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.

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