohol in them.
Next time we have a big deal dinner i need to be more careful about whom i end up near, because i ended up near Karli's crew, and while i don't dislike them terribly, it was a boring dinner.
It was like Smith candlelight dinner, only off-the-scale. We all stood behind our chairs, then the President of the College said grace in Latin. We had carmelized onion soup with goat cheese, followed by a salmon dish (i got the vegetarian alternative, which sadly was trying to be fish) and for dessert white chocolate profitlerones (?) with chocolate sauce and a drizzled halo of honey. We had white wine (Chien Blanc, i think) which they kept refilling (I only had about a half a glass because i can barely stand the taste of that stuff.) and at the end of the meal an espresso (milk and three sugars made it almost palatable). And of course we were being served by staff in full tux. Oh, and bottles almost like wine bottles of still and sparkling water on the table.
When the President of the College gave his speech he said that Trinity had graduated three Prime Ministers, including Lord North who drove the French out of America Pitt the Elder who drove the English out, so really Trinity is responsible for the American independence. :)
I realized at some point that night whom Jim Leheney reminds me of: John Connolly! I told Amy and she kinda shrugged, but Kate was with me in the excitement.
The Beer Cellar was boring, so i headed to the computer lab pretty soon to do some research. (I've had both class for both sessions as i write this, and i thought about posting all the interesting stuff i'm learning/getting prompted to think about, but i doubt many people care, so i'll probably make separate posts when each class ends.) Now, remember the Canada teacher who creeped me out whom i mentioned in my last post? Well, i had just sat down and opened up some websites when he comes in and asks me if i can log him on to one of the computers so he can check his e-mail. (I don't know what the Canada and Georgetown kids do, but i'm fairly certain the computers in this lab are just for the kids on the UMass program.) I say i really don't think i can do that. He says, in this voice that makes my brain scream "child molester," that he won't tell anyone. I say i really don't think i can do that and that i have work to do so i need to go. I log off of the computer i was using, hurry out of the room and literally run up the stairs and out the building. I return to my room and seriously consider going and telling the Porter. But he's legitimately a teacher, and he hasn't done anything except be vaguely creepy, so it's not like i can have him kicked out or anything. I have told numerous people this story since, though, and i am this close to reporting to the Porter if anything else happens.
All my New York people remembered my birthday on Wednesday (discounting oatmilk because she never posts, and apologies to antheia for not wishing her a happy birthday on Monday). I was impressed. I wish LJ's birthday notification feature worked. :( [And no, i'm not depressed that people didn't remember my birthday. The date isn't that big of a deal, and i've felt like i'm 20 for days now, and i have at least one card waiting for me at home and a friend just e-mailed me wishing me belated birthday because she kept forgetting to e-mail me. I know i'm well loved, and i got plenty of gifts before i left. I just think it's nice to be aware of the birthdays of your friends. I know i would rather have LJ notify me of my friends birthdays than keep checking the page so that maybe it would stick in my head.]
My parents are cute. They e-mailed me mid-afternoon on my birthday (to be fair, only about 9am their time).
From my dad:
[cue music]From my mom:
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Elizabeth.
Happy birthday to you.
I won't sing, cuz Daddy already did that :)I got to see Twelfth Night with the Shakespeare class. It was great. They managed to do the whole thing with only 8 players, which mostly worked well. It was set in the 20s and the music was good, though i actually really like the songs in the original. Some of the exaggerated accents were lame. The guy playing Feste/Sebastian was wonderful, and very attractive ;) I was in a production of that play in high school and just really really love it. Possibly my very favorite play (though i'm always sad about Malvolio at the end -- except for the NHS production i think, because we played Malvolio angry but never sad and broken).
Hope you have a good day -- and I hope your new classmates know it's your birthday so that can be appropriately enthusiastic.
Happy Day x 20 :)
I chatted with Josh a lot on the way back. Leaving his building i talked with Ken a little bit. He's one of my favorite people on the trip. He said something about how he guessed i must not be much for drinking because he hadn't seen me at the Beer Cellar. Somehow this got us on to the topic of how he always wants to tell people things (he wants to be a storyteller he said, which is the most beautiful description i've ever heard for what being a History major is) but most people aren't interested, and for 2 years, until about 2 weeks ago, he had a girlfriend who would listen, and i said that i would be happy to listen to him anytime and that i make no promises about being in my room, but he should come by anytime, and that i love listening to people. I really hope he believed me, because honestly, i really do enjoy listening to people, and told right history can absolutely come alive.
Today was mostly boring. Ken and Chris left for Amsterdam this afternoon. I think about half the campus is going to London this weekend. I definitely wanna go at some point, but i just wasn't ready to go this weekend. I'm still getting settled into Oxford, and i want to have a serious plan when i go to London -- transportation, accomodation, sightseeing, eating.
I will be seeing so much theatre here. The whole Seminar is going to Tempest at the same place that Twelfth Night was, as well as a production of Measure for Measure at Stratford. I'm even gonna see Romeo and Juliet, even though i hate that play, because it's in Trinity Gardens. I could almost watch it from my window, but i'll even pay to go see it. I think Romeo and Juliet is like a car wreck for me: it's so bad, but you just can't look away. I hate the plot, but because everyone else is addicted to it it keeps getting redone in new and interesting ways.
When i do go to London i will probably go to Phantom, because theatre is one thing i will shell out for. There's also an open-air Midsummer. Hmm.
I have no desire to visit Virgina Woolf's home in Sussex, but i am sad that i will be unable to attend the free Seminar field trip there because i have classes that day.
I'm hoping to go to The Children of Lir at Magdalen College tomorrow night. Errands tomorrow include purchasing a national phone card.
I also want to go to the Oxford Modern Art Museum and the remains of Oxford Castle (i hear they're currently doing excavations, actually).
Clubbing also has potential. I definitely want to consume some alcohol this weekend, because it is England after all.
This Sunday there will be a 2-hour walking tour of all the Oxford colleges (there are probably two dozen) followed by movies: Lavender Hill Mob and Iris.
Yup, this weekend will be good.
I've even been a good student and am halfway through rereading Buddha of Suburbia, taking notes for the essay i'm going to write. My Black Britain essays are due July 22 and 29 and i picked topics (from a given list) and a text for each. I might even do research for my Robinson Crusoe oral presentation (Tuesday from next, no topic yet, but i can guess enough to do preliminary research).
I also did my first grocery shopping today. At dinner i was hankering for chocolate chip cookies and have been wanting orange juice for a couple days, so i went to Sainsbury's and bought that. They have this neat queue system: everyone stands in line and a computerized female voice announces which number register is free.
I've been skipping lunch (cheap, remember?), but after dinner tonight i wanted ice cream, so i asked the Porter (Mark, my favorite, whom i wish was named Nigel -- the name of one of the other Porters -- because he looks so perfectly British) where i could get ice cream. George and Danvers, down on Pemberton. I got Bailey's with chocolate sauce. Yum.
Um, any stories from the week that i've neglected? Oh yes. Coming back from my Corpus Christi class this morning i heard bagpipes. I assumed they must be coming from St. Mary's Church, but actually it was this cute boy on the sidewalk. I made Josh stop so i could sort through all my coins because i wanted to give him money, but British coins go up to two pounds and i didn't like him that much. I came back with a camera, but he must have taken a lunch break. On my way back to Trinity from downtown i heard him again, though, this time on Broad Street, so of course i took a picture (and i certainly wasn't the only one).
There will be much photographic evidence of this trip, believe me. And because i am my mother's daughter i've been making lists of what the photographs are of, because i'm not gonna remember what many of these similar looking buildings are. I wish they would stop watering the lawn outside my window, though, so i could take a picture and not be preserving for posterity the hoses.