Sunday, 27 January 2013

/4/ A world of contrast

Two things stick out to me in the past week.


On Friday night, College had a bop (a drunken dress up party in the college bar) in which I worked behind the bar and served my increasingly drunk  friends and classmates so much alcohol that someone decided to smash a fire alarm later on that night, meaning that I finished my shift by trying to keep 300 inebriated and tired students in the chapel while the fire brigade came to make sure it was a false alarm.

On Sunday I hopped on a two-hour coach to IKEA, where I met up with a friend from school and spent the day browsing sofas and eating Swedish food before chilling out in a weird and zombie-like Milton Keynes pub (do not go to Milton Keynes). We were the outsiders. They were the locals. It was made very clear. In fact, we were asked to leave…

The first, resolutely Oxford: hectic, absurdist, furiously intense, dramatic, claustrophobic and insanely fun.

The second, pure escapism: in a town not linked to anything I know, in a small Swedish oasis (if that’s the right word for IKEA – it is if you ask me), with a friend of almost ten years and more time than we knew what to do with.

I’m starting to realise that I need both. I need the rush of Oxford life, I need that feeling of walking through 800-year-old buildings and being able to greet every face I see, of having plans every evening, of missing deadlines and drinking wine and living in the most beautiful town I know with the craziest people I’ve ever met.

But I also need that balance of nothingness, relaxation, no responsibility, the familiarity of friends so old you don’t need to be anything but yourself around them.

With just the one or the other I would shatter or rot. But with both, right now, it’s pretty good.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

/3/ snow days

Choosing a photo for the third week of January, and the first of term, was not difficult. I think this is definitely one of those situations where a picture says a thousand words (is that the expression?)

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I love snow to the moon and back, just as you’d expect an enthusiastic 6-year-old Scottish German who was amputated from the Alps and brought to conventionally paradisaic Florida where the snow is made of deep-frozen chemicals and newspaper shreds to do. 

Not that you have to be a child of the mountains to love snow! The students of Oxford came alive last Friday morning when we awoke to a city clad in powdered virginal silks.  Festooned with scarves and gloves, ski jackets and snow-boots (or, for the more profoundly English, a pair of Hunters), we made our way into the centre. Bedraggled and mummified on foot, or tentatively reckless on bike, a procession of people skidded and tripped and trudged along feeling simultaneously blessed and inconvenienced. Good-natured grumps watched over-excited and rather anticlimactic snowball fights (not enough snow to built up a respectable artillery) between their classmates, while others sat behind panes of century-old glass with a hot chocolate and a dash of rum and admired the majesty of Oxford in the snow

Well, I tried to paint a picture with  words, didn’t I? A bit twee and contrived to be sure, but perhaps some photos of  my friend Ed and I frolicking  in the snow (yes, we literally frolicked) will do a better job than I:

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

/2/ fruit salad

The first week back at College for me was spent hurriedly writing an essay (on 1840s German Novellas) and revising for my mock exams (on German historical linguistics). That means there were days I didn’t leave the house and made my desk into my nest/safe space/study zone.


I have a lot of tricks and tools which I use to get myself in the zone: fresh plants on my desk, a candle, Brahms in the background, wearing a certain type of perfume, a mug of Earl Grey… and, my favourite, fruit salad.


It’s healthy, there’s vitamins and sugar and calcium and fibre, you can have it for breakfast, lunch, dessert or even just a snack, it’s super quick and easy to make and you can nibble at it all day.

I just chop up some fruit (usually apples, pears, oranges/clementines, bananas and other fruits in the summer if there are some, add a “dressing” of yoghurt mixed with orange juice, and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Perfect!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

/1/ cozy, bright and beautiful

Inspired by Chez Larsson (Swedish, chic, crafty) I’ve decided to try to do one of those photo-documentary things this year, picking a photo to sum up my past week. I'm going to do it for a grand total of at least one week – because my resolutions are plentiful enough!

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This is the first thing I saw - and therefore photographed - when I woke up in 2013.

I had spent the night before on a mattress in the attic of a friend’s boyfriend’s house in Bristol, having whiled away the last hours of 2012 by drinking Cava and watching the fireworks from Clifton Suspension Bridge (magnificent, if you were wondering).

There were some newly-made friends to my right, some bitchy German girls to my left, and even a friend from college near by – though I didn't’ find that out until today! Isn’t life full of strange coincidences?

The day of New Years Eve had been resolutely overcast and rainy, so the sunlight streaming through old panes of fogged up glass, casting watery patterns on the wall and illuminating a cup of tea on the sill, was the a perfect image with which to begin the new year - cozy, bright and beautiful.