Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Last Week of Michaelmas Term

Well as I was sitting at Jojo and Maura's house waiting for my laundry to finish (which should be in 2 hours and I began at 1... Thanks Britain) I realized I should write a blog post before going off next week. But first here is some exciting news about what happened to me yesterday! I met Lucy Wooding, a historian here at Oxford who wrote a very well-received biography on Henry VIII. I read it and wrote a critical paper on the book. She presented a psychological perspective on Henry's life and it was very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Therefore, it was very exciting for me to meet her for coffee. We discussed her interests and my interests and she gave me a few pointers. It was really great.

This is indeed the last week of the Michaelmas Term and it is truly hard to believe that the end of the first term is finally here. I am just so ready for Christmas and to go home. However, before that can happen I must finish an essay on Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, which is due Friday. Speaking of... I really should start reading...

But first, I will tell you all about my Italy plans. I am going to Italy with my two friends, Maura and Melody. We are leaving this Sunday (the 6th) at 1am. Yep you heard me right. 1 o'clock in the morning! It is going to be awful. We will be catching the bus to get to Stansted airport and then get on a 6:10 flight to ROme! We should get in about 9:45 and then go to the hostel to drop off some of our stuff. We are staying in Rome for three days and leaving on the 9th to go to Florence for the night. After seeing many sights and museums we will travel to Venice on the 10th to stay 2 days. On Saturday we will leave for London on a 4:00(pm) flight to Gatwick. Then I will promptly get on a bus to Oxford where I will get my big bag and stay the night at my flat.

I leave for the USA on the 13th. My flight leaves at 10am, meaning I am going to have to catch a 5am bus. Hooray.... I fly from Heathrow to Chicago and then have to endure a 7 hour layover if I can't manage to get on an earlier flight. I should arrive in Wichita about 9:45pm (your time). That is obviously going to be one exhausting day.

However, I must be off to read! Details of my Italy trip will be revealed either in the Chicago airport or once I get home!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Ok, well it isn't actually beginning to look a lot like Christmas... In fact, it basically looks the same as it did a month ago. It's just rainy rainy rainy. Although, Christmas decorations are going up in the streets so that is very fun! I love love love Christmas. I have already begun listening to Christmas music. I suppose it is because I am so ready to go home and see my family. I miss home so so much. I miss squeezing my cats and holding them in my arms just to annoy them. I miss eating food that was already prepared for me without having to pay for it. I miss driving. I miss Target. I miss vegging out and watching the news or other shows. I guess I just miss America, which is an odd concept for me.

Last night I went with Kyle and Jojo to an event called "A Christmas Cracker" at the Oxford Union, which was a lot of fun. We drank mulled wine, ate mince pies which are a fabulous macédoine of sweet fruits, and decorated the Christmas tree! Oh it was so lovely. It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit. Oh additionally, yesterday I went Christmas shopping! I won't tell you what I bought because it would ruin the surprise, but the gifts are REALLY great! I love Christmas!
Oh also, last week I saw and met Diane von Furstenberg! If you don't know who she is, then by golly wikipedia her! She told us about her life and how she was persistent in obtaining clients. She wore a short dress with black hose and her face looked worn from time and the sun. Her lightened chestnut hair bushed out from her face in a frizzy mess, which overwhelmed her face and matched her skin. She was an interesting speaker and I got a picture with her! I will post it once Bernice puts it up on facebook.

This week is 7th week and I only have 3 more papers to write before I leave. It is crazy to imagine that this term is almost already over. We are sort of celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday at Jojo's house, so that will be nice. I'm just looking forward to homecooking with American foods at home!!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Week 6 of the Michaelmas Term:

Alright! So I've heard that everyone from the Agape Sunday School class is reading this and curious about boy updates, so here goes: Well, yes, Dave is out of the picture. I realized he was not the one for me and felt friendship was more prudent. Therefore, I moved on and now am sort of dating this guy named Omar. He goes to the same college here at Oxford with my friend Melody. He is very nice so we'll see how it goes. I'm just looking for people to hang out with so I try to keep it low key.

Now, moving on! What has happened this past week? Hm... We went and saw Twelfth Night performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-Upon-Avon. It was really great and fun so I am glad we went. I was pretty busy last week because I had 2 papers to write. I wrote on the Gospel of Luke and Edward VI, son of Henry VIII.

I also went to this event at the Oxford Union, a WOmen in Debating meeting where there was complimentary wine, cheese, and champagne. It was really lovely. I met some really nice girls and got to have some delicious cheese and champagne. That was on Thursday night.

Friday, the Cambridge kids came to Oxford and we all just hung out together! It was really great seeing them. We went on a pub crawl (don't worry I didn't get intoxicated) with some Brits. Saturday, Claire and Ally came to hang out with me and we all went out to the Purple Turtle. It was so great to see everyone. Truly refreshing.

I am excited for the next two terms because of the new kids coming. Apparently some girls are going to be placed in my house, hopefully ending my struggle to keep the house tidy.  Also, I'm excited because in less than 3 weeks I will be in Italy! My friends, Maura, Melody, and I are going to traipse through Italy, stopping at Rome, then moving on to Florence, and finally Venice. We will be following the Rick Steve's guide and spend a total of 6 days there! It will be glorious.

This week I only have one paper to write, so that makes it a much easier week. I may go visit the Ashmolean Museum, which would be very fun. Also, Friday is Corey's birthday and we are going to go out for that. A fun and easy week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The More You Know, the More You Know How Little You Know

I realized that it has been a while since I have written, so here goes for you devoted fans. Last week my mother came and it was so so so great. Here's a rundown of how the week went:

Friday (10/30) - I wake up excited that morning anticipating my mother's arrival to only find an email from her that reports the delay of her flight. Actually, her flight was cancelled and then rescheduled. You see, she was supposed to get in around 10 that night so I was all set to go get her after going to Formal Hall Dinner with Melody. Unfortunately, her flight was delayed until 6:30 saturday morning. I was completely put out. This meant I would have to wake up at 4:45am so I could catch a bus to meet her at Heathrow. However, I knew it would be worth it, of course.

Saturday (10/31) - I wake up at 4:45am after twisting and turning that night due to excitement and me continually pondering which weapon would be most effective against an assailant at 5am in Oxford. I leave the house by 5 and begin to walk to Gloucester Green (the bus stop). I expected to see very few people out at that time, assuming that all of the drunks and creeps would be in bed. However, I was surprised by seeing a group of people coming out of the Purple Turtle Club and another group trying to get a taxi. I ride the bus and arrive at Heathrow at 6:30am. One funny aspect of my ride was that the bus had wireless internet so I talked to my dad on skype as I rode. I find my way to terminal 3 and find a spot to wait, while keeping an eye on the flight arrivals information. I notice that by 7am the board still hasn't reported my mother's plane's arrival. I began to worry and finally went up to the information counter. After a highly confusing talk with a quick-speaking British man, I discovered that my mother's flight had been diverted to Shannon, Ireland and estimated to arrive in London around 8:20am. Of course this happens. Got to love air travel. In short, my mother's plane finally arrived by 8:50 and I met her around 9:30. It was so nice to hug her and see her again. A mother's hug is so healing. We travel back to Oxford, clean up at my house, and then I take her on a brief tour of Oxford. Exhausted by 4:30, we go to The Four Candles Pub and eat dinner and go home. My mom falls asleep by 7pm and I go out for Halloween. I dressed as Tom Cruise from Risky Business. No Brits seemed to understand it.

Sunday (11/1) - This day is a bit of a blur to me. I remember that my mother got sick that morning but thankfully she began to feel better by the afternoon. Also I recall that we went on a walk around my neighborhood. All other aspects about that day seem hazy, so you must forgive me.

Monday (11/2) - This was our mass shopping day in Oxford. We went to the Warner's house to hear a lecture on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestly, which was the play we were going to see on Thursday. Then we shopped our little hearts out. We really didn't buy anything, I just showed her all of my favorite shops. My mom told me that she realizes she shouldn't buy clothes for me. Instead she should buy me food because she thinks I'm starving here. That night we went to Jamie's Italian Restaurant and had pasta. It was delicious, but we got small portions. We decided to treat ourselves on the way home with "Cheesy Chips" or french fries covered in cheese from a kebab stand. Delicious.

Tuesday (11/3) - This was my day to write an essay so that took up most of my time. It rained some of the day so my mom didn't go out much. She visited the Modern Art Museum and walked around Christ Church Meadows. I think this was also the day that we got tea at a cute little restaurant. Then we went out to Jamie's again and got steaks. Again it was delicious.

Wednesday (11/4) - THis was the eventful day. we got up at 7:30 to get on a bus to London. After many delays, we arrived by 11 and promptly went to the Tate Modern art museum. It was interesting, I suppose, but not my type of art. After there we went to the Tate Britain and viewed some more art, which was a bit more interesting. After a snack we went on to the Covent Garden area and shopped at H&M. It was completely divine. I love H&M. We used the rest of our time before the theatre to go to the National Portrait Gallery (which was amazing) and ate dinner at a italian restaurant. As a treat we stopped at this cupcake cafe and got a cupcake, coffee, and hot chocolate. As we sat outside letting time pass and enjoying our time together, I noticed a man I recognized. It was Alan Rickman!!!! I couldn't believe it. I just stared. It was amazing. We saw "An Inspector Calls" and really enjoyed it. After a long day, we finally arrived home to the comfort of our beds.

Thursday (11/5) - I worked on my essay for a bit and then we went to the Natural History Museum, then enjoyed a good cup of tea in Marks and Spencer (a grocery store). Realizing we were worn out from the day before, we went home and relaxed until going to Curry Thursdays at The Crown and the Oxford Union debate on Conceptual Art. A thoroughly lovely day.

Friday (11/5) - We woke up early so my mom would make it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I sent her off on the 8am bus with much sadness in my heart. Thankfully neither of us cried, which made the parting easier.

That weekend I went to Cambridge and visited my friends there. I had a lovely time. We just hung out on Friday and went punting (like riding in gondolas sort of). It was great fun. I needed to see my friends and was rejuvenated after visiting them.

I'm getting tired now. It is 1:20am. I will explain my title though. I've recently come to the realization that I wish I knew more than I know. But then it feels like the more you know, the more you know how little you know. But, I have determined that these next few years I am going to spend my time learning by traveling, seeing sights, and in classes. However, when my life is more settled and I am not forced to read all the time, I want to read to widen my base of knowledge. Sounds good, right?

I will try writing again soon. This weekend the Cambridge kids are coming to visit so I am very excited. Something fun to look forward to!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christmas Already?

All right. So I'm sure some of you are already confused by my title, but have no fear, I shall promptly explain. One thing you may not think of as an American is the fact that we have so many (commercialized) holidays. In almost 2 months we have 3 holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And of course there are decorations you MUST buy for each one. Here there aren't that many holidays. Sure, the candy stores are sort of playing up the whole "Halloween" deal, but that's it. Well except for the masses of Christmas gift sets that are pushing their way to the front of the shelves. When you walk down High Street or Broad Street you see signs in the windows of restaurants saying "Don't forget to book your Christmas party here!" Even Pizza Hut has that in its window. It is a bit confusing. Does no one have a family Christmas dinner like the good old days? Or is it just "a British thing"? Yet another oddity of the English people.

One thing that was very exciting was that my OOSC group went on an excursion to Blenheim Palace last Saturday, which is just north of Oxford. It began the trip raining, which befitted the graveyard of Winston Churchill and the Dukes of Marlborough. Thankfully by the mid-afternoon the clouds dissipated and the sun shone through. The palace is beautiful and its grounds were reminiscent of Versailles. That was a very fun excursion to go on.

I wrote a paper on Monday for my Tuesday tutorial with Dr. Kreitzer on the New Testament. That was enjoyable but sometimes I feel like a big idiot during our discussions because I'm not super familiar with the Bible. I just know bits and pieces. I'm going to have to Sparknote it. However, he seemed to enjoy my paper, so that was nice. Now I am working on a paper for my Tudors tutorial with Dr. John Jackson on Henry VIII. It is very interesting; however, I am never very motivated to write. It is due on Friday, so thankfully I have some time.

Speaking of Friday, my mother is coming to Oxford on Friday!! I am super super pumped for that. It will be nice to see a face from the States, especially one I love so much. I feel bad for my father for having to stay at home and bring in the bacon. Thankfully, I will be seeing him in less than 2 months. Today we cleaned up the house for her stay. The place was a wreck. But after Chris cleans the den and Brent cleans the guest bedroom, it all should look decent. And hopefully it stays that way. Below is a picture of the pots and pans in the kitchen before being washed and after being consolidated to the sink by your's truly.

Yesterday was very fun because I hung out with melody and we got to have some good girl time. I also met some cool British people that go to Regent's Park. Then after I went to the Oxford union and had drinks and dialogue with Dr. Michael Oppenheimer! It's a bit of a long story of the circumstances, but I really enjoyed it. Dr. Oppenheimer is a leading environmentalist, teaches at Princeton, and was on Obama's council on the environment during his campaign. He was a fascinating and likeable man.

Well that's all for now. I shall write soonish - as in next week. Have a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just for you! (Emma)

Alright, time for my next post! I am absolutely having a blast here still. Although, as I told my parents today, I wish England was in Kansas. Or that my parents and house and everything was here. I am such a homebody. I love it here so much, but I miss the comfort of home. I miss having food readily available, I miss my cats and my bed, I miss my parents, I miss going places I am familiar with, I miss seeing people I've known for years, I really do miss home. But then I just love it here. I love the trees. God they are gorgeous. They are so tall and big and their shade covers so much ground! They are so different from the hardly 20 year old Kansas trees. I love love love Christ Church Meadow. It really is fabulous. AND it is right across the street from my house, so very convenient!!! I hate the cobblestones here. They make me trip all the time because I stub my toes or just fall over. I like how the temperature is fairly steady. None of the crazy bipolar temperatures in Missouri. Thank goodness. I just wear a jacket all day! I love Strongbow here. Strongbow is so delicious. I love the old buildings. They are so full of history and you can tell that they have been well-used for years. Unlike buildings in Kansas that are all from the 20th century or younger.

I decided that the British should get those moving sidewalks that they have in airports so you could go from point A to point B quicker. However, there is a small hiccup to this plan: the British cannot stick to one side of the pavement!! So therefore it would make walking on moving sidewalks very dangerous. People would be ducking and weaving but the quickness of the motor would cause many collisions I feel. The British really need to work on this.

Also, I hate to admit this, but I miss 24-hour Walmarts! Ugh. The stores close so early and it is just terrible. You never can get what you want or need on a sunday so forget about it.

I had my first encounter with socialized medicine last week. I found out my GP used to live in my house!! Weird, right? But she was very nice and took my blood to check if I have Glandular Fever. But I didn't get a good diagnosis. Oh well. I had my second encounter with socialized medicine on Friday night when a British creeper who randomly got with the group and is one of those people that no one really is friends with got super drunk and fell against a wall and fell unconscious. So my British friends rang a ambulance and he got taken off. That was quite interesting.

I wrote my second and third papers last week and that was a lot of fun.... not. Well I do know a lot more about Mark (sort of) and King Henry VII. So that was nice. My professor really liked my King Henry VII paper so that is pretty great. He was very complimentary, which is quite different from the Jewell professors who always find something wrong with my papers. It is a nice change.

I'm sure I will write more later. I've put up some more pictures so you can go to this link. Crist Church Meadow
Here are two pictures from the album! xx (Ask me later about that; it's just for you, Emma!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nought Week

So this week has been what professors call Nought Week and students call Fresher's Week. This is the week before classes start and when all the students have come back to school. I will say I am enjoying students being here in Oxford. I really do get tired of the townies hanging around creeping. I had to write a 4000 word essay for my introductory seminar with Dr. Francis Warner and I had to turn it in on Thursday. I wrote an essay on Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. I laid out the reasons why Marlowe had anti-Catholic scenes in the play by giving an overview of English politics at the time (especially having to do with religion), discussed Christopher Marlowe's life, the controversy over the play, and then did a detailed look at two scenes from the play that are the most anti-Catholic. It was very interesting, but I am glad it is over. I have to write two essays for next week. I have one due on Tuesday where I will be discussing how Mark created a new genre of literature in Biblical times. My other essay is due on Friday where I will be doing a brief history of King Henry VII. I just am busy busy busy!

Tomorrow I am auditioning for a choir, St. Michaels at NorthGate. What's nice is that it pays about 15 quid per performance. So I have to sing two songs for my audition and then sightread. We'll see how it goes.
Last night I sat back and watched lots of drama unfold and it was quite entertaining. I do rather enjoy watching drama, but I hate being in the drama. Speaking of drama, we went and say "Dial M for Murder" at the Oxford Playhouse on Wednesday and that was a lot of fun. The play was great and it was just amazing to see a play done with only 5 actors. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tomorrow my friends and I are going to Formal Hall with some University College kids we know. I am excited for a free, good meal. Food is so expensive here. We have to dress up very nicely and the boys must wear suits or tuxedos. It should be a lot of fun. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Days of Adventure and Nights of Revelry!

So this is officially my third week here in Oxford and I truly am loving it. I have found the British to be a very odd group of people. The guys are very introverted, even at night clubs, until about 2am when they have had enough liquid courage to manage to walk up to a girl. Also at clubs they often just stand around talking on the dance floor rather than dancing. I find it quite odd. They open shops rather late in the morning and almost all stores are closed by 5:00pm. McDonalds sucks here because they change their menu so you can't buy from the value menu at 3am. Additionally, they have no sense of lanes. By this I mean that when americans are walking on the sidewalk, usually they go right while people going the opposite direction go left. The British have no understanding of this concept. They just tend to bob and weave, causing you to nearly crash into them. It is quite ridiculous. This reminds me of another oddity of the British or maybe just people not from the Midwest. When you enter a shop here in England you are never greeted by the salespeople or asked if you need any help. I find this so weird and almost rude because I am so used to having salespeople hover over me the second I step in a store. Silly, silly Britons.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day for we are going to Stratford-Upon-Avon and seeing The Winter's Tale at a theatre there in Stratford. It should be quite enjoyable. However, we are leaving at 8:45 so it is rather early. I'll upload the pictures from the excursion when I next get the chance.

Remember to check out my pictures at

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Great Oxford Adventure

Well, here I am! I have officially been in Oxford for a week! I will admit the transition was hard the first day with the culmination of not sleeping, hardly eating, and going through parent withdrawal, but I made it through. I absolutely love all of my housemates and the kids in the program. They are super great and fun. They definitely keep me busy. We have gone to Sainsbury's (the grocery store) nearly everyday and it is a little crazy. Fortunately I have found a meal that I really like, Chicken kiev. Also we found The Mission, a Chipotle wannabe that tastes delicious. I will say that my legs are almost always tired at the end of the day because of all of the walking that we do. I swear I think we walk at least 3 miles a day, if not more.

On Friday we went to Hampton Court and it was pretty fun. I loved seeing the history and walking through the vast gardens. We also saw King Henry VIII! He said "Ladies" to us as we watched him walk by. It was really great. The tapestries at the palace were unbelievable. They are enormous and made with gold and silver thread. Apparently they cost more than a warship.

On Wednesday we are going to the Globe Theatre to see As You Like It, a play by Shakespeare. That should be super interesting. I will let you know how it goes. Today I vacuumed so my mother should be very proud of me. Now I'm off to make some dinner!

Here is a link to my pictures on facebook so you can keep up!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Official Countdown: 4 days, 10 hours, 29 minutes and 5 seconds

After a grueling 10 hour drive back from Madison, WI, I have finally arrived home! I just spent the last 5ish days driving to Madison and hanging out with my brother and driving back. I will admit the time I spent there was lovely. Other than rain showers on the way up and back, the weather was ideal. We got to meet Brad's cat, Sampson, for the first time and boy was he adorable. He is so friendly and wants a ton of attention, unlike my two boys, Lewis and Clark. The only downside to Sammy is that he meows constantly, in manner that says "I have important things to say and I will be heard!" But I told Brad it was good for him to be on the receiving end of pestering for a change.

The first day up there my parents and I went on a tour of Brad's workplace with my brother leading the group in a manner that would invoke jealousy in the Beefeater tour guides of London Tower. Haha, ok I'm kidding. But our tour proved very interesting. We walked for nearly 10 miles to tour the whole facility in Verona, WI. He works for Epic, a company that digitalizes medical records. The company is set on 500 acres of land with 3 or 4 different "campuses." The buildings are truly spectacular. It felt like we were at a huge resort because of the Frank Lloyd Wright style structures that were surrounded by gorgeous gardens and landscaping. Not only this, but inside each of the buildings was a plethora of art with areas all set in themes. They have conference rooms thematically decorated, such as a futuristic, airforce control room, and an ice cave. It was remarkable. You could definitely see a womanly touch in the decorations thanks to the CEO. I'll load a few pictures on so you can see some of it.

We went shopping later on, which occurred frequently the rest of the trip. I tried to restrain myself, but I couldn't resist a beautiful and fitted ruffle front shirt from H&M. We stood at Best Buy and the AT&T store for quite a while waiting on Brad to choose his new phone. (He eventually chose the iPhone 3G 16GB after consulting me, my parents, coworkers, Aunt Peggy, and multiple workers at both stores.)

On Sunday we visited Milwaukee and were greatly surprised by the appearance of the town. I swear the bit by Lake Michigan looked nearly identical to the Michigan coast in Chicago. It became clear that this is a lively town with a bustling college-aged community, but also a very active middle-aged population as we drove down the beach-front road and saw the residents out on the beach and in the parks. There also are mansions along the beach that were very fun to look at and imagine that we lived there. Milwaukee was such fun to visit.

Last night I was able to enjoy one of my favorite things in the whole world: a hot tub. The hotel had one and so the family and I took the opportunity to soak our weary limbs before playing two robust rounds of Rummikub. It was nice to have this downtime to truly enjoy spending time with my family. It definitely made me grateful for the people in it.

Looking forward to my week ahead, I know I will be dreadfully busy. My mom has requested that I do all my work on Thursday while she is at work so we can have all day to hang out tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. This might be difficult because I have to pack, clean my car & room, confirm my flight, read a 400 page book on Henry VIII, and retrieve my laptop from Best Buy; but I shall try.

I leave Sunday at 10:39am from the Wichita airport and should get into the UK around 6:20am UK time or 12:20am Central Time. I need to try to sleep on the flight over or I will be super exhausted Monday.

But now I should go to sleep. I shall leave you with some sound advice that is applicable to all situations if you think hard enough: Don't Panic!

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Very First Post!

Alright! This is my first post of my blog and I'm super excited that I finally have it set up. To be quite frank, I'm probably going to suck as a blogger. I never was very good at keeping journals. I just bought them because they were pretty. At this moment I don't have much to talk about... besides my crazy fun week at Jewell with my friends and sisters and the anticipation I feel for going overseas.

I was really excited to find out what house I am living in! I'm living in Oxford with Kyle Reinert and 3 other students. Apparently Kyle wants us to get a house cat, but I'm not sure how well that is really going to work out. Haha. I can't say I'm particularly nervous to go overseas. It will be a whole bunch of fun. I just know it will be hard though emotionally. In fact, it already is.

Today/Yesterday (not sure which since it technically is now Monday) I left all of my Jewell friends after spending nearly a week hanging out with them. That was very difficult because it is so hard to imagine that I won't most of them until next summer! It is completely crazy. Additionally, I have become closer to my parents this summer, so it will be hard leaving them. I just need to remember that really I'm going to see them about as often as I would if I was at Jewell.

Anyways, I must go to sleep. But I will leave you with a list of my history tutorials for this trimester.

  • The New Testament
  • The Tudors