Monday, 5 April 2010

G'day Chaps!

Hello blogosphere!

I first want to give my most humble apologies for being absent for so long. My life has been relatively hectic the past few months and I am only now having a moment to catch my breath.
Let me there is too much...let me sum up (yay to those who got that reference)

- My return to the states from being in England was a safe one. Not very happy though. I did manage to watch the Hangover on the plane and that seemed to be the only thing keeping me from sinking into a depression at leaving that wonderful country.

- Over my winter break my boyfriend flew up to visit, we road tripped it down to Orlando, and we spent two blissful weeks being reunited and acting like kids at Disney. Best winter break ever.

- Back at school, I was thrown into my classes and all 3 of them (low course load I know) are much more time consuming than I originally anticipated. O well. Writing and drawing and painting has taken up my semester. And I have no complaints.

- Spring break was spent down in Orlando again, where I visited Kevin. I had hoped to surprise him by arriving a day early, but guess who couldn't keep her text messages straight when finally meeting up with him? spoiled the surprise. But it was still amazing.

- My boyfriend, Kevin, is a wizard. I'm just going to take this opportunity and brag about him. Yeah, he's a wizard. He will be working at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Forbidden Journey ride and he's a Gryffindor. Best boyfriend ever? I like to think so.

- He took me to Universal Studios for the day and I got to see the Wizarding World. I was brought to tears. I know it may seem like I was overly emotional, and maybe I was, but after growing up on Harry Potter, this is a dream come true. I read the books when they first were published. I went to the midnight book openings. I went to the midnight premiers of movies. I was the one in 6th grade that was drawing sketches with one of my friends for our own Harry Potter park so we could send it in to whoever. And now it's actually happening. Yeah I cried. But that's because this is the culmination of my childhood coming to life. I'm pretty freakin excited.

- Yesterday was the 6th month anniversary of Kevin and I dating. I find that number unbelievable. It feels like yesterday, and yet is also feels like it's been this way forever. Odd how that happens.

- The wonderful Alex Herrington, an amazing friend from Oxford who lives in California, visited last week and this weekend. We showed her around the campus, had a bonfire down on the water, took her to our hole in the wall bar (the kind frequented by townies and with peanut shells on the floor), and all in all had an epic time. But as is usual with epic times, they must come to an end. And on Saturday morning, we saw the end of ours. But I am planning on visiting her this summer, and I have a couch to crash on.

And that brings me up to now, as I sit on my multi-colored comforter with laptop in lap (fitting), the sounds of lacrosse practice floating through my open window. Today was warm, hot even, and I am tired from sitting in the sun. We had class outside, which was great. Except I didn't get much shade, not so great.

Last night, while trying to fall asleep, I stumbled upon the blog Poor Girl Eats Well. It's amazing. This girl's financial troubles and love of good food led to this blog where she posts yummy, healthy, delicious and cheap recipies. I was in heaven. For being the starving college student soon to enter the real world, cheap and healthy are two things that never seem to go together. Check her out, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

And yes, the real world is just around the corner. I graduate on May 15, about 5 weeks from now, and I have no real plan for the future. It's terrifying. I want to move to Orlando to be with Kevin and my friends, and to continue to work at Disney, but don't have a place to move to or the money to do so. It's a predicament. I know things will work out somehow, but it's the waiting for things to work out that's killer. I am no stranger to being patient. The majority of my relationship has been long distance, so patience is something I am good at. It's just the fact that I have to be patient that gets annoying.

But spring has sprung and graduation is looming, which means work and weather will hopefully make the time go by fast. And before I know it I'll be wearing my cap and gown, walking across that stage, and getting that lovely piece of parchment that says "Woohoo! Now you're an adult!" For now, I will wait...

My wonderful wizard with the majestic Hogwarts castle in the background.

Me in front of the town of Hogsmeade, the only all wizarding town in the world.

So g'day chaps. Have a magical evening!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

I am currently hanging in the common room with the gang. It's quite fun. Nora and Tex are passing a stick back and forth and making up sayings for them, sortof like Who's Line is it Anyways? It's been going on for a long time. Finishing off the rest of the drinks and trying to amuse ourselves until the end. We all know we should be sleeping right now, but also don't want to say good night because that means it is that much closer to the final goodbye. Saying good bye is going to way to hard (that's also what she said). We have all had so much fun and become such close friends that saying good bye is going to be heartwrenching. I've already had to say farewell to some people, and it's been quite difficult. Those final parting words. That final hug. Knowing and yet trying to deny the fact that we probably will never see each other again. The CMRS'09 family...parting the last time...and yet trying to fight it. I really have no other words to say how I'm feeling.
I'm numb and conflicted.
I am ecstatic to go home and see my family and friends.
And yet, leaving here is going to be so hard.
I had the best day today. I went to all the sights I've been meaning to visit all in one day. All wearing my Gryffindor scarf so I could take Hogwarts pictures. Of which I have in abundance. Christ Church. Exetor. Merton. Magdalen. Duke Humphrey's Library/Hogwarts Library. The Bodleian. It was pretty much the best day ever. But it was also my last day.
Good news: so much epicness in final day.
Bad news: it's my final day.
And now it's over.
It's 1:30 am and I have to finish packing and eventually get some sleep.
I truly am numb to the fact that this is the final night hanging in the Common Room I will have, with it's strange fuzzy wallpaper that is red and gold and slightly Gryffindorian. Final night listening and partaking in very strange conversations. Final night as a member of the CMRS family.
I don't want to say goodbye. But have to.
And again, I'm super excited to go home, and yet don't want to leave. Until I'm home, see my family, sleep in my bed, and wake up still at home, it will not hit me that I'm truly gone.
So here's to the best semester of my life.
Here's to the friends I made while here.
Here's to the CMRS family.
Here's to the memories.
Here's to more great times to come in the separate paths we take.
Here's to looking back and remembering all the great times.
I really do love all of you guys, and thank you for making this term completely EPIC!!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

the end is nigh...

I bow down and humble myself in deep apologies for not updating in so long. I've gotten swept up in a tumult of papers, books, and weekend activities (of which there were pubs, bops, and dancing). So it's been quite busy recently. But now I have a spare moment, a rare occurrence, and knew I should update. So here I am...updating...enjoy.

Mood: quixotic
Music: New Moon Soundtack
Reading: Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock...or at least I will be reading that tonight

Last Saturday, the 14th, was the infamous Crossdressing Bop at St. Peter's College, which CMRS is affiliated with. We attended. And we awesome. I'm just gonna put that out there. And we were the best dressed manly girls ever. I was decked out in beard and chest hair. If anything, I looked like a sleaze. But that was pretty much the point. Between the crossdressing, the drinks, and the dancing with glow sticks on a dance floor that was like a space station with lasers, it was a pretty freaking awesome night. Here's the whole gang. Don't we look gorgeous.

Next up on the list is movies. Last week I obsessively watched Boondock Saints and listened to the soundtrack. I just couldn't get enough. But come on now...a movie about two very attractive Irish men who go around and kill the bad guys in pretty badass ways...thats a great movie. Sean Patrick Flanery. Norman Reedus. Willem Dafoe. Billy Connolly. What more do you need?

And then last Wednesday night, me and my friends went out to the Odean Theater and stood in line for the midnight premier of...wait for it...NEW MOON!!!!!
Yes...I am a Twilight fan. And you know what? I don't care if you judge, because I love it. Vampires. Werewolves. True love. Best thing ever. And the actors are attractive too.
Anyways, so we got there early, stood in line for over an hour, and got perfect seats!!! The movie that was supposed to start at 12:01 am Thursday didn't start until close to 12:30 because apparently Oxford students like to show up to midnight premiers way after midnight, dawdle in the lobby, by their twizzlers and coke, hit up the bathroom, and then meander to their seats. Come on people!!! It's a freakin midnight premier!!! Show some respect and be there on time!!
But I digress...the curtain went up, the lights went down, the cheers were shouted...and the picture was backwards. Groans. The lights came up the picture went off. A few minutes later, the picture came on like it was supposed to and went right to the movie. No trailers at premiers I suppose. The energy was tangible, and I was giddy with excitement. Sitting next to my fellow Twilight-fan (ALEX!! WOOHOO!!) we watched the movie, our eyes glued to the screen, giggling at all the right moments (like when Jacob takes his shirt off), and simply enjoying ourselves. It was AMAZING!!! I can't believe I saw it. In Oxford. At midnight. So much win!

This weekend we had a party celebrating Will's birthday. It was a masquerade, which made it that much more fun. Party at CMRS, then St. Peter's bar, Four Candles, and Gloucester Arms. Tons of fun wandering around Oxford dressed up and wearing masks. We weren't creepy at all I swear.
One night we watched Singing in the Rain and Alex and I danced the Moses Supposes dance, which was caught on film and now on facebook. It could be embarassing, but I just think it's awesome.
In the midst of all of these amazing memories, it hits me more and more just how little time we have left here. It's a bittersweet realization. Thanksgiving is in two days and that just amazes me. It's now the end of November. WTF? How did that get here so fast? It seems like only yesterday I was getting on the plane, and now I'm about to get back on one. Where did all the time go?
I have mixed feelings about going home. I'm excited to go home, to see my family, to sleep in my bed, to celebrate Christmas, bake cookies, decorate the tree...all that jazz. More likely than not get to visit my friends in Florida and finally see my boyfriend! So, you see, I have a lot waiting at home for me and a lot to look forward to.
But then there's another part of me that doesn't want to leave all this behind. Oxford has become home to me. I know the side streets. I'm a regular at the kebab stand and they always give me extra toppings because they like me. I look out over the top of Oxford every day and see the dome of the Radcliffe Camera. This place has become a part of me.
But it's not just that, it's the program itself that I don't want to leave. It the people and CMRS Autumn 2009 program. I will miss the city and all of its treasures, but I will miss the people the most. Our group.
Pub crawling. Hanging in the JCR. That's what she said jokes. Chips and cheese runs. Birdman. The game (which I just lost...and so did you!! Haha!!) Doing the Time Warp dance. Just talking and hopefully getting quoted on Tex from Last Night. Bonding with people who live on the opposite side of the United States, and it took being in another country to meet them.
It's starting to hit me just how much I've grown while here. I know who I am. Or at least a much better idea of who I am. The search never really ends. And it took being here, in a different country, in a challenging university system, with amazing people to fully embrace myself and what my life can become.
I know that the memories made here will be kept forever, and that the experience here will never truly be lost. There's pictures. There's facebook. There's these blogs. But the day to day little things that make this place and this experience what it is will have to be let go. But letting go is apart of the process. You have to let go to grow up. And who knows what else is coming for us down the road. As Bilbo says, "The road goes ever on and on". So even if this feels like the end, it really isn't. It's just a spot on the road that we all walked down together for a while. The fork in the road is fast approaching, but we don't have to say good bye just yet.
So here's to the last three weeks in Oxford!!! Let's make them EPIC!!!

stay classy, planet earth...

Monday, 9 November 2009

watch your feet

Mood: Dazed...I've been looking at the laptop screen for two days to write papers...

Music: Nightmare Before Christmas

Reading: Dante's Inferno

Nothing that exciting to tell. I've been writing papers for the past two days. All day Saturday I read an entire novel. All day Sunday I wrote a paper for it. All day today I wrote a paper about Frankenstein. Sundays and Mondays are my busy days, every week, because I'm oh so great at procrastinating...
Hey, the work gets done.

Saturday night met me with a real treat! FIREWORKS!!! Only one of my favorite things ever. Right outside my window. Over the rooftops of Oxford. It was pretty sweet. Extra celebrations for Guy Fawkes Day. Man, these Brits really like thwarting treason. If it means I get to see fireworks, then I don't care. They could be celebrating the invention of the scone for all I care. As long as I see fireworks I'm happy. Oh, and the tower you see silhouetted is the Bodleian Library. Only in Oxford...

Last night it was Rachel's birthday, so we went out to dinner. Jamie's Italian. As in Jamie Oliver from The Naked Chef. No, he doesn't cook naked...and to be honest I've never seen the show. But his food is delicious so he could if he wanted to. The napkin might have accidentally found it's way into my pocked before leaving. A fact I conveniently did not notice until I had already left. Now I have proof that I ate at one of Jamie's restaurants.

What my weekend was composed of...reading Frakenstein, getting my Ale Trail shirt, and Jamie Oliver's restaurant. Not a bad weekend actually, looking back.

The food was amazing. Service not so great. Music choice was just plain weird. Genie in a Bottle, Livin La Vida Loca, Ice Ice Baby, The Hustle, and Play that Funky Music were included in their playlist. Nostaligic for the 90s much? 90s themed parties have surfaced, making me feel really old. Granted it has been 10 years. Still weird though.

While at dinner, I was talking to Frank, who I also studied abroad with in Italy. We reminisced about our field trip to Florence...I know...they dragged us to Florence kicking and was abosolutely brutal. Our group had managed to find an Irish pub called JJ Cathedral. Sitting on their small balcony, sipping my drink called a Snakebite (cider, ale, and some fruity flavoring that makes it a dark pink color), and admiring the Duomo bathed in nightlight. Yeah. The pub was right across the square from the Duomo of Florence.
"If you don't watch your feet, there's no telling where you will be swept off to."
Wise words dear Bilbo...wise words.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Ocean and a Rock

Mood: Contemplative
Reading: Frankenstein
Music: Lisa Hannigan


"The building is farting!" - Me
"That's a long one...that's what she said" - Megan
we erupt in immature laughter

"Happy Christmas Harry!" in high falsetto voice from the guys walking in the hallway


I've had a pretty great weekend so far. Went out pubbin on Friday night. Ended up going to Chequers, The Turl, and the Royal Oak. Now the Royal Oak is a great pub. Low ceilings, lots of rooms that wander around, reasonable priced ale...its a hobbit pub. And because it was my 6th stop on the Ale Trail, I was able to get my tshirt. Huzzah! First epic win of the night.

When we got back to CMRS, I made myself a giant plate of spaghetti and it was delicious. Then there was a dance party in one of the guy's rooms dubbed the "Love Shack". More than 10 people crammed into a small room, jamming out to Billy Jean, Don't Stop Believing, Sweet Home Alabama, and Bohemian Rhapsody makes for a great time, I don't care who you are. Once I got back in the common room, there was yet another jam session, this time of Floggin Molly. The musical choices of the night were a WIN.

On Saturday, the Ashmolean museum reopened after having been closed rennovations and additions. I have not yet gone to it, but I look forward to later in the week. I've been there before and you will always find something new and awesome to gawk at. With the new additions, I know it will be an adventure to wander among the rooms and hallways. Night at the Museum anyone? That would be awesome. Of course last time I was there they were fresh out of mystical amulets that allowed inanimate objects to come to life. Darn.

Instead, I spent all day inside reading An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay. It's a great book. A story of an artist and her life struggling through marriage, parenthood, love, personal accomplishment, and her art. Beautifully written and full of rich imagery.

Now, as much as all of that sounds great, the best part of my weekend was getting to talk to my boyfriend for an hour and a half last night. Granted, that meant I was up way late, but I didn't mind. Talking to him is well worth the lack of sleep I get. I'm off to actually do some work. My room is never as clean or my iTunes as loud as when I have a paper to write. Over the years I've gotten quite good at procrastinating. Being in Oxford is no different.

Until then...stay classy Planet Earth

"Thoughts of you warm my bones. I'm on my way, I'm nearly home. Let's get lost. Me and you. An ocean and a rock is nothing to me." ~Lisa Hannigan, Ocean and a Rock

Friday, 6 November 2009

Ideas are bulletproof...

Everyone who hasn't needs to see V for Vendetta...It's a MUST!!!

Mood: Tired but ready to read
Reading: Frankenstein
Music: the ambience of Oxford
New favorite quotes:
A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having! - V
Ideas are bulletproof... - V

The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. - V

Today, I realized Microsoft Words puts the red squiggley line under "Ravenclaw", "Hufflepuff", and "Slytherin"...but not "Gryffindor". 100 points to Gryffindor. MLIA.

Now on to the blog portion.

Yesterday was the 5th of November, a very important holiday in the United Kingdom, because it celebrates the preservation of the kingdom and is really just another excuse to raise your glasses and cheer "God Save the Queen!". My friends and I decided to take a trip down to Cowley Road, a bit outside of Oxford...about a 20 minute walk...because that was where the celebrations were being held. Fireworks were set off earlier in the evening, but due to our viewing of V for Vendetta we missed them. I did manage to see one go off, but it wasn't really that impressive. We threw poppers to try and make our own celebratory noises. Luckily we didn't draw too much attention to ourselves because Alex was carrying a pocket knife...which in this country is illegal...woops.

Anyways, the pub and venturing there and back was epic times. Lots of laughing and trying not to get hit by busses. We succeeded. Oh, and Alex Bird Man-ed Frank. Which he refused to do. Lame.
We ended up at Hobgoblin Pub, home to the delicious Hobgoblin brewery. I ended up getting an ale called Fireside which was very good. And I got my Oxford Ale Trail map stamped. Now for those of you who aren't familiar with this, the Oxford Ale Trail is composed of 19 pubs throughout Oxford. It's sponsered by Brakespeare Bitter and Brakespeare Oxford Gold beers. If you get one of those at an affiliated pub, you get a stamp. With 6 stamps, you get a free tshirt. And with all the stamps you get a free pint. I prefer the shirt, because I can keep that and show it off. Trying to bring back a pint of beer is a little bit more difficult. Pint glasses are easy. Pints of beer not so much. I've got 3 stamps so far. So by the end of this weekend, I will have my shirt. Win.

On our return from Hobgoblin, we stopped and got chips and cheese from one of the stands. This greasy mess of food is sent directly to us mortals from the gods above. Yes, it's a heart attack in a styrofoam box...but its cheesy crispy goodness is well worth the health risks.
We brought our food back to the common room and proceeded to watch Across the Universe. All of us were still tipsy so it made for a trippy experience. And everyone sang...which just made it fun.

Afterwards, I took it upon myself to fulfill the duty of educating a friend on the classic video "I'm On a Boat" as well as "Jizzed in my Pants" because she had seen neither.
All in all I'd say it was a very successful night.
Oh, and apparently some other people in the program who were out last night met the actor who plays Dean Thomas from the Harry Potter movies. He goes to one of the colleges here in Oxford. 1) I really do go to Hogwarts 2) I can't believe I wasn't there!!!!!
Now off to read about poor wretched monsters in Gothic novels.

Until later...Jen

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Good evening star shine!

Well world...good evening.

I have broken down and decided to join the millions who write thier narratives in the blog-o-sphere. Considering I have notions of becoming a writer some day, I figured this would be good practice. As well as kepping those at home up to date on my latest adventures.

As most of you know, I am currently studying abroad in England. Oxford to be precise. The land of tea, pub food, funny phone booths, and Hogwarts.

Yes, I go to Hogwarts.

Not officially, but pretty much.

I walk around the streets of Oxford, admiring the architecture and the history. I'll find myself walking past a college and taking a casual glance, only to stop and stare because there's a bit of that wizarding school. Most of these connections reside only in my whimsical imagination...but I have been to quite a few filming locations for the Harry Potter movies. Such as Christ Church, the Bodleian Library, and the Divinity School of the Bodleian. It's all pretty fantastic.

Me standing on the steps that lead up to Hogwarts...well...not really. It's Christ Church, but still...pretty awesome.
This is also where they brought the body of Moaning Murtle down in The Chamber of Secrets...when Tom Riddle was kinda cute. Too bad he ended up being a manical muderer. Oh well.
As to my other adventures, I'm about to partake in one now. In a few minutes I will wander up to the JCR (Junior Common Room) to watch V for Vendetta with my CMRS (Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies) compatriots. Today is, in fact, Guy Fawkes day. I don't know all of the history, but I do know it is also called the Gunpowder Plot and if it had succeeded, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben would not be standing today. So yay for stopping treasonous activities and large explosions!

Anyways, we're watching the movie and then heading out to a pub for a celebratory drink.

Until later...

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November