Trinity students have the life-changing opportunity to study abroad through
the College’s semesters in Spain, Ecuador, South Korea, and Nicaragua.
Other opportunities exist through partner organizations.

Marissa De Haan ’10 of Hanford, California, is currently studying in
Oxford, England. Visit often to see what a day in the life of a Trinity study
abroad student is like…

February | March | April

January Journal

The Crick: Home-Away-from-Home
Crick House in UK9 January 2009
British Word of the Day: queue - a standing line - eg: "Please form a queue behind the counter."

I've landed, if you couldn't tell.

We made about four circles 'round a city name Something-Upon-Something (the exact name escapes me) and then finally landed in London/Heathrow.

From there I took a rather EXPENSIVE coach to Oxford and then took a taxi to Crick Road. This will be home for the next 3 months. The bathroom smells like fresh paint and there seems to be an endless supply of tea. What kind of island is this?

Because of impending jet lag, many girls at The Crick went for a walk with a girl in her second semester. It was cold, brisk, invigorating (yes, all that) and within minutes, I couldn't remember whether I had toes or not. I checked when I returned and indeed I did have them. I placed them immediately above the room's heater.

Oxford: Just Like Last Year’s Trinity Interim Trip
Oxford's Covered Market10 January 2009
British Word of the Day: tea towels - a towel used for drying off dishes, not decorative but not to be soiled with wiping up messes (America's dish towel)

We went for a jaunt about Oxford this afternoon, and it was fun to see things, and actually recognize them from my trip to Oxford during [Trinity’s] Beatles Interim in England. Surprisingly, I arrived exactly one year later in the UK than I did last year--the immigrations officer was extremely confused as to why I had a stamp from Heathrow with exactly the same date. She excused her mistake with her forgetfulness of the new year--I told her that I still had trouble remembering it was 2009 instead of 2008. I do like writing 8's so much better than 9's. An unfortunate year change (as far as writing numbers goes.)

Today I saw the covered market, which is one of my favourite places here--there's a coffee shop that I was told about that has a really cutesy, girly name, with pink and purple things everywhere. (I may be in line for the next Queen of Ambiguousness--splendid.) And now I've forgotten who told me the place--I'll have to ask around, because my memory seems to fail me so often. I'll find it sometime.

Worshipping with Crawlers and Soul Survivors
11 January 2009
St. AndrewsBritish Word of the Day: litter (pronounced LI'-tuh) - refuse, waste, garbage. (American's trash) eg: "Put that in the litter bin, under the sink."

I attended two church services today. Both in the morning, incidentally, at St. Andrew's church, a parish church. I attended the 8 AM and the 9:30. The first had no music and we read several times out of the book of common prayer, which was new to me (the book, at least.)

St. Andrew's has a wonderful programme for everyone that is young of age (me three years ago, say) and has several different names for them, very active, like, Crawlers, Creepers, Jumpers, Soul Survivors, etc. It sounds almost like a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong, but it seems to have gone in the other direction: wonderfully right! There were children galore in the service, along with plenty of participation from the youth. St. Andrew's is completely thriving, in a very healthy way, it seems like.

Tomorrow is orientation--serious business. With a planned schedule from 9-4. I really am a professional student these days. On Thursday we'll stop with the orientation business and finally get to have free time again--to meet with our tutors and decide when to meet with them each week (primary tutors) and when to meet with them fortnightly (every two weeks, secondary tutors).

Getting Down to Business
13 January 2009
British Word of the Day: expiry - (eks-PI-ree) an ending, a cut-off time (American's "expiration") eg: "Well, did you check the expiry date on the milk?"

This evening, I have some soup to make. We have cooking groups here at Crick House, and I've joined one with a girl that's already made two loaves of bread for everyone since we've been here. I have a lot to learn, and I figure she might be a bit more experienced than I.

I need to contact my professors as well, so we can make a meeting time. They're both within reasonable walking distance of The Crick (probably within 10 minutes). The other house is huge and amazing, and everyone there seems like bundles of fun, but they're on the upper edge of Oxford, making walking cause blisters and sore joints and muscles. They'll get more exercise that way, but many of them will buy a bike before the week is through, is my bet.

Professional Studentship: Beautifully Difficult
14 January 2009
British Word of the Day: sharon fruit - an orange -red fruit that is edible only when ripe. (America's persimmon.) eg: "Don't eat that sharon fruit yet, you'll be poisoned!"

The narration and character of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are the essay topics for next 2,000 word essay due next week Friday. I have a reasonable amount of time to re-read those classics and get to work on an essay, all while going to London this weekend, visiting a Baptist church 30 minutes away with free lunch, and going to tons of lectures this week.

This Oxford stuff is crazy business. My sister Reanna joked with me and told me, "You should go sit down in the library and be surrounded by books you know you'll never have time to read."

This will be a learning experience of every kind, and I don't doubt that there will be some rough parts, but I pray that I learn from those as much as from the easier parts of the term.

Hogwarts and Oxford: Surreal
Christ Church15 January 2009
British Word of the Day: cling film - a clear, thin, plastic sheet torn from a tube to cover left-over food items. (America's "Saran-Wrap" or "Cling-Tite" for those of you with cheaper tastes). eg: "Put the cling film on tighter, so the food stays fresh."

Went to Christ Church College today. Saw oodles of stained glass, some medieval, some obviously not (placing toilets anachronistically and discreetly in the background of a medieval depiction of Frideswide, who is buried in the Cathedral.) It was simply beautiful there, and we also saw the hall in which a portion of Harry Potter was filmed. Hogwarts isn't a real place, but Oxford is. And I'm living here. Surreal.

In scholarly/mathematical news:

I have to read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Hoping to do this ere the weekend is through, so I can devote a lot of time to attending lectures throughout Oxford. I must be missing the logical portion of my brain.

Jane Eyre = 447 pages
Wuth. Hts = 414 pages
-----
861 pages + (2,000 word essay) = V1

I'm not exactly sure how one would add those up. But I can explain this: the constant, V, is for Victorian. The 1 subscript is for the first week.

With that fully explained, I think it's obvious that my work is most certainly cut out for me.

Exploring London: Jane Eyre and a Long Bus Ride
17 January 2009
Today's entry will be short. Sound the alarum.

Went into London today, with Jane Eyre in my bag. Came back and she was still in there. And I still wasn't through with her. I don't believe I will be until tomorrow evening. 150 more pages to read in that one, and then on to Wuthering Heights.

London:
-Saw St. Paul's Cathedral on the inside. It was spectacular--much more than my liberal arts math project on architect/mathematician Sir Christopher Wren could ever have shown. There was so much detail, and there were mosaics everywhere. We had made it just in time for Evensong by the All Boys' Choir at St. Paul's. The music was so beautiful, so pure, and so rich that it sounded as if the Cathedral was singing itself, from its very soul--from the inside out. I can't imagine a more beautiful choir. I nearly wept during the first song.
-Ate in Chinatown. Was hungry an hour later.
-Saw Piccadilly Circus. Was under the impression that it was called "circus" not because there would be exotic animals but because the general layout of the place was rather like a circle. It's hard to judge when one is in media res. I still don't know what the "circus" is all about. I could google.uk it, I suppose. No one would know, except for you, reader. (Dear reader, Jane Eyre has already had a disadvantageous effect on my writing style. Disaster will ensue; I am sure of it.)
-Went to / came back on a rather expensive bus that took 2 hours to take us back (about average). So, no, Oxford is NOT in the middle of London, contrary to popular belief.

Shakespeare, Bronte, and Lewis: All in a Day
19 January 2009
Today was surprisingly relaxing as far as "the first day of classes" goes. Maybe it's because they're not really classes, they're lectures. My first was "The Winter's Tale: Tragedy into Romance" and the second was "Shakespeare's Late Plays," both by Dr. Pitcher. The final "lecture" of the day was actually a film screening of Shakespeare. Tonight was Hamlet, starring Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray (excellent performance), and Julia Stiles. It was quite modern, as it took place in New York City. The most wonderful / ironic portion of the whole thing was the "To be or not to be" portion. Famous lines demand much attention.

I'm terribly happy. Dinner was so good. I made it myself.

I have to get on with things. I'm going to a Victorian literature lecture tomorrow at 12.00, so I'll get up early tomorrow and skim Wuthering Heights for good narrative conflict for Friday's 6.5 page paper.

In other, OTHER news: I saw Queen Susan from Narnia. She is quite a bit shorter than I imagined, and much to my comfort, she was walking into Introduction to Late Medieval Literature as I walked out of "The Winter's Tale." One of my new guy friends confessed his undying love for Queen Susan and declared his wish to find and woo her. I gave him her digits. Of the classroom she went to today, that is.

Supreme Excitement: Singing for Wadham Chapel Choir
Market23 January 2009
British Word of the Day: pudding - Any kind of sweet generally eaten after dinner, following something savoury with something sweet--and NOT just liquidy tapioca, vanilla, chocolate, or butterscotch. (American's "dessert"). eg: "Is anyone else getting pudding? I don't want to be the only one; I'm getting the chocolate éclair."

Today, I tried out for Wadham Chapel Choir, and I made it! I was quite pleased. There's another guy in the SCIO program with me that also made it, so we see each other while we're there, but we live at two different houses. http://chapel.wadham.ox.ac.uk/chapelchoir.html

However, this evening I made friends named Sally and Claire. Wonderful singers; there's about fifteen of us in total, of which I am a Soprano I. I love it; we've started working on a piece by Palestrina that's simply beautiful. So many pieces resound well in the chapel, but the director has chosen very renaissance (pronounced reh-NAY-sahns) pieces, and I can't get enough! We'll sing on Sunday (every Sunday) at 6:30 for Evensong, and we get there at 5 to brush up on our songs. However, the biggest sadness: practice on Fridays from 5:30-7. That's a ton! Oh well. We already sounded awesome; I'm supremely excited!

Sabbath: Singing and Feasting
25 January 2009
British Word of the Day: torch - An illuminating tool, generally used while camping with an on/off switch or button. (American's "flashlight"). eg: "Quick, grab the torch! I heard something over there!"

I wonder if they storm any castles with pitchforks and torches anymore. Perhaps not.

This afternoon:
Read Cymbeline aloud with Megan, a new Oxford friend. Took us 2.5 hours. It was definitely a tragicomedy. (Not everyone died in the end.)
Had a cup of excellent French press coffee.
Grabbed Battenburg cake, a chocolate digestive biscuit, a grape, and a tangerine and ran off to Wadham College for choir practice until 6:30

This evening:
Sang several songs during Evensong at Wadham College Chapel. Sang worse than in practice. Will get better. Ate after the service for free at the church including: roast chicken with mushrooms, cheesy eggplant, delicious potatoes, carrot chips, broccoli, and all with a glass of white wine!

 


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