Archive for the ‘oxford’ Category

Rockin Oxford Lyra-style

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

So after a week in Oxford, I can say I feel considerably smarter. And yes, I will admit everytime I punched in the door code to get into the college, I’d be smug about it. We got our own dorm rooms at Univ, arguably Oxford’s oldest college (there’s 39 of them total). Since they want to maintain the historical integrity of the building, the dorms rooms are stuck wherever you can fit them—as a result, some kids got hobbit holes with low ceilings and others got rooms that looked like hotel suites with bay windows. I was lucky enough to get a room in the corner overlooking the library and a little quad. I had a couch in my room also, with a sink and a huuuge desk. Didn’t bring my laptop to get the full studious-collegiate-you-know-Oxford-experience. We were served breakfast and lunch everyday in the Great Hall, which looks like the exact one from Harry Potter. There were portraits of scary old men glaring at you as you ate, but nothing could diminish from the taste of British bacon.

And of course another bucket list-er was achieved!

13. Punt on the river.

For all of you that don’t know, punting is basically steering a flat rickety boat with a long pole—that’s it. No oars and it tips easier than a canoe. I volunteered to start us off! Granted, I secured the lead by crashing into other people’s boats but hey, what can you do right?

Ramming speeeeed!

 

Through the treeees!

The most rewarding part of the day was not falling out of the boat! Switching punters was the challenging part…as the boat sits extremely close to the water and rocks with the slightest shift in weight.

Oxford was an amazing little slice of a city filled with little shops that cater to the students—a four level bookstore, cafes with cheap fare, collegiate wear and sketchy clubs. There was a burrito place that played American music–don’t judge me, burrito withdrawal is a serious problem. We did visit The Eagle and the Child, a pub that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien used to frequent. I didn’t exactly catch inspiration to start writing my papers or anything….but it was a good effort, right? We also saw the famous shrunken heads at the Pitts River Museum! Incredibly creepy but AWESOME.

View from St. Mary's bell tower...3 pounds to climb it. Worth the views!

The highlight of the tourist-y things we did….yes, get ready for it….I climbed the Harry Potter staircase. Yessir.

For those of you that are not Harry Potter fans. First of all, you need to evaluate the direction your life is going. Second of all, this is the staircase that the first-years waited on to be sorted. Remember when Draco first introduces himself to Harry? The very same. It’s in Christ Church, which is a college in Oxford as well as an actual church. We weren’t allowed to walk on the lawns and the “helpers”/tour guides wore bowler hats and cute little suits.

The last night of Oxford was lovely. We were served a super fancy dinner in the Great Hall with our teachers, (truffle soup to start us off with!!), dressed “smart” and played pool with the Brits in the Univ bar afterwards.

Perfect homework conditions---tea and a breeze

But no, English weather is terrible right?

In other words, Oxford was a successful mini-trip in the grand scheme of my big trip. I’d definitely be interested in going back, and highly recommend it!

A Week in Oxford

Monday, August 15th, 2011

From September 17-23, my program is taking me to Oxford University where our classes will be taught there for a week. Up on the menu:

-Served breakfast and lunch in the Great Hall (Harry Potter-induced giggle. Yes, THE Great Hall where they eat breakfast in the movies. The very same. Mhmm.)

-Guided tours of the city

-Accommodations in the dorms

-A formal dinner with the faculty

-Punting on the Isis River (think gondola boats in Venice)

-Visit to Bleinheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill was born (pictured to the right)

 

 

But something that really catches my eye more than any of the others is FULL access to the infamous Bodleian Library. Uh huh. It’s pretty much like the moment where the Beast unveils the insane library as a present to Beauty.

    And apparently, the library serves as the filming location for the Harry Potter movies (the Hogwarts library and the hospital wing). To an English major, it’s a double whammy. Not to mention, Philip Pullman’s (an Oxford grad) Dark Materials series takes place in Oxford. Who knows, maybe Oxford will inspire me to write the next Pullman-esque best-seller series! I don’t even think I’ll know what to do with myself. Probably stare and drool.

And a formal dinner with the faculty? Sometimes I wonder how I managed to finagle a spot into this program. Rubbing elbows with some of the most distinguished faculty in the world? Actually taking classes in one of the most prestigious universities worldwide? Sigh. I’ll be sure to have people handy to revive me when I inevitably faint.