Thursday, December 16, 2010

There and Back Again: A Student's Tale

Alas for the end.

But like all good stories, this story, too, must fade and vanish into the foggy air of London. Well, perhaps it's not to fade, but to evolve, for at the end of every tunnel there is a light, and at the end of one heck of a long plane ride, there is the culture shock of Caribou Coffee and $$$ signs and driving on the CORRECT side of the road. And snow. LOTS of snow.
I woke up this morning to a complex and vigorous rendition of a medley of music, such as "Linus and Lucy," "Tale as Old as Time," "Hobbiton," "Arabesque," and "Fur Elise." The six fantastical creatures who share my domicile greeted me in their own unique ways, some enraptured by my return, others suspicious of my sudden arrival, yet others shrugging their shoulders and turning back to their instruments. Good, they say. She's back. So let her fill the dishwasher.
And so I am home. And as the adventures change and shift like the various shades of a beautiful sunset, I smile, and hope you have all enjoyed seeing the photos and commentaries as much as I have enjoyed posting them.
And as I shall be seeing some of you soon - until then! And to the rest, adieu! Or until next time I find a magic wand or potion or box or ring to whisk myself away on another adventure. But that is another story, and so we shall save it for another day.
And wither then? I cannot say. But may the road rise to meet you, wherever it may lead ... and be sure to follow with eager feet. Anxious feet, tired feet, lazy feet, mired feet don't get you very far.
Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
~ Catherine :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just a few more pictures to brighten your day :)

Here are, if you will, yesterday's adventures in a series of visuals aids!
A view of High Street from Carfax Tower, located right in the centre of the city ...
Carfax Tower itself, with two little men banging out the quarter of the hour - that's 96 times a day, 7 days a week ...

The Bridge of Sighs, which I am sure I have posted somewhere else ...
The Sheldonian Theatre, in a quite beautiful light ...
St. John's College (inside quad), where St. Edmund Campion studied ...
And, last but not least, the Eagle and Child (a side view). You can see the blue sign hanging above the door; I should have posted a close-up as well, but you can find that anywhere. Here, you see St. Giles', part of the street only, for the rest of it is on the left side of all those cars. The trees are quite lovely ...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pix! Encore!

Anna, you asked for pictures, so here are pictures :D

Instead of sleeping in like a good girl (and like all the rest of the city), I decided to bounce out of bed at an ungodly hour and roam around in the fog.
First, we have a terrible, terrible photo of the Randolph Hotel. Big ol' fancy place, with Mercedes -es and BMWs constantly pulling up in front. When I become rich and famous, I am going to spend a month in Oxford, just to enjoy the luxury of saying I stayed at the Randolph.

Next a photo of the inside of the Fellows' gardens at Balliol College. Lord Peter's college, for those of you who don't know. MY Peter. I wasn't supposed to be in there (I'm not a Fellow! oops!) but I didn't see the sign until after I had taken the photo, so I'm pleading the fifth. Ignorance is not an excuse, and they don't even have a written Constitution over here, but ... oh well! So sue me!

These are the famous blue gates of Trinity College - from the inside. I knocked, and they opened to me. And from the gates, you can look down the loooong lawn (which, frankly, looks terrible when covered in frost, but I'm sure looks absolutely splendid in the summer) to see one of the college buildings. Beautiful old architecture; I love it!
Outside the door of Balliol, out in the middle of Broad Street, stands a marvelous Christmas tree, sent to the college by ... some Norwegian prince, I guess? Not sure; my connection to the grapevine is rather staticky. But it's a nice tree.

And on our right, we have the Sheldonian Theatre. I still have not been inside ... another excursion for this week! And surrounding it, a fence with very strange men's heads poking up and staring down at you. I don't know how strange the men were, but their heads rather ... well, they turn heads.

(sorry, that photo came out at the top. Wasn't supposed to do that ...!)

And last but not least, Blackwell's. The most brilliant bookstore in the world. Five floors of nothing but BOOKS. Me + Blackwell's = match made in heaven ... but *sigh* too good to last ...

And now, for something completely different:

I think I'm going to take a nap.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week 8, Michaelmas Term: THE END

Sad face. It's over.

Papers done. All three of them. Hard to believe.

Tutorials done. Tutors gone. Going to miss them.

Admin asking for departure dates.

Admin sending out email to remind us to take all our stuff with us when we leave, and not leave behind garbage.

And not take any of their stuff.

Brain cells gone too. Gone on holiday; not coming back for ... oh, a good long time.

And tomorrow, I sleep in. Until ... until WHENEVER I WANT.

What on earth am I going to do with myself for a WHOLE WEEKEND?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yay for Snow!

One paper down, two to go! I'm on a roll!

Last night was our concert: Bach's Christmas Oratorio, which is absolutely brilliant. If you haven't heard it, go listen to it, and tell me you can learn to sing that in eight hour-and-a-half sessions, practice once with the orchestra, and then perform it all the night before a 12-page paper is due.

Who da girl???

And the paper turned out splendidly, too! (miraculously enough). The prof loved it. And I am happy.

Oh! And it's SNOWING! Which makes my week, like, exponentially happy. For those of you who don't like snow, all I can say is, we need to talk.

Oh! AND a couple of American students told me I don't sound American. I sound BRITISH! For those of you who know me, you can imagine how doggone flattered I am. I'm sure it will wear off the instant I set foot back in the Detroit airport ... ah, Detroit ... but for the moment, it's absolutely brilliant. :D

But then again, some British guy told me I sounded Irish. So ... well, I guess you can all be the judges of "how I sound" when I get back :)

Only two more weeks! I can't believe it! I am so looking forward to seeing you all again!!! ... but, *sob*, I am going to miss Oxford. Beautiful little city, Oxford. Full of lovely, quirky British people, with their lovely, quirky British ways. And I think the beauty of their Britishness makes up for their persistence in driving on the wrong side of the road ... *sigh* those Brits.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 7, Michaelmas Term: Ummm ....

Where is it? No clue. Can't find it anywhere. I'm sure it's around here somewhere ... maybe I left it in the library? Or under my pillow? Maybe it's in one of my essay files on the computer ... ? Nope, no where to be found. But ah, here comes Eighth Week! Final week of classes! FRIGHTENING! It looms larger and larger, creating dark and scary shadows on my nervous system. No consideration for my poor nerves ... !

This week is going to be absolutely crazy. Not only do I have thirty pages due within thirty hours of each other Thurs/Fri mornings, but we also have our choir concert (Bach's Christmas Oratorio, which is absolutely gorgeous; there are bits on youtube if you haven't heard it before), as well as starting to mentally prepare for packing.

PLUS it is getting COLD. You know, like the "Oh, I knew I had toes down there, somewhere ... where have they gone?" sort of cold. Yes.

Hopefully all is well back home; we STILL haven't seen a flake of snow, and I am really going to have to talk to the management about this because cold without snow is like winter without Christmas, or cake without frosting, or cocoa without marshmallows, or a one-horse-open-sleigh without jingle bells, or a tree without lights, or ...

Yes, Christmas is in the air. And I think I've caught it. And I probably won't get over it until, oh, mid-January. It's that time of year again ... ! YAY!

Wish me luck, and see you on the other side of Eighth Week! Aughhhhh!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Where's My SNOW? ... and Words of the Week!

I was promised snow. It's not here ... yet. I hope it comes soon, or I'm going to have to have some words with the management.
Well, you can never trust a weatherman.
Anyway, very Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all! I went out to the store this morning (very bright and early, in an enthusiastic rush) to get cranberries, but of course, cranberries are out of season. The stock boy assured me they were very much out of season, and not to be found. Oh.

But it's Thanksgiving!

But I'm in England.

Ah ...

Well, I am going to try again after lunch, and see if I can't find another store. Otherwise, I will have to resort to the dried version, and have some scones and tea with that. Not a bad idea ... !

Oh! And here are some photos of the gardens at Christ Church ... again. I really love the gardens! Absolutely beautiful. I can't imagine what they must be like in May or June!

And, for all of you others, happy feast day as well :D I'm going to treat myself to something nice ... not sure what. Maybe CHOCOLATE!

Oh! And, words of the week:



And yes, you get to look them up yourselves; aren't you lucky! Enjoy :)

Have a wonderful weekend, and see you soon!