Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Beginning of the End

Thanksgiving sort of marked the beginning of the end of Michaelmas term here in Oxford, but before I get to that I need to rewind a little bit.

First of all, my parents flew in on Monday morning. I met up with them after my final creative writing tutorial. It was great to spend time with them and show them where I've been living these past couple months.

On Tuesday, we flew to Dublin and spent 2 nights there. There was lots to see, including a writers muesum. I bought a book of children's stories by Oscar Wilde. I had to read "The Importance of Being Earnest" for my Introductory Course and I really enjoyed it. We also saw the Trinity College, which was set up a lot like the colleges in Oxford, basically courtyard style with several old and very beautiful buildings. They don't really have campuses like we do in America. As a side note, Oxford University itself is actually made up of several smaller colleges which are spread out throughout the town. There's a student union a few blocks away from my house. It's sort of like the SLTC at Hendrix.

On Wednesday night, we went on the Dublin Ghostbus. It was definitely something interesting to do at night since the city tours stop around six, but it was a bit overdone. We were given a little bit of history about Bram Stoker, the guy who wrote Dracula. We were also told about how grave robbers used to bring freshly buried corpses to a doctor/anatomy professor who used to use them to teach his students about the human body.

We spend much of Thursday, Thanksgiving, in the Dublin airport. I'd like to go back to Dublin someday. It was absolutely freezing while we were there, but based on the postcards, the Irish coast looks absolutely beautiful in the summer.

I spent Thursday night with the OOSC gang. I missed most of Thanksgiving dinner, but I heard everyone had a good time. Lucky for me it was held at my house so even though I missed the food, I arrived just in time for the clean up.

Obviously the British don't celebrate American Thanksgiving, so after Halloween, it sort of went into Christmas mode here. Last night, Friday night, there was a "light up the town" parade. We saw part of it, mostly a couple marching bands, but it looked pretty fun. Lots of the local businesses had street vendors out giving away free samples or in some cases, reindeer antlers. I got a pair. They fit sort of like a Burger King crown, basically a band of thin cardboard that wraps around your head.

Today, we went to London. I took a lot of photos, all of which are now on facebook, in case anyone is interested. For those of you who are friends of my mom, I'm sure she'll be posting hers soon. Her internet access has been limited while she was here.

We saw all the usual places. I climbed up on the lions at Trafalgar Square. We also saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, and several other monuments. We breifly went through the Tower of London. They had an outdoor ice skating rink set up outside the tour, so you can guess what I did. Forget the history, bring on the sports. Just kidding. We did the educational bit first, then I got to play.

My parents have an early flight out tomorrow morning. Right now I'm playing catch up on my homework and tv watching that I missed this week. I'm mostly done with the latter since all my Thursday shows weren't aired becasue of Thanksgiving. I'll be glad when I can sit in front of a real TV again, though I'm sure the thrill of it won't last long.

As I said at the start of this blog, this week marks the beginning of the end. We have one more week of term, which means one more week until Karina and I leave for Venice. All I can say is GONDOLAS.

Tomorrow will be my last "Failed Novelist" meeting. That's the creative writing group I've been participating in while here. Last week's meeting was really fun because we had a guest speaker, Juliet E. McKenna. I was able to talk to her about the "agenting" process a bit after the meeting. I told her about the emails I'd received and she said it was all very encouraging. I'm hoping to write back to the agents soon. All the editting is done. I just need to add an epilogue.

On Tuesday, we have a farewell lunch at St. Peter's College, where we had our Introductory Course lectures. It will basically be the last time all of us will be together this term.

I also have my last track practices this week. I'll be competing in a meet after I get back from Venice. Fingers crossed I'll do well. Then I'm off to Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, and finally Sweden.

I'll be sure to update about my travels, so expect an update post Venice, so around December 7th.



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