Sunday, 24 February 2013

/8/ Merry Misery

In 6th week, nothing much happened. I can barely remember it, but judging by my photos, I stood on the roof of College.

I worked on my essays. I got through it, and I went home from Thursday until Sunday.

It was the kind of week in which you spend your time in coffee shops with friends, in streets which are familiar but do not seem so, in bed with a book, and far too much in your head.



Sunday, 17 February 2013

/7/ Turl Street Arts Festival



Do you see that look of gleeful terror in my eyes? The exhaustion, the anxiety, the TINT OF LUNACY? No? It’s there.

Last week was the week of Turl Street Arts Festival, and I was on the committee. If I said that it was the most exhausting thing I have ever done I don’t think that would be a word of a lie. I’ve  been known to put on five plays in a term, to hike for days in the Peak District with 13kg on my back, and to spend fourteen rainy and cold hours in the city of Trondheim without anywhere to go.

No, TSAF wins.

In theory, it was an amazing experience. I personally was involved in putting on an art exhibition and a Prohibition-themed party but there was also a comedy evening, a live poetry reading, and an exceptional original play, as well as lots of recitals and concerts, all squeezed into one hectic and crazy week kicked off by a Call Me Maybe flashmob and concluded by dinner at High Table in Jesus College.

Unfortunately, I was so drained that I zombied my way through the last few days of the festival! From midday on Friday to midnight on Saturday I had about three hours break, plus about seven hours of sleep. It was not a lot, not enough, and by Saturday evening it was all I could do not to burst into tears. Instead, I morosely held a punnet of plums and was stuck in a taxi home by a concerned friend.

The whole thing was an extraordinary thing to do and I’m very glad of the friends I made and the things I learned by taking part. But I couldn’t be more relieved that it’s over. Even though  I have an essay due today which I can’t finish in time (so sad, first missed deadline of the term!) and two more due next Monday, even though I am still juggling four jobs with a fifth on the way, I am relaxed for the first time in a fortnight.

Painting my nails and writing/crying about the holocaust. That’s how I’m spending today.

More photos from the festival: Art Exhibition with live music; a moment of respite from the frenzy; Prohibition party in Exeter College hall.

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

/6/ Halfway

Halfway Hall is when a year group at an Oxford College celebrates being halfway through their degree. Except of course, half of us aren’t halfway through. For those on three-year-courses (History, English, Music, Law etc.) it is truly a noteworthy occasion, and has come sooner than any of us thought. But for the rest of us linguists, classicists, mathematicians and scientists, we’re not quite there yet.

In any case, we, the second years of Exeter College, celebrated Halfway Hall this week. The combination of funny speeches and plenty of wine meant a good night was had by all.

group photo

Looking at this photo I realise just how lucky I am to be a part of this bunch of fruitcakes. It’s really sad that at the end of this year, I’ll not only be getting ready to go on a year abroad, but I’ll be saying goodbye – the real, don’t-exactly-know-when-I’ll-see-you-again kind – to a lot of my friends.

Goodbye to the Irishman who dozed off on me while watching Walk the Line; to the neighbour who chatted with me until 3 in the morning on the rooftops of College; to the lawyer who stops me from crumbling and puts me back together time and time again; to the Swede who not only tacitly accepts, but actually encourages, my presence at Scandinavian Society events; to the Eurovision fanatic who accompanied me around Berlin… As I’m sure you can believe, I’ve barely touched on the number of people who surround me here and I’ll be sorry to say goodbye when the time comes.

But it has not yet come. Bring on Summer! Hurrah!


Sunday, 3 February 2013

/5/ The one where Fiona takes on too much

Better late than never!”, I always say… But the motto which I apply to this blog has started to fail me in my use of it on the rest of my life.


The fact is, I’ve had to resort to it more than I’m comfortable with recently. I’ve gone and taken too much on again, just like last year when I put on 5 plays in three months and subsequently had a complete and utter meltdown. No surprise there.  For a self-described lazy person who likes nothing more than eating Nutella on toast in bed while watching New Girl, I have an uncanny knack on stressing myself out beyond health and sanity.

So here’s the rundown…

  • I tutor a 12-year old boy in German once a week,
  • I work one shift in my college bar every week,
  • I take photos for a student newspaper every Wednesday,
  • I am the Domestic and Accommodations Officer in College,
  • I am on a long-term photography contract for my College which takes time out of my week each week,
  • I am on the committee for the Turl Streets Arts Festival and its behemoth of a Closing Party,
  • I am a research assistant on a ten-hour-a-week historical linguistics project (so exciting!).

Oh yeah, and then there’s that essay-a-week (plus busy work like translations) degree I do on the side. I’m also writing an article about Norway for a student travel magazine, and am the lead tenant in my leaking, creaking, rotting, crumbling rented student-house which means I spend a good hour each week on the phone with maintenance men and my landlord.



So why is the photo for this week a crappy camera-phone snapshot of a train station? Because last weekend I packed up my netbook and a couple of books about expressionism, and hopped on the twenty-minute train home. I met up with my Mum for a much-needed catch-up, I hung out at home with my awesome brother and dad, I read a lot about the expressionists and ended up having a little cry about their failed dreams (overreact, much?) before being bundled into bed by my mother.

A break is exactly what I needed, and the essay I wrote ended up being one which I am immensely proud of. I remembered that weekend the reason that I'm here: my degree. I think you’ll struggle to find someone who has made such an about turn on their degree choice as I have: from reluctantly dragging myself here to study German, when I really wanted to learn about Ibsen and Strindberg (still do, always will), to now being in love with German literature as much as Scandinavian. And, when I get a few hours to devote to it, I am happy and at peace.

I know the peace is there, then, I just have to make time for it.

I hope you find your peace.