Sunday, February 14, 2010


Okay, forgive the two posts in one day-- I wouldn't normally indulge in such narcissism.  But I HAD to share what I learned tonight.  First, let's recap a few of the language barriers I've had to get over:

pants vs. trousers
cookies vs. biscuits
stroller vs. pram
movie vs. film


Tonight, we had a rowing get-together, and I brought along some sugar cookies I'd baked and a can of funfetti frosting, imported from the US.  The frosting was pink, and the lid held some Valentine's sprinkles.  I got everything out and put it on a desk, and someone asked me what was in the lid.
"Sprinkles," I said.
She looked at me.
"Oh, geez," I said.  "Don't tell me you have a different name for these, too."
"Those are hundreds of thousands," she said.
"I'm sorry-- what??"
"Hundreds of thousands!" She then proceeded to show the lid around the room and take a poll on the proper name for the little sugary bits.  It was unanimous-- hundreds of thousands all around.

By far the WEIRDEST phrase yet.

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day.  Even though I've never had a Valentine to celebrate with, I don't mind this holiday.  Say what you will about it being a Hallmark holiday, a commercial opportunity to milk over-achieving, approval-seeking, wife-appeasing men for all they're worth, but I actually kind of like it.

Bearing that in mind, please know that what I'm about to tell you doesn't come from a place of bitterness, cynicism, depression, or angst.  It comes from Fact.

Today, this Valentine's Day, I stepped in dog poop on my way home.

Some kind of sign?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mid-way Mark

Today marks the halfway point of my life in Oxford.  Some days I forget I already have two years of uni behind me.  I forget this isn't permanent.  I forget that my days in the happiest library on earth are numbered.  I forget that I'm not actually going to be able to pop over to my friends' houses next year, that I have no idea who I'll be living with or where I'll be living.  I kind of feel like I'm on hold-- this year is a brief interruption in my normally boring life.  I've been homesick, I've been in love with this place, I've hated the weather, I've reveled in it, I've never wanted to read another word again, I've made mental lists of all the books I can't wait to get my hands on.  I've tried new foods, new friends, new sports, new TV shows, new ways of thinking, new ways of living.  I've grown so much more comfortable in being me.  I've gained confidence in my interactions with others-- both students and tutors.  I like me.

All this in the first half... what's next for the rest?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back in the UK

I’m slowly but surely going to catch up.

I left the blue skies of Monument on the 6th of January.  By the time we hit Castle Rock, the fog was thick and the flurries were coming.  Cleared up a little by the time we got to Denver, but I did get the surprise of not seeing my flight to Edmonton, Alberta anywhere on the screens.  Talked to the people at the desk to discover it’d been delayed by three hours, meaning I’d miss my connection to Heathrow.  After a long wait and a really nice man’s help, I had to dash to catch my flight to Houston.  Houston was completely non-event.  The plane to Heathrow, though, was AMAZING.  I ended up getting switched to a Continental flight, and they have got the hook-up.  Each seat has a touch screen TV with 300 FREE films to choose from, plus who knows how many TV shows.  I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Good Will Hunting, and The Bourne Ultimatum, plus three episodes of Arrested Development.  PLUS I had a nice chat with the girl next to me, who’s technically American but goes to a British boarding school.  She was cool, and we’re now Facebook friends.  Weird to think that I made a friend my sister’s age… I’ll try not to read too much into that.  The man on the other side of me was British and friendly.  I think he thought we were pretty silly, but whatevs.  Needless to say, I only slept for about thirty minutes.
            At one point I went to the back to stretch my legs and use the bathroom, and there was a guy nursing a drink and… lurking.  He was about 5’6”, potbellied, curly dark hair, stubble, approximate age: 39.  He was listening to his iPod and bobbling his head about.  When I walked up he gave me the ol’ once-over, and then took his free hand and tipped it to his mouth, miming taking a drink.  He accompanied this gesture with a little waggle of the eyebrows and a head-nod in my direction.
            “Huh?” I asked.
            “Drink?” he said.
            “Oh, uh, no. I’m fine, thanks.”
            “Why not?” he asked. Eyebrow waggle.
            “I’m underage.”
            He looked briefly terrified. “Oh really? How old?”
            “Well, you know, it’s, uh, law of the sea.”
            “This is an American plane.  It’s American law.  I’m underage.”
            “No! No! It’s law of the sea. We’re going to England, and it’s legal there.”
            He took a lingering look at my chest region, which was displaying the Regent’s Park crest, and asked, “So, uh, where do you go to school?”
            “Oxford.”  When, oh WHEN, would the bathroom be open? What was taking the occupant so long?  How was I going to escape?
            “Oxford, huh? They got a good debate team?”
            “I don’t know. Probably.”
            “Uh, it’s Oxford.”  I tried to let the elitism just drip off my vocal cords.
            “Yeah. Well, law of the sea. Look it up.”
            “Whatever.” I jiggled the door to the bathroom and it sprang open.  Cool.  I’d been chatted up for no reason other than blog fodder.