Thursday, July 26, 2007


Well, I'm getting down to my final hours here in Oxford. I can't say that I'm happy to go, but I don't really want to stay here much longer, either. I'm not homesick, but I do miss home. I think, mostly, I'm just missing Sean, and my sister. Throughout the trip, I've stopped at odd places and laughed at jokes, thinking how much they would have loved to be here and experience the same things. And, how much more I would enjoy it if they were here with me.

Even though I sound a bit forlorn, I really have had a ton of fun. Our group got along brilliantly, and managed to stay out of any really serious trouble. We were ordered to "disperse" a few times by the porters, and tiptoed across the forbidden lawn when we thought no one was looking. Tom led a sing (and dance) a-long on Cornmarket Street at midnight. We finally found out that the well-endowed unicorn in the great hall is meant to symbolize virginity. It's rained more than it's been sunny, but we've made the most of it. Joe's room became a piano bar, and the roof became "Boots". The guys managed to find the only place in town which would sell us Americans coffee after 3 in the afternoon, and they're greatly profiting off of our addictions. AHH! GIANT PARAGRAPH! Steve's luggage never made it to Oxford, but it did spend time in Paris, London, Africa, Romania, and probably Baghdad. Copa became our home. We learned the difference between candy and sweets. Angie knit hats in the bar - very sexy. We saw the Harry Potter release come and go, and have been lamenting on the book ever since. (By the way, good book - terrible epilogue.) I've made fantastic friends, who I'll be sure to still hang out with once I get back to Oakland. A lot of us have made some pretty big changes in our lives. Some people ended relationships, some people began new ones. I've learned a bit about myself, and made some decisions about what I want to do in life, and where I'm going next. I've spent too much money and eaten too much chocolate, and I've developed a strong attachment to coffee and mochas. We learned to pick out tourists in a crowd, and despise them for taking over "our" city. Shopping in Oxford is amazing, and I wish I had come with an extra $6000 to spend just in Primark and Next Clearance.

There's loads more. Lots of sheep and rain. I've had a great time, but I'm ready to move on to the next thing. Sean flies in tomorrow morning, and I'm going out to the airport to meet him. We'll come out to Oxford at some point and pack up all of my junk, and then I'll leave Brasenose. I'm shocked that it's over already, but I'm also glad. Well, I will be if I ever get my paper finished. It's awful, and I'm just dragging it on longer by doing this blog instead.

Anyway, here's the plan for the next few days. Sean and I will be in London starting on Friday. We have some friends in town we might meet up with, but other than that we're just going to hang out and do touristy things, and catch up. That's what I'm most excited for. I'll finally have someone here who I can share the trip with. I've made some great friends while here, but it's just not the same. Anyway. London until the 3rd, and then we're spending the weekend in Paris. After that, it's back to London, and then north to Sean's aunt's house until Wednesday. We fly out of Heathrow that afternoon, and I should be back in Michigan Wednesday night. Hooray for 5-hour time differences!

The only thing holding me back right now is this stupid paper. I hate it with a passion, and until it's finished I'll feel like I'm in this awful limbo. Bah humbug. Back to work. While I sit and think about it, the list of things I need to do before I leave expands like Oxford in a flood. Back to work!

This and other Travel Blog posts imported from an old blog on 2/3/2009, for posterity's sake.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm famous!

So, Audrey, what has been the most exciting part of your trip, thus far? What made your hands shake and your knees knock? Was it seeing Buckingham Palace? A performance of Macbeth in Stratford upon Avon? Going backstage at the National Theatre (which was terrific, by the way)? James Bond Night?

No, no. None of that.

The most exciting thing happened to me last night. After seeing Saint Joan at the National Theatre, I met John Lithgow!


It was awesome. Before the show, some of the guys had spotted a few celebs in the audience. John Lithgow, Ed Harris, and Alan Rickman were all at the National last night. Lithgow was sitting only about 15 feet away from us! He was there with what I'm assuming is his son. Anyway. As I was leaving, after the performance, I looked behind me and THERE HE WAS!

At the coat check, I had to say something. I just couldn't pass it up. So, in my high nervous voice came a little "Mr. Lithgow?"

"Yes?" (He smiled at me!)

(All in a rush now) "I thought you were amazing in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!"

"Thank you! You're so sweet!" (awesome handshake)

And then I turned bright red, wished them a nice night, and started bouncing around like a balloon losing its air.

That was awesome.

Oh, and everything else is cool, too. hahaha

This and other Travel Blog posts imported from an old blog on 2/3/2009, for posterity's sake.

Monday, July 23, 2007

And the clouds open up and God says 'I hate you, Alfalfa'

I'm alright, but England is rather soggy. I'm not sure how widespread it is on American news, but a good chunk of England is under water right now. We're having the worst flooding in history here. My friends house just a few minutes south of Oxford will be under water by nearly 6 feet by tomorrow night. There are hundreds of thousands of people without water and electricity, and half a million still stranded in their flooded houses. It's pretty bad.

So far, I'm alright in the city center. About a mile away, the canals are about to overflow. I was just there this afternoon to take some pictures. Word is that tomorrow the Thames will overflow here in Oxford. Luckily, my school (Brasenose) is on higher ground and in the center of Oxford, so we shouldn't have any trouble. Even if we do, our program ends on Friday and most of the group is heading home.

I just looked out my window at the "dreaming spires" of Oxford - tons of peaks belonging to old churches and colleges which create a gorgeous skyline. But, past the spires I can see a relief helicopter coast by every few minutes. The mood here is one of giddy worry. Everyone's nervous, of course, and yet they're cheerful. Loads of jokes and smiles, just making the most of it. I can only imagine what it'd be like if Lake St. Clair back home overflowed. But, no need to worry about that, since the lake is dying. :P

My friend Damian, who lives in Abingdon (about 15 minutes south) is clearing out his house today. We were going to go to one of the Oxford museums today, but instead he's loading up all of his electronics and taking them to his aunt's. Tomorrow, if the Thames escapes its banks, then his house will be swamped. If anyone's interested, you can find pictures on the BBC's website, and on (the radio station I've been listening to all day).

Oxford is in pretty good shape, with just the west side of town starting to go under. Only one or two roads are closed. I think everyone in the group, save for myself, went to Blenheim Castle for the afternoon, so they're missing out on all of the fun.

Stay tuned for pictures. I'll pop them in to lengthen the post once I take them off of my camera.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


A quick post before I go back to work on my homework. The horrific flooding around England hasn't caused me too much grief, yet. I was caught in London during some serious flash-flooding, and I'll try to get the videos of that up as soon as I can.

Harry Potter. Amazing on so many levels.
Went to London for the HUGE line party, where people had been sleeping out on the cement at the doors of Waterstones for days, from all around the world. It was pretty much a block party in the center of London with thousands of people dressed up and singing and chanting and holding up hilarious signs.

Finished the book almost exactly 24 hours after I got it into my hands.
It was well written, entertaining, and brought nearly complete closure. I still have some questions, but it was good! Worst part was the epilogue, hands down. I was expecting so much more.

Anyway, just writing to say that I'm alive. Once I plow through the homework I have piled up again, I'll write more.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tut, tut. Looks like rain...

Sorry for the posting delay. I've been busy trying to get ahead on my homework. This Friday (for those who live under a rock) is the release of the final Harry Potter novel, and I intend on reading it all weekend. So, I'm trying to get all of my homework out of the way before then. I just got back from an early dinner at "Old Orleans", which is the most American restaurant in town. Best thing is - the prices are cheap! Of course, there's a KFC, McDonald's, and Burger King... but who wants to come all the way across the ocean to eat there?! We're all missing Taco Bell very much, though. England would be much better off with some Taco Bell.

Next week is my last week. AH! It's flown by so incredibly quickly. I want to stay!

Today, when I stepped out of Brasenose (in order to return a jacket at FCUK ((French Connection U.K.)) which I decided was superfluous) there were movie cameras in my face!!! It was as if I had stepped into the 1900s, and I was surrounded by strapping young Oxford scholars, riding turn of the century bikes and being all-together adorable. Turns out, today, the re-make of Brideshead Revisited is being filmed right out in the Radcliffe Camera. I didn't spot any stars, but there were plenty of extras to giggle at. Speaking of celebs, though, some friends spotted Kiera Knightly in London the other day. That's pretty nifty.

I still haven't been to the museums, here. I feel so guilty! There's a natural history one, a history one, and then a huge jumble of art at the Ashmoleon. I'll try to do one or two this week, after class. They're supposed to be a lot of fun, but I've just been to busy doing other things!

Last night was our James Bond night at dinner - complete with Tom the Brit singing Golden Eye and a few other songs. It was so much fun! We all dressed up in black (I bought the afore-mentioned jacket for last night) and had shrimp, steak, and sorbet. Then, Black Russians at the pub with more entertainment. I ended up leaving early to work on the Sheridan play we're reading, but it was a ton of fun nonetheless.

Tonight, we're going to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at a neighboring college. It's supposed to rain, but right now the sun looks promising, so maybe we'll get lucky. Tomorrow is the last day of class for the week, and then I'm off to London early Friday morning! Angie and I bought witch hats, since we're Harry Potter geeks. I'll be on the look out for a cool souvenir for Katie, of course.

Speaking of souvineers, if anyone wants one - tell me! I don't want to spend a ton, but I'll do my best. There's a flea market sort of thing going on tomorrow and there's always cool stuff there.

And for the parents: I've been getting pretty good grades on my papers, nothing below a 3.8 so far. I got your package yesterday - THANK YOU!!! It definitely made me miss you guys, though. I've yet to have a pasty here that can compare to the ones back home. But, I've seen lots of adorable dogs that I'd love to bring back with me!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I checked - London Bridge is still standing.

Another Sunday has rolled into Oxford, and with it comes clouds. The radio says we'll have a rather nasty storm later today. I was going to go down to Sainsbury's and get a few groceries and some medicine for my cold, but at the moment it might be better to stay in and in doing so, stay dry! It isn't raining yet, but it'll start soon.

On second thought, I think I WILL go before the storm hits. Sainsbury's is in a mall. If I have to be stuck indoors during a storm, a mall is far more interesting than my room here at Brasenose. :)

I've been listening to the main radio station here, FOX. I found it last night on my clock radio, and ever since I've turned it on, I've known about 80% of the hit songs they play. About a month before I left for Oxford, I started listening to all of the popular British music I could get my hands on. It's paid off!

Yesterday, I went to London with Catie, Joe, and Stephanie. We got into town around 9am, I think, and then wandered around Kensington and Hyde Park while shops opened up. After breakfast at the Hyde Park Cafe (right on the Serpentine - beautiful) we headed for Knightsbridge for some window shopping. Probably not Joe's first choice, but we saw lots of shiny cars along the way and he snapped pictures of them all.

After lunch at Cafe Nero, we all went down into Kensington to meet the girl I'm renting an apartment from after the program at Oxford ends. The place is AMAZING!!! Ground floor, outdoor patio, full kitchen, nice showers and baths, beautiful view, cosy livingroom, safe and friendly complex with porters at the front gate, a gym, and a pool that looks like a Roman bath (complete with pillars and marble). I was in awe. I almost want to skip the rest of Oxford and spend the rest of my trip in Kensington!

After that, we headed for Belgravia to look for Stephanie's hostel, and to rest a bit. Then, we split into pairs. Catie and I headed for Covent Garden, which was SO MUCH FUN! It was packed, of course, but we had a delicious pizza at Cafe Pasta, and then wandered around watching street performers and looking in the covered market. I definitely want to go back with Sean! We left London, completely exhausted, around 7pm and I was in bed by 11. I tried to stay up to do homework, but I kept falling asleep sitting up.

This morning I work up feeling awful. This cold will NOT go away! But, if I get this Lemsip stuff at Sainsbury's, it's supposed to help a lot. My ankle's taken a beating this trip, too. I've been wearing the brace I brought for well over a week, and now my skin is all irritated from it. So, today I'll go without it and see how I do. It feels (and looks) much better, so I think I'll be alright.

Hello to everyone back home! I love you all very much. I apologize for not getting postcards out to a lot of you yet. I ran out of stamps! Eek! I'll try to find more this week. Plus, the sunflowers that Sean sent during the first week have finally been tossed. They looked sort-of okay last night, but they really looked awful this morning. I'll probably pick up some flowers in the covered market tomorrow. (I've been wanting to buy flowers, anyway.) My bangs are growing out, and I think I might have lost some weight. Double yay! I love you all very much, and I hope you're all doing well. Sorry for the random postings. I know they don't make a lot of sense sometimes. :P

Friday, July 13, 2007


Just a few things I've picked up, thought I'd share...

- "Cheers", which is used all over as a way to say "thanks" or "goodbye" actually derives from the tv show, Cheers. That's right, the American one from the early 90s. Apparently, it was incredibly popular and Brits at the time thought it was a cool thing to say. Now, it's as common as apple pie.

- You can get a good apple pie in the Covered Market for under 3 pounds.

- The professor who has an office next to my room is very nice, and from the East Coast. And, he's a history professor! He told me that the University Parks, to the north of the museums here, are where Christopher Robin played as a boy.

- What we refer to as candy in the States, is only the hard candy that ppl suck on here in the UK. That's what you'll get if you ask for candy. Ask instead for sweets if you want things like gum, chocolate, etc.

- Sunflowers, although they do last for many days in a vase, do not last forever.

- My last name is common in Poland. I'm not a bit Polish.

- Joe's blog is witty.

- It's possible for me to go into a clothing shop here and not buy anything.

- The 5th Harry Potter movie was good. Really, it was.

- The way that Americans pronounce 'Oxford' is "fancy".

In other news, yesterday's trip to London was great. The play was much funnier than I thought, which was a relief. My ankle is much better, but I'm still wearing the brace to be safe. I've gone this far without doing laundry, but I've reached the end of the line and now I have to do a ton tonight.

Tomorrow, bright and early, I'm going to London with Catie, Stephanie, and Joe. There's no set plan, so it'll be a nice day all in all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just to prove my geekiness...

The classroom I have class in every day was used as Dumbledore's office in the first Harry Potter movie!


So cool!!!

Just to Clarify...

Hello, everyone!

I hope you're all doing well and having a relaxing July back in the States. I heard it's been really, really hot there. I hate to say it, but I'm wearing long sleeves right now (Reason #436 why I want to live in England). It's a pretty lazy day here in Oxford. Lots of tourist groups going around the colleges, so it's easier to stay indoors than to battle the crowds. I just got back from Boots, which is like a glorified CVS. I had to pick up some Germolene (which is like neosporen), and it burns like the Dickens!!! I felt like such a baby when I put it on and yelped. But, I'm tough. I can take it. (Mommy... will you kiss my boo-boo?)

So, yes. Today's rather slow. However, last night was the official Brasenose/American pub crawl. It was a flop, to be honest. Most of the pubs we stopped at were either closed, too busy, or refused to serve our gigantic group. There was supposed to be a designated drink at each pub (stuff like gin and tonics, and other lethal drinks), but I just opted for a cheap beer here and there. After about an hour I left early and was in bed by midnight.

Tonight, though, is Jessica's birthday! We've reserved the top floor of a wine bar (Copa) a few blocks away and that should be pretty fun. I'll probably stick to water or Pimm's tonight since we have a LONG day in London tomorrow! In fact, now that I think about it, I'll most likely sneak out early.

So, to clarify, I'm not in a constant drunken stupor here in Oxford. And, to clarify even further, each time I've mangled my ankle was completely without the aid of alcohol. And, I was even on flat ground. For some reason, I ankle just gives out without warning. It's bruised. I think that means it's healing. And, to clarify to the extreme, I've not become obsessed with shopping. Yes, I've bought 4 pairs of shoes. BUT (still with me, Dad?), it's all within reason. Really. I had to get a pair of slide-on flats since my air cast doesn't fit in my normal pair. I found a sale, two pairs for 15 pounds. The salesman was really nice and we chatted for quite a while, and as I was leaving he offered me a third pair for free. So, you see? Good price! And, they're sturdy and have cushioning.

As for getting all of my junk home, I think I've got it covered as well. No worries!

For those of you who care, but didn't know, I posted about 50 pictures on my Flickr account yesterday. This address should get you there:

Tomorrow is London! I'm very excited. We're leaving in the morning (no class!) and eventually seeing Love's Labours Lost at The Globe! It isn't my first choice of Shakespeare's plays, but it'll be fun nonetheless. Right now we're reading Midsummer Night's Dream, which I love. I wish we could see THAT at the Globe! Instead, we'll be seeing it next week at Trinity College, here in Oxford.

Speaking of which, I need to work on my Midsummer essay. I'd love to hear how all of you are doing! Leave a comment and tell me what you've been up to, if you have the time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh, the irony...

I sprained my ankle again.

This is getting ridiculous.

I've given in, and am now wearing one of those hard-sided air casts.

Even though my ankle was the size of a tennis ball and all of the colours of the rainbow, I went to Stratford-upon-Avon today. We saw the most brutal, violent version of Macbeth I've ever heard of. Dead babies hanging from the rafters, and everything. I'm still not quite sure what I think of it.

But, on a happier note, I had the most amazing cheesecake in the world today. This was the tipping point - I've decided I want to move to England so that I can eat chocolate truffle or banana cheesecake all day long while punting on the Thames and shopping. It'll be lovely.

I'll try to do a better update tomorrow. I should have time, since most of my group is going to London for the afternoon. I opted not to go so that I could save money, but now it's good, since my ankle is busted again.

It's 20 past midnight, and breakfast starts early in the morning. Time for bed!

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Let's flashback, shall we?

January 2007 - I slipped on Michigan Ave and mangled my ankle, really badly. Instead of getting it checked out, I just wore Sean's aircast for a while. It took about a month or two to really feel right again. I probably should have gone to the doctor, but I'm dumb.

2 Days before flying out - I slipped on Michigan Ave AGAIN, this time with Bret. Same ankle went sideways and cracked. It wasn't quite as bad as the last time, but it still hurt like the devil. It took me about a day and a half to recover. It still hurts a bit, but I'm nearly better.

1:30am, last night - Took a wrong step somehow and did the same to the other ankle. GAH! It hurts, and it's weird because this ankle is usually my good one. So now I have to hobble around. I'm tempted to just stay holed up in my room all day and feel sorry for myself, but I can't let that happen.

I'm alright, except for my ankle(s). Last night, the Oakland group all hung out and watched a movie in Joe's room. Then, after that ended most people went to bed, but Joe and I went wandering. On the way back to BNC I screwed up my ankle, so that put a damper on our strolling. It's good that we don't have any sort of field trip today. However, tomorrow is Stratford-upon-Avon. I think I'll be alright enough to roam around there.

I guess I don't have much to say, other than I hate my weak ankles. If you're looking for pictures, I put a bunch up on my flickr account. Scroll down a few posts - I put the address to that at the bottom of a recent post.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Wanderings and Ramblings

It's quarter past seven, and I seem to have missed dinner. For those of you who don't know (which should everyone on the other side of the Atlantic, actually), at the last minute, I pulled out of the Stonehenge trip scheduled for today. I did so for a couple of reasons - we were overbooked, another girl wanted to go much more than I did, and I didn't want to miss the absolutely gorgeous weather here in Oxford! So, I think I made the right choice.

I spent the morning sleeping in, and then wandering the streets. Each day, I feel less like a tourist and more like a semi-permanate Oxfordian. (Is that the right word?) And, I think today I've spent the least amount of money in the past week, which is fantastic. Wait. I lied. I paid for my copy of the final Harry Potter book in advance, so I'm wrong. Oh, well.

After wandering, I came back to Brasenose and worked on my growing pile of homework. That's the bad thing about being in Oxford in the summer - it's so nice here, that homework is impossible! Still, I finished a good chunk of it. If I work for another hour or so, I might be caught up enough to read something other than Shakespeare! Or, I could just go to the pub.

Nightlife in Oxford is kind of lame, compared to Michigan. I'm used to getting ready at 10pm and going out at 11pm or midnight, and then not falling into bed until 3 or 4 at times. Instead, people start the festivities here around 8 or 9pm, and by midnight the streets are only inhabited by drunken teenagers and obnoxiously loud American tourists who are experiencing the same surprise that I am. What's there to do in Oxford?! Jessica and I wandered around after being booted out of BNC's pub at 11pm. We ran into some of the BNC staff, and they pointed us toward the only open place where we could get in free and not spend money. I guess everyone else had the same idea, because there was a massive, unmoving line of people outside of the Purple Turtle. I was back at BNC and in bed within 15 minutes.

Other than the lack of nightlife, Oxford is delightful. The weather was so nice today, that I was a bit disoriented. I actually like the rain, which surprises locals a lot. Today, I think it was in the 80s, and I only saw a few grey clouds. However, I think from now on I'll stay away from the city centre on Saturdays. There were mobs of tourists all over, blocking every sidewalk, crosswalk, and doorway. Drove me crazy. Cornmarket was awful, but I still walked back and forth for a bit. A street performer who ate balloons and played with razors pulled me into his skit, where I was the designated paper-holder. I snuck away when his back was turned - the ultimate trick.

Hypothetically, if someone were to send me a care package, I think the things I'd want the most are M&Ms, Extra pink bubble gum, and those nifty wool socks like Sean has. I looked for them in the shops - no luck. However, the shopping in Oxford is AMAZING. Really. If I had unlimited money (like some of the girls on this trip), I'd come back with a dozen new outfits a day. There are shops where you can get a French Connection skirt for 5 pounds. I got a few shirts for 2 pounds each (and they're nice, cute shirts!). Shoes are pricey, but there are jackets and jeans for about 10 pounds. It's amazing! I've died and gone to cheap fashion heaven. Even jewelry is cheap and adorable.

Another way to save money is to turn on the American-ness. Pubs love Americans (for the most part), and I don't think I've paid full price yet for a pint. Plus, Americans never get carded or charged cover at clubs. If I actually like dancing and clubbing, I'd be much more excited about this, too.

Alright, back to work. Gotta get this homework all done so that it's not hovering over my head all day tomorrow as well! Oh - sounds like everyone else is back from dinner. Gotta work fast before we go out in our big, obnoxious American group again. At least we're not the most stereotypical ones here. A group from Texas got here today, and it makes me cringe to see them wandering around in their Texas t-shirts, baseball hats (which no one here wears), and cameras yelling to eachother about how cute the red phone boxes are.
Alright, I've got some time, so I'll try and put in as many good pics as I can, and also try to explain them. Ready? Set.... Go!

First off, I moved my room's furniture around a bit. I doubt you care, but it made me happyful!

And, here's my awesome new pair of shoes (which gave me a bit of a blister, but it was worth it).

Next are a few pictures from Christ Church College. The dining hall is the one from the Harry Potter movies! Plus, there are lots of ties to the Alice in Wonderland story at this site. The real Alice's father was the Dean, and the school was her playground. Lewis Carroll was a family friend, and pulled lots of ideas from his time spent playing with little Alice. The tree at the wall is where the original tree was, where Alice had lessons and played with he cat (Dinah). The white rabbit was modeled after Alice's father, who after dinner in the hall would disappear down a little spiral staircase behind the head table. Lots more, but here's the pics.

Arrrgh. Inputting pictures is so tedious! I quit.

I'll continually put pictures onto my account. Here's the link: It's probably easier for all involved to see my pictures there!

Sorry. Pictures did not transfer when I reposted this into my new(er) blog.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Picture Post!

As I promised, here's a few pictures from the beginning of the week. This first one is my little room. Quaint, eh? It's small, but I like it! Some people got massive, fancy rooms with sitting areas and whatnot. Speaking of Fancy... Joe even has a piano in his!!! But I like mine just the same. The view is awesome. Wanna see?

This amazing, gigantic stained glass window is what I see every day. It's really huge - I wish the picture did it justice. It's the big show-window in St. Mary's church, just next door. From where I'm sitting, my window frames it perfectly. Very cool!

Looking to the left from my window, you can see that roundish building. See it? That's the Radcliffe Camera, often the symbol of Oxford and Oxford University. It's really cool, and what makes it even cooler is that none of us can go into it. It's reserved only for true Ox students as a massive study hall. Maybe I'll try and find a way to sneak in.

Looking right, I can see High Street - the main street of old Oxford. It's very cool, with lots of shoe shops! I'm really getting the hang of this town, and have yet to get too lost. But, even if I were to wander too far, it's really easy to find your way back.

And then below is New Quad, the larger of the two quads at Brasenose. I'll get more pictures of BNC and it's interior sometime soon. But, for now, at least you can see that I'm not just hiding out in northern Michigan, or something!

Alright, that's all for now. I've got about an hour to work on Shakespeare. Early next week, we're going to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Macbeth, and I'm really excited. Then, on Thursday we're all going to London and seeing Love's Labours Lost at the Globe. Woo-hoo!!! Then, on Friday, lots of us are going to see the new Harry Potter movie.

This weekend, I'm not really sure what I'll be doing. Probably catching up on homework and wandering around. I'd like to sleep in on Sundays, but it's alright that I can't, because I have the coolest alarm ever. The choirs and organ at the massive old church next door (St. Mary's) echo all around BNC on Sunday mornings, and in the evenings as well. Very cool to wake up to! In fact, the stairwell which my room is located in is named after St. Mary's. I'm all the way at the top! A bit of a hike, but it's good for me. And, I'm eating much better now that I'm here. We all are. Lots of fruit and a good balanced dinner (except the "salad" is awful) and I think everyone is now addicted to coffee.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!

I think tonight might be something of a slower night for me. We'll see. For now, I have a few moments to write! Every day in Oxford gets better and better, but every day I spend out on the town means more work is piling up back at BNC. Tonight I'll have to crank out two papers, finish reading Macbeth, read Love's Labours Lost, and then start on a paper about that as well. Being a slacker is not safe when you have a whole semester's worth of work to do in a few weeks!

So. Yesterday was America Day! Hooray! We celebrated by running around the quad with sparklers, being extremely loud, and playing flip cup and beer pong. Good stuff! Even better - me and Angie won! Wooot!!!

After that, we all headed into the BNC pub. That's right, folks. The pub is about a 30 second walk from the door of my room. I love it. Jessica and I sat with about a dozen of the British BNC kids and tried to follow along with their really bizzare drinking games. It was absolutely hilarious. Plus, they go and play every night, so Jessica and I will probably go back for a few hours tonight. (Don't worry. Plenty of time for homework.) The two main people we met were AK and Tim - who challenged us Americans to a cricket match! Mwahahahahaha. I'm so stoked. Tonight, I think we're teaching them Thumper or beer pong. Or both. Should be fun.

After that, the Oakland gang all wandered around, looking for a pub or bar that was open past 11pm and had people our age in it. No luck. We ended up at a wine bar, where we were definitely the loudest people (that's usually the case). There was a bar that was supposed to be an America, down-home southern food sort of place... but it sucked. I left early with a few of the other girls and was asleep by midnight.

I got the cutest shoes today!!! I know, you're all thrilled, right? They're awesome. I took pictures. If I can figure it out, I'll start posting pics from all the things I've been doing. (I know I've been saying that for days, but I really mean it!) Everything here is ridiculously expensive. If it doesn't warm up soon, I'll break down and buy some sort of fleece pull-over. I see loads of locals bundled up in coats and scarves, whereas I'm just in a sweatshirt.

Speaking of which - hoodies. Apparently, they're the ultimate tourist indication. Only Americans and tourists wear hoodies here. And backpacks, but that's more understandable. So, I'm trying to stay away from my hoodies as much as possible. Thank goodness I brought a sweater! Plus, every girl here wears cut canvas flats (like my Rocket Dogs, if ya know what I mean). They're in every store, and not too expensive!

It's raining again, but I think it's hilarious. British weather makes me laugh. Plus, I don't mind the rain, so it's all good. Even better, now that I've waterproofed all of my shoes and I'll do my bags as well.

Great. Now I feel guilty for writing in this instead of working on my paper(s). I'll do another update once I'm more caught up.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I need a mobile.

On my way out to breakfast, but I thought I'd drop in here. Webmail (Oakland's email) isn't working, so I couldn't email my dad. Maybe he'll drop in and read this -

Considering the fact that my cell phone ("mobile"!) is terrible, I'm going to buy a pay-as-you-go phone. The plans start around 30 pounds, which comes with a free phone. Depending on the included phone, I might instead spend a bit and get a nicer phone. That'd be one of the best souvineers ever! See, it should work fine back in the states, since all I'd have to do do is pop in my own, old SIM card once I arrive home. I've talked to a few people, and they all say it should work no problem.

So after breakfast, I have class til about 11am. I'll probably pop over to the theatre and reserve tix to the harry potter movie with some friends, and then deal with the cell phone business. If I get the plan I want, I'll be able to get calls from the US for FREE! And, free texting! Plus, it's cheaper than the AT&T one. So, an all-around good deal.

This afternoon, there's another town tour by B-Con. (OMG! One of my fave songs is on the radio! MIKA!) Then, after the tour I'm not sure what I'll do. Probably go to a museum or something.

So yeah, I have MSN messenger and I convinced Sean to get it as well. The time difference only gives us about a hour before I need to go pass out, but it's better than nothing.

Oooh! Last night was fun! Me, Joe, and about 4 other girls all wandered around (but we were NOT lost) and eventually found a French cafe, Cafe Rouge. The whole street was strung with x-mas lights, and the deserts were delicious. Plus, the wine was good and relatively cheap.

Anyway, enough blabbering. Time for food!

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Update

So, here's a run-down of happenings.

  • Got my internet to work!
  • Got my luggage (finally) from Northwest/British Airways with nearly everything intact. Some nail polish opened up, but nothing was ruined.
  • Skipped going to the pub in order to do homework. Blah.
  • Decided that my best course of action will be to get a pay-as-you-go cell for about 30 pounds, since my cell phone is a piece of junk. (And, I can get a cute new phone!)
  • Oxford is AMAZING!
  • Moved into Brasenose College (BNC). My room has an awesome view of a gigantic stained glass window belonging to the church next door. Once I get a chance, I'll post pictures of the room, and whatever else is on my camera.
  • Bought a present for daddy!
  • Mailed out postcards to relatives and the guys. Still have to do that for everyone else.
  • Figured out the general layout of the city.
  • Got tix to the HP5 movie, for next week, with Christie. Should be cool. Did you know that when you buy movie tix, they even tell you what part of the theatre you have to sit in? Bizzare.
  • Also bizzare - the UK has about 38,000 Elvis impersonators. Just so ya know.
  • Saw real, live British guys playing cricket in the park!
  • Also saw BNC guys playing croquet on the quad. How pimp is that?!
So yeah. I'm alive. I've been spending more than I should, but a lot of it is startup costs and will be partially reimbursed at the end, when I sell my appliances to "B-Con". Hahahahaha! I hope Joe reads that! Sweet.

Took a little tour of the town today, led by Connery. It's much more compact than I thought. Plus, the weather gets better each day. The weekend is supposed to be beautiful!

Alright, I'm going to go and try to get ahold of my parents, or something. I'll start posting pictures soon, hopefully!

An old post.

(written on June 30th, but not posted til a few days later)

Alrighty. Since I can’t get internet, I’m “blogging” in Word. Don’t tell anyone – I’m already geeky enough! I’m in the hostel lounge, watching the season premiere of Dr. Who with a girl from Atlanta. I have no idea what’s going on with the show, but at least I’m seeing it before KATIE! HAH! I so totally rock.

I talked to one of my roommates, a grandma from the Lake District. She consoled me, and the girl from Quebec, telling us that the amount of rain we’re getting is unordinary. And then, I watched the news, which told me all about the flooding to the north and the car bombings in the south. I think I’ll stay put tomorrow instead of going to Cambridge and London, like I had considered.

Still no sign of my luggage. But then again, I haven’t checked since I last wrote. I’m debating wasting some of the minutes on my phone card to call BA’s luggage hotline, but maybe I’d rather be surprised tomorrow. Then, at least, I won’t be tempted to run over to BNC tonight in the rain to see for myself.

Having the day to wander and do my own thing was lovely. I definitely think I’m a solo traveler (except I missed Sean terribly). It’d be fun with family or Kate or a good friend, but when I’m strapped to someone I sort of know and feel obligated to stay with them… not so fun. I’m sure any logical person would agree.

So! The hostel. It’s much nicer than I expected, and their food is freakin’ delicious! I might even come back (sneakily) tomorrow night just for their bread and butter pudding. I HAD ENGLISH FOOD! SCORE! Oh, and did you know there are about 38,000 Elvis impersonators in the UK? And, my Georgia friend just told me there’s a Dr. Who shop somewhere.

Speaking of awesome shops, I went to the Alice in Wonderland shop today. In fact, it was the first place in the UK, out of all of the amazing sites, which I chose. Like I already said, I’m a geek. The shop is ADORABLE!!! Lots of cute, touristy things to waste my pounds on. I made it out of there and spent under 10 pounds. Amazing, eh? I’ve also managed to still not buy any Oxford Uni regalia or union jack stuff. But, I did have a delicious nutella crepe today on Queen Street.

I ran into a whole group of kids from OU today, as they arrived at BNC for early check-in. I’m not going to check in until tomorrow morning, though. I already paid for the night here at the hostel, so I might as well stay. Plus, the 2 day bus pass I bought will get me there in no time in the morning, after another delicious hostel breakfast!

It’s much nicer to type on an American keyboard again. Their @ key is in a crazy place, as is the “ key. I should really get back to Macbeth. Or Dr. Who. Yeaaaah, I’m going to watch TV for a while. Gotta quit while I still have power left on my laptop.