Sunday, 31 March 2013

/13/ Easter

My family isn’t religious so we don’t really “celebrate” Easter in a Christian way. However, there was an abundance of chocolate and good food and just generally being home for a long weekend was quite nice.

Back to Oxford tomorrow though, holiday essay isn’t going to write itself….

DSCF9025   DSCF9028
Shopping for spring vegetables.


DSCF9034   DSCF9036
The Easter breakfast table

Easter lunch – pasta and homemade pesto!

DSCF9052   DSCF9062
The Sun comes out… but for how long will it stay???


Sunday, 24 March 2013

/12/ Marlow

When I was 8, my family left Florida (you can read more about my time there here, Part II coming soon) and headed for England; specifically, the small town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire. A stone’s throw from London, on the banks of the Thames, picturesque and with a strong community spirit, I thought we’d hit the jackpot, and we had– but sadly, after just over six months, we had to move on to somewhere more affordable.

Nevertheless, it was a really happy period of my life and a few weeks ago I had the chance to visit again because Ben, a friend from College, lives there. So one Friday, on a day off from work, his boyfriend Ed and I headed off on a day trip to my childhood. It was a wonderful escape from Oxford, and we spent it wandering around, finding my old house, and having a lunch in the pub where Ben’s mum works!

6798_10151488381099350_776019660_n   216748_10151488381104350_1069290987_n
526497_10151488381259350_323956463_n   579342_10151488381379350_1184035531_n563787_10151488381404350_1378848228_n

I even managed to dig up some photos of what I got up to back then.

021   032DCP_0045

Kid stuff, you know…


Sunday, 17 March 2013

/11/ Tele-love!

I devoted several hours over the last three weeks to sobbing about the fact that my camera would not work and then over the additional trauma that every spitting camera shop has shut both in Oxford and Reading so there’s seemingly nowhere where I can sort it out (I’ve been resorting to my phone’s sorry excuse for a camera and then turned to disposables) !

Camera drama aside, the last three weeks were spent doing the Telethon. The Telethon is a name given to telephone fundraising campaigns in which a group of students from college call alumni to talk about their life at Exeter, and to ask whether they might be able to make a donation to College. Oxford isn't made of money, surprising though it may be to hear, and so the campaign is really important to make sure EVERYONE can come here, not just silver-spoon heirs and public-school plutocrats (don't get me wrong, I know many privileged and privately-educated people, many of whom are very close friends, but nobody can deny that the proportions of private to state school students at Oxford is still way off and a considerable part of that is because they lack financial support, anyway, it's complicated and I'll stop now).

The job can be really hard at times, when you can’t get through to anybody, when people are rude, or even slam down the phone. Sometimes you get so tired of being cut off or shot down that you just about manage to push through.

BFojM-iCAAAtZaQ   886580_10151469891844350_1504083584_o
Still, it’s not all completely terrible (don’t they look happy after all?). A great call can make your day, and I’ve had some really fun conversations with people about everything from Luxembourg parks to the new Pope getting the bus to work to what it’s like to live in Thailand as an expat. Some people are apathetic, or too busy, or unkind; the truth is that most are warm, and sincere, and very interesting.

And it’s not like we didn’t have fun in our down time…

524157_10151488381749350_1917154722_n   601956_10151488381844350_1097949492_n541340_10151488381719350_2023909165_n

After all, by far the best thing is the sense of camaraderie you get as a team of 12 people struggling through the same ups and downs, weird working hours, and motivating each other not to lose energy. I did the Telethon last year too, and met some of my best friends in doing so, so it’s no surprise that the same would happen again this year! Literally working, playing and eating with each other 24/7 for three weeks will make you grow close. We stayed up until the small hours chatting and making each other laugh, we played Twister a lot, we stood on the college roof, we teleput “tele” in telefront of every teleword, there was teledancing and telepiggy-back-rides and communal telebrunch, and in summary it was pretty nice all round. :)

2012  530446_10151413538105453_33466303_n
467567_10151487416405551_1856663643_o2013teletem2013 plus papa b

Also I saw the Queen of England yesterday.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

/10/ Parma Escape

I ran away to Parma! I saw two of my school friends, wonderful people with hearts like mountains, singers with lungs full of magic, writers of poetry and music, thinkers with silken ideas and gilded tongues.

Victoria and Ellie, (check out their blogs) were incredible hosts who welcomed me into their mental, busy lives at the drop of a hat (or at least, at the drop of three days notice). Victoria is a student at the Conservatorio in Parma, Ellie works at a theatre, and both are on years abroad from Newcastle and Bristol respectively.

We had wine and pizza in a park, cycled around, went to see a Brecht play in Italian, had coffee and conversations/inspirations galore, went out for dinner and lunch, had delicious ice cream, browsed the shops, played photographer along the riverside, and talked and sang and were very merry.

My mum, upon my return asked me to summarise the trip in one word: refreshing. I have come back so full of energy and life, but it’s a sustainable kind of energy, and I feel like I can see again and breathe again and be somewhat confident in who I am again,

Ellie, Victoria, thank you SO MUCH. I needed to run away from Oxford, and you graciously gave me somewhere to run to. I hope in future I can be somewhere for you to run to, if you ever feel the need to up and go.

IMG_0949IMG_0965  IMG_1078IMG_0998IMG_1026  IMG_1046  IMG_1057IMG_1135IMG_1203  IMG_1217IMG_1316IMG_1368IMG_1491IMG_1546

P.S. Oh also, I got back and term ended.


Sunday, 3 March 2013

/9/ Body and Soul

7the week was tough. Body and soul. But I don’t want this to be somewhere to whine. So instead of talking about the embarrassing amount of thinking, walking and soul-searching I did, let me show you the rowing and the rugby.

The Rowing

The boat races which happen at the end of Hilary (spring term) are known, for some reason or another, as “Torpids”. I went to watch the event, and support our college teams, on a sunny and chilly Thursday afternoon, and got a chance to try out my epic new lens.

IMG_0256  IMG_0293IMG_0369IMG_0377  IMG_0422IMG_0480

The Rugby

On Saturday, the Exeter College Rugby Team played the so-called “Old Boys Match” against, predictably, a team composed of Exeter alumni. It was a friendly match, and I surprised myself by not only staying for, but enjoying the whole thing. Even though I had pretty much no idea what was going on.

IMG_0506  IMG_0522IMG_0615IMG_0658  IMG_0668IMG_0910