30 September 2008

As it is 1146pm and I am incredibly tired, this blog post will have to take the form of a numbered list (my favourite). As soon as I get back from Valencia on Sunday, I will once again resume paragraph form. However, laziness overcomes any sense of literary decorum at the moment and so...

Wed. 24th September: We took our field trip to Warwick Castle. Once owned by the Dudley family, it now is in the hands of Madame Tussaud's and is very Disney-esque. It has wax figures that move (somewhat) and the oddest assortment of exhibitions. I really wanted to go into the Ghost Tour but decided against it as it required an extra ticket. I climbed all of the towers and walked the ramparts of the castle, which provided an extraordinary view of the surrounding countryside. It was absolutely amazing.

Sat. 27th September: After spending the day doing work and browsing around Primark, I went clubbing with Brad and Elysa. It was a bit of a letdown (however, I can't complain too much, as I did get in free), but this was made up for by the presence of two men dressed as a cowboy and Uncle Sam respectively. Quite interesting. I think the entire night can be summed up in two words: freak side.

Sun. 28th September: More homework and reading. The highlights of the day were picnicking in Christ Church meadow with Elysa, Becky, Christian, and Karen; eating at an italian restaurant with Christian, Elysa, and Adam; and going with a large group to pub quiz at Far From the Madding Crowd. It was a tough week for us Americans, and we filled the bottom two spots. However, the winning score itself was quite low, which meant that everyone in the pub was having a rather tough time of it. I also tried cider (Spartan's) for the first time. Delicious.

Today: After receiving a wonderful package from my parents bearing all sorts of amazing delights, I had colloquium in which we discussed Anselm's Proslogion. After dinner, I went running with my roommate, Becca, and Elise. Immediately following this was pub quiz at the Turf Tavern, where Bill Clinton allegedly 'did not inhale' during his time at Oxford in the 60s. Yeah right. We came in 9th out of 16th, which is not too terribly bad considering that it was a different format from what we are used to.

A few pictures are up on flickr. I hope to add the 400 or so that are currently on my camera before my trip to Valencia this weekend. Fiona and I are leaving Oxford for London at 1AM on Friday morning in order to meet Alex and Garrett in Valencia by noon. It should prove to be quite interesting as I am the unofficial 'translator' for this trip (meaning that I have the most Spanish). So...yeah.

Also, I have been receiving requests for my address.

It is:

Rebecca Kaisler
St. Michael's Hall
Shoe Lane
Oxford OX1 2DP

I like mail.

29 September 2008

In the next blog post (which will be appearing within the next few days) you can look forward to:

- Lectures!
- Field trip to Warwick!
- Movie nights!
- Trips to the Kebob stand
- Clubbing
- Quiz night (part three)
- Black Death lecture
- Preparations for Valencia!

24 September 2008

It's official: I am going to Valencia, Spain from 3 October to 5 October with several people from CMRS. It's going to be awesome!

22 September 2008

Things that have happened recently:
1. Went to Far From the Madding Crowd for pub quiz yesterday. This time the Americans were out in force, as we brought enough people for 3 teams of 4. Halfway through, the CMRS junior dean, Quentin, joined our team. All in all we tied for 3rd out of 6 teams. Still, not too bad.
2. (Finally) bought a rain coat for 4 pounds at Primark, the British equivalent of Walmart except with better prices.
3. Made a birthday brownie for Evan who turned 21 today.
4. Went running in Christ Church meadow (as I do most everyday if I can help it.) Luckily, the rain held off until I had finished my four laps round.
5. Went to the french market at Gloucester Green and bought the best pain chocolat I've had outside of Paris.

Things that will be happening in the future:
1. Pub quiz tomorrow night.
2. More reading!
3. Field trip to Warwick (pronounced Warrick for your information) on Wednesday.

21 September 2008

London Calling (or, am I even alive?)

Yesterday, several of us from CMRS traveled to London to enjoy a bit of the (bigger) city life. I'll admit, I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for London, despite its major flaws. After all, it was the first place out of the United States that I ever traveled to, and because of this its magnificence can never be dulled in my eyes.

We arrived in London around 1030, ate breakfast/lunch at a panini place, and then promptly headed to Westminster Abbey, passing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards ceremony on the way. As I am not familiar with the particular ceremonies associated with the Queen's Guards, I don't feel that I have any right to explain what was going on. However, I will admit that it just appeared to be a rather lot of stomping and a very intense staring competition between one of the black-furred helmet guards and a man with a sword.

It's been sunny in England (surprise!) for the past few days and, as a result, walking into Parliamentary Square was a dazzling experience. Big Ben was at his finest, the gilted tower veritably glowing in the morning rays. The Halls of Parliament looked as splendid as ever, with the rather imposing Westminster Abbey just a short distance away. The abbey is one of my favourite places in London apart from the Tower of London. So imagine my surprise when several of our group did not want to go in because of the £9.00 entrance fee. After all the cathedrals that we have gone to on our field trips, there is absolutely no way that they could miss Westminster Abbey, where the tombs are basically on crack. There is just no way and I told them as much.

We ended up going through the abbey in just under an hour, since several people were heading off to Buckingham Palace and the others were off to see 'The Glass Menagerie' near Kew Gardens. My father will be happy (or perhaps not) to know that Becky (not me or my roommate) was able to covertly take pictures of several of the tombs inside the abbey. Yes, I knew of this blatant delinquency. But I refused to pay £15 per photo just to make my father's geneology book complete. I am a student after all and, because of this, poor.

In accordance with this sudden fit of stinginess I've been having, I decided not to pay the £18 to get into Buckingham Palace and instead met up with Jasy, one of my closest friends from home who is currently studying at Temple's campus in London. We ended up walking around several of the districts of London, climbing up the pedestal of the Trafalgar Square monument, and heading round to Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus is where my father and I stayed when we traveled to London in 2003. The Regency Palace, the rather...interesting hotel that we stayed at last time is closed down completely and the building is undergoing renovations. However, the Jewel restaurant and The Crown are still down the street, which reassured me that not everything familiar can disappear in 5 years time.

There was a period of time when we did manage to get horribly (not really) lost. We walked along the docks of the Thames across from the London eye, visited the Embassy of Texas (which, in fact, really does exist), passed by a monument that informed us we were in Crimea, and a large chunk of buildings who boasted formal government-style titles but in Spanish. Needless to say, we were quite confused by the time we found Buckingham Palace again. I met Jasy's roommate, Beckah, and together we joined those of the CMRS group who had gone to Buckingham Palace. Afterwards, we took the tube to Kings Cross station to visit the infamous Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. It was...interesting.

Overall, it was a fascinating day in which I found that, with the help of a detailed map, I may not be quite as directionally-challenged as I thought. The next few weekends will probably be spent at home since I have to start planning for Armenia (Dad: The current situation in Yerevan is stable, it is only in the north that they are having problems. Also, I am not even entirely certain that I can go due to my tutorials. However, this opportunity is such that I simply can not dismiss it lightly. I will find out all the details and then make my decision based upon that.) and Istanbul (where I am going for certain in November with two guys so I will be safe),

Short trips are in the works for Valencia, Edinburgh (over the long weekend and where I will be acting as impromptu tour guide), Dublin/Cork (instead of Edinburgh), or Geneva. Of course, this all depends on how well my budgeting plan goes, how much work I have to do, and what the current airfares are.

Thanks to everyone for their supportive emails. I will reply to them tonight. It has been a hectic couple of weeks and I apologize for the delay.

Dad/Mum: Don't worry about me. I am fine and loving every minute of Oxford. I promise that I will not pack my bags and head off to Armenia without careful consideration and study.

18 September 2008

I apologize for not updating this blog more regularly. However, with a booklist of 65 items of required reading, it is hard to justify using the internet as opposed to studying. And, apparently, I am here to study. Or so they tell me, since classes started up last Monday.

Anyways, the integral course started last Monday. It lasts the four weeks before nonth (0) week of Michaelmas term. Everyday we have two lectures, each lasting an hour, focusing on various aspects of medieval Europe. For the most part, these lectures have proven to be quite interesting. However, we have had a few virtually decrepit lecturers who read directly off their note papers, thus making the lectures incredibly tedious to get through. The integral course will end in another two weeks, after which we have our three-hour final exam. Tutorials and seminars begin the following week. We will meet our tutors for an hour each week, but will be set work which we are expected to complete by the next meeting. I suppose this entire experience will prove to be an exercise in both self-motivation and discipline.

Anyways, on the 11th, we took a trip to the UK's smallest cathedral city, Wells. The cathedral itself was my favourite amongst all the ones I've seen so far. While impressive from the inside, it lacks the elegance of other gothic structures I have seen. However, the inside boasts an appeal that it almost indescribable.
Three of the cathedral's distinguishing traits are its scissor arches (erected in 1338 to redistribute weight while the towers were being built), 13th century jousting clock, and cartoon carvings.

(Left: Unique scissor arches in Wells. Top Right: Medieval 24-hour clock. It still keeps excellent time and the knights at the very top of the clock joust on every quarter hour).

(Immediate right: Medieval carving of a man with a toothache. It looks like it could have been carved yesterday!)

Other remarkable features at Wells were the steps leading to the chapter house. After almost 900 years of continuous use, the stairs have been so worn away in places that they are like a slide. It is hard to fathom 900 years of people going about their lives and using the same path as me; almost a millenium of people living and dying in Wells while the cathedral remains an unchanging constant. As a history major, I tend to fall into the pattern of analyzing the past based on this event or that. I often forget about the real people, the teeming masses of unknowns, who are also part of history. Seeing the worn stairs leading to the chapter house were akin to a slap in the face reminding me once more of the human element that is the most important in history. For without people, there would be no history worth recording.

Almost as incredible as the cathedral itself was Vicar's Close. A 13th century street, it was built to provide housing for the vicars saying mass in the cathedral. It has changed very little since that time. To see these houses was, once again, proof of the everyday people whose names we have forgotten. Today, the houses serve as private residences, but are still fascinating to look at.

After Wells Cathedral, we traveled to Glastonbury to see the Abbey. Destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500s, Glastonbury Abbey would have been one of the largest in all of the UK had it survived. While not as fascinating as Wells Cathedral, it still had its own charm. Christian, Elysa, and I attempted to climb up the hill to the Glastonbury Tor (an ancient tower) not knowing that it is 2 kilometers away from the abbey itself. After a while, we were forced to give up and bought a postcard of the Tor from the gift shop instead. Glastonbury is also home of the (alleged) burial spot of King Arthur. (See my new profile picture!)

On the way home, we passed by Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain.

On Thursday the 12th, we celebrated the birthdays of Karen and Garrett by having a wine and cheese party in the common room before going to the Red Lion for drinks (Pimm's and Lemonade) and then to Capo, the late night bar.

On Saturday, Karen, Rachel, Amanda and I took the bus to Bleinheim Palace in Woodstock (the birthplace of Winston Churchill). Unfortunately, the internationally-rated horse show that was supposed to take place that day was cancelled due to the torrential rain that had fallen the previous day, causing several people on the bus to become quite upset. We spent several hours at Bleinheim traveling around the absolutely enormous gardens since the ticket to tour the palace was too expensive (13.50 pounds with the student discount. Do they think we, as students, are made of money?) Now, I am not usually a garden fan. However, these were so well laid-out that the experience was pleasant. Bleinheim has one of the tallest hedge mazes in the world. It does not appear to be much upon first glance, but once inside it becomes rather imposing. We quickly became lost and only with difficulty were able to find our way out. We spent Saturday night at the Red Lion, Capo, and walking around the streets of Oxford.

Sunday through Tuesday were spent actually doing work (Surprising, right?), although I did watch 'Fight Club' on Monday night for the first time, and 'The History Boys' on Tuesday night before Marie's 21st birthday party and our kabobing trip. Wednesday we went to Winchester to see the cathedral and the Great Hall (which is all that remains of the once extensive Winchester Castle, but which boasts King Arthur's Round table). It was an impressive sight, though I did not enjoy it quite as much as Wells. We had pasteys for lunch (pronounced pah-stee, they are pastry pockets containing meats, vegetables, and cheeses), went searching for ruins of the bishop's palace (that we only found later thanks to the helpful direction of Garrett), and saw Jane Austen's house. It was quite an exhausting day. On Wednesday night, we finished off 'The History Boys' and drank the meade that we had bought at the cathedral (much too sweet and syrupy for my tastes).

Yesterday consisted of going to lectures, running four laps around Christ Church meadow, and going out to the Red Lion to hang out. Afterwards, Karen and I tried to make cookies but ended up burning them to bits due to the fact that we forgot the oven is in celcius rather than fahrenheit. Tomorrow, I am heading down to London to see the sights (again) and to do a bit of shopping (or not, since I am being so careful with my money that I refuse to even buy souveneirs).

Other things accomplished so far:
1. Made friends with several of the students from St. Peter's College (our affiliate college here). They are actually British. It is amazing.
2. Went to the pub quiz at Far From the Madding Crowd (Bill Clinton's favourite pub in Oxford but not, incidentally, the one that he did not inhale at). For those who do not know, the pub quiz is a trivia game held weekly at the pub. It consists of ten rounds of five question each, with categories such as history, maths and sciences, sports, local, pot luck, films, etc. The announcer kept making fun of our group since we were American. However, we did manage to get 5th out of 7 teams (not bad for our first time out), beating one team who had been coming to the quiz for "far too long" and had achieved their best ever score that week. This coming Sunday we have recruited even more people to join us and are going to show Far From the Madding Crowd just what a bunk of Yanks can do.

Unfortunately, these are the last pictures that will be posted on my blog for some time to come. My USB port on my computer broke mysteriously one night and I have no way to upload my pictures. I am looking into getting it repaired, but this is more easily said than done. Unlike in the US, England doesn't have Best Buys or Targets, places that contain everything and can perform almost every service imaginable. And the search to find a computer repair shop has proven to be much harder than imagined. I will get my computer fixed as soon as possible though. So, I would appreciate it if the emails informing me that it is imperative that I get it fixed were to cease immediately.

Upcoming trips:
09/20: London
09/26-09/28: Valencia, Spain
October: Yerevan, Armenia
November: Istanbul

11 September 2008

09 September 2008

So This Is England...

Today is the first day that I haven't actually been completely exhausted by 8pm. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I guess I have finally gotten over my jet lag.

Anyways, England is amazing. I absolutely love Oxford. It's definitely not what I expected, but is still wonderful all the same. It's the little things that completely throw me for a loop. The fact that I have to look left to make sure that the cars aren't coming rather than to the right. The fact that the the same is true for walking on the street and passing people. Seeing the cross of St. George on the inflatable hammer balloons at the St. Giles fair rather than seeing the Stars and Stripes. It's weird, but great at the same time. Here is a run-down of my last few days:

I woke up early (7;30!) and took a shower. At around 8:45 I headed over to the St. Peter's College dining hall for breakfast. It had been posted as lasting from 8 to 9. However, they apparently close at 8:45, so by the time I headed over there it was technically closed. Luckily, they served me breakfast (and a few other CMRS students who had gotten lost on the way). Afterwards, we had our general orientation and computer orientation, with lunch in between.

At 2, Quentin (the junior dean) led us round Oxford showing us some of the semi-important sites (such as the various colleges, the bookstores, pubs, sheldonian theatre, etc.) and then left us to our own devices. A couple of us went exploring around the Broad Street area, looking into Christ Church meadow and heading into Blackwells. Now, for those home in the states who have never experienced the...wonder that is Blackwells, let's just say that it is the ultimate bookstore. It has roughly 6 levels, two store front windows, a cafe, and a secondhand book shop. We lost one of our number in the bookshop for some time, and spent a long time browsing within. They have books on every subject imaginable. Absolutely brilliant. Afterwards, we went for tea at The Buttery, which was quite nice with its minimalistic decor. We returned home in time for dinner, after which my roommate, Karen, Elise, and I went to Evensong (an Anglican half hour singing service) at Christ Church cathedral. The church itself was absolutely stunning; the choir was decent, as the world renowned Christ Church choir was on vacation and the replacement one was much more amateur.

Saturday: On Saturday, Karen and I went running at 7 in Christ Church Meadow, which is absolutely beautiful (I, unfortunately, have yet to take pictures of it). Afterwards, it was off to the shower and then to breakfast at the Queen's Lane cafe (reputedly the oldest coffee shop in Oxford) with my roommate and several other CMRSers. At 1145 we had a field trip lecture in which Alun Thortun Jones, head of the field trips and quite an interesting character, describe the four groups of places that we will be visiting during the integral course (Gloucester Cathedral and Berkeley Castle, Warwick Castle and Town, Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury, and Winchester Cathedral).

Since dinner is not offered in the dining hall during the four weekends outside of the Oxford term, my roommate and I, as well as an assorted group of people from the program, bought the ingredients for pasta. In all, the dinner fed between 10-15 people. It was quite nice. We had pasta, sauteed zucchini and peppers, salad, bread with butter, and wine. Very nice. At around 8, a group of us went to the local convenience store and bought wine and ale. I had a pint of Old Empire, which was very light and bitter, but not all that unappealing. We drank our drinks in the St. Michael's Hall common room, chatting away. At around 11:30, most people had gone to bed, and the few of us still remaining were all from St. Mary's. The rest of the night mainly consisted of telling stories of crazy St. Mary's happenings until 1:00AM.

On Sunday morning, I went with Christian and Nalui to the catholic church, St. Aloyicious. (Sp?) It was strange going to the service after two years of having not attended church. The mass was nice and the inside of the church was absolutely beautiful. I'm not quite sure how old it was. All I know, is that when the Brits receive communion, they kneel down at a sort of stone fence to receive it from the priest, rather than standing in a line.

Gloucester, which is to the east of us (I think). It is a medium-sized town and fairly modern. The cathedral is hidden from view until you come to the city centre, upon which it rises amongst the houses. It is roughly 1000 years old and quite beautiful inside. Of special notice is theAt 1145 we departed in the coach for Gloucester cathedral. It was about an hours trip to East Great Window, which takes up one huge wall of the cathedral. My favorite part, however, was the cloisters. The stained glass and detailing on the ceilings and walls were stunning.

After eating at BurgerStar (home of the fried mushroom) in Gloucester, we went to Berkeley castle. The castle is the oldest castle in England continously occupied by the same family (900 years). Seeing the castle was impressive, however, I was a bit disappointed since we were not allowed to take pictures inside and the vast majority of the castle was off-limits as it was the private residence of the Berkeley family (who still reside in the castle). We also had the chance to go to the Butterfly garden on the castle grounds. I think I may have developed a fear of butterflies for, as soon as we entered the steamy greenhouse, butterflies as large as my hand were swooping on my head, landing on my arms, flapping in front of my glasses, and generally freaking me out.
Monday: Yesterday marked the actual start of term for CMRS. Unfortunately, it started on a rather bad note for me, since I somehow set my alarm clock an hour late during my sleep. Becca woke me up at 8:25 (which I, only 5 minutes earlier, had looked at and seen 7:25, not knowing that my clock was wrong). I was able to grab a piece of toast with jam and then went to the lecture hall for our academic orientation at 9. Following this, we had our first two lectures of the semester. The first was incredibly fascinating and entitled 'The Roman Inheritance: Latin Culture and Roman Empire'. It described the various things that the Middle Ages inherited from the Roman Empire. The second lecture was 'The Bible in the Middle Ages'. I suppose it would have been more interesting had I been able to actually hear what the lecturer was saying. I was in the fifth row and could barely hear her because she was talking so softly.

After lunch, Karen and I went shopping for school supplies and then bought our cell phones from Vodafone. Theirs was the least expensive plan I could find that would still work in Scotland, but even so it is fairly expensive. So don't expect any calls from my european number anytime soon! After dinner (and following a power outage on my side of the building), Adam, Karen, Christian, and I hit up the White Horse, a nice pub off Broad Street that supposedly sells the best fish and chips in town. However, it was too late for food, so we had a pint of ale and talked for the two or so hours that we were there. On the way back, we passed through the St. Giles Fair (an enormous American-style carnival that takes over the entire street for two days (Mon and Tues) so that the other three could get kebabs from the kebab van.

Today: Today's lectures were on 'Augustine of Hippo' and 'Monks, Monastaries, and Hermits in the Middle Ages'. Both were equally interesting. I think that by the end of this semester, I am going to know all sorts of interesting trivia facts. After lunch, I attempted to go buy a couple of books at Blackwells (which had been closed on Mon because they were fixing the air conditioner) only to find it closed due to a power outage. I think it is a sign that Oxford doesn't want me to study. We had our official CMRS group photo at 230, and around 4:30, Becca, Elise and I went running twice around Christ Church Meadow. I actually ran the entire first lap around and most of the second before I had to walk. I was actually quite proud of myself. I think Christ Church might actually be my favorite location in Oxford thus far. In the middle of the meadow is a cow pasture, and there is a path that leads down to the college boathouses (and the Thames). So beautiful. It makes me want to jump into a crew shell and row each time I see it.

I just did my laundry (1.20 per each load washing and the same for drying), which took forever. As a result of the fairly steep prices, I am going to: a) buy some more clothes (since I didn't pack enough (silly me for believing all of those tips to pack light)), b) wear my clothes for two or three days at a time, or c) wash them in the Thames. Since I refuse to pay almost 3USD to dry a load, my clothes are currently hanging all around the room on hangers. Yes, I am cheap. But you have to be when the exchange rate is 1.7USD to the British pound.

Tomorrow we are going on a field trip to Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey. Pictures should be up on my Flickr account tomorrow nice.

And yes, I am having the time of my life. Unfortunately, either the fun or my life may end soon, as I currently have a booklist of 65 books that must be read by December (roughly 15 need to be read by October) so that I can write my integral essay.

Currently reading right now: 'Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism' by Benedict Anderson.

07 September 2008

Blog will be updated tomorrow as: 1) I am extremely tired, 2) I hope to get up at 6:30 to go running tomorrow, and 3) I have class from 9am to 12pm.

However, pictures have been added to the flickr account. Not all have descriptions tho.

05 September 2008

As promised, my next post is coming from the UK. More specifically, my room in St. Michael's Hall on Shoe Lane in Oxford, England. To be here is truly...amazing.

I flew out of Dulles at 10:15pm on Wednesday. It was not one of the smoothest transatlantic flights I've taken. I first started checking the 'time passed' meter at a point in the flight when I thought that a decent amount of time, say four hours or so, had passed. As it turned out, only two hours had passed, a fact at which I was horrified. I got perhaps two hours or so of sleep, and spent the rest of the time either listening to music or glancing at the flight map. We experienced terrible turbulence twice during the flight, but at least the landing went smoothly.

Luckily, the our entire group of St. Mary's kids flying to Oxford were on the same plane. And so we got our luggage together and (after a lap around Heathrow's terminal 1) found the bus that took us to Oxford.

As soon as we got off the bus, it started to pour. Or 'throw it down' as the Senior Tutor here at CMRS is so fond of saying. We dragged our luggage the two blocks to St. Michael's Hall (a feat which I could not even possibly begin to describe as we were all exhausted), where we lugged our suitcases up the two flights of stairs into the main entrance corridor.

St. Michael's Hall was built between 1869 and 1875. There is a marked lack of building planning. It is two flights of stairs to where the mailboxes and administrative rooms are. From there, it is another fligt up to the lecture hall and main classrooms. Beyond the lecture hall back doors are the stained glass studio and a door leading to the back staircases leading up to the residence hall rooms. Its another flight of stairs up to the first floor of residence halls on the main staircase, and a further flight to the top of the building. On the back lecture hall staircases, you can take it all the way up to the observatory (an area of the building that I have yet to actually see). My room is on the fourth floor of the building. Down the hallway of rooms opposite my hallway are the kitchen, common room, and dining hall. The kitchen is rather nice, as is the common room. The dining hall is a bit weird and dark, and we have yet to actually eat a meal there.

My room is rather big for a dorm room, but not as big as my room last year in Waring Commons. We have a sink and mirror, two wardobes, a dresser, a book case, two beds, and a desk that we share. Oddly enough, I was assigned to the side of the room with rowing pictures posted on the wall. Sweet, right?

After unpacking everything, I went on a walk around Oxford with Laura, one of the girls from St. Mary's. We had a brief domestic orientation and then went to dinner in the hall of St. Peter's College. I was completely exhausted and feeling ill after dinner, and fell asleep by 8:30pm.

Today, I was up bright and early at 8am, took a shower, and then went to breakfast at St. Peter's. We had a fire drill at 9:30 and a general orientation at 1130. We went to lunch and then to a computer orientation at 1. Afterwards, we took a practical walking tour of Oxford with Quentin Croft, the junior dean of CMRS. It was a nice tour, mainly of the local grocery stores, good pubs, and some of the colleges. Very nice. Afterwards, a couple of us took tea at The Buttery before going to Blackwell's, a bookstore of immense proportions and to whom Borders simply cannot compare.

Dinner was a 5:30, and then I went with my roommate and several other people to Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. Beautiful, truly beautiful. I wish I had pictures to display, as I currently seem to lack the words to adequately describe such sights. But my camera is acting up. So...we shall see.

As for the family, don't worry, I will shoot you an email within the next couple of days.

03 September 2008

It's hard to believe that in less than 24 hours I will be sitting on a plane, flying across the Atlantic to Great Britain.

I'm (almost) packed, save for a few last minute items, and am now experiencing that odd mixture of nerves and excitement. I think my nerves were exacerbated by the fact that I sat at home all day knowing that everyone at St. Mary's was in class. I never thought that I would miss St. Mary's but now... I've already accepted that it will be different when I come back. I mean, SMCM has already switched from Coke to Pepsi in the vending machines (which, to a self-admitted Diet Coke addict, is one of the greatest tragedies that can occur). If that can happen, than anything can happen. I already know for sure though that no one will really remember who I am. A year is a long time. (Though not really, if one is considering the grand scheme of things.)

My drop-off at Dulles has apparently turned into an all-out family affair. My plane takes off at 9:41pm, but we are leaving Laurel at 3:30 (or earlier, knowing my father). I'm not quite sure why we are leaving so early (since I am only required to be at the airport by 7:00), and all attempts at eliciting an explanation from Dad have received the rather illusive response of "Just bring a book, Rebecca." I am taking this to mean that I am going to spend a good four or five hours in the terminal.

The next time I post, Ill be in England.