For example, on Tuesday I went down to London to attend an APPG Committee hearing with Zhanna Nemtsova. If you don't know who she is, she is the daughter of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian dissident journalist who was killed within a stone's throw of the Kremlin earlier this year. It was an amazing experience being able to sit in on a House of Lords Committee--and it inspired me to do something with these opportunities I've been given.
Also, I got to spend an afternoon in London with some great people:
[Chris, me, and Briana, with our friend Ben behind us.]
[At the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.]
[Our: "WE ARE GOING TO A SESSION AT PARLIAMENT!!!!!!!" faces.]
Also, please delight in this scene as much as I did:
[There was a man blowing bubbles--big bubbles--outside of the National Gallery. And the children flocked to him, of course. And this little boy in the red cap is chasing one of the bubbles, with a trusted, caring adult watching on. Love.]
Also, one does not simply go to London without some sight-seeing. So that's what we did.
[I spy a London Eye.]
[Buckingham at twilight.]
[It was windy.]
I also went to some really interesting lectures at Oxford this week and I have been doing readings and just enjoying the Oxford student life.
I've also enjoyed having visitors!
My friend Derek came to visit the Oxford/Cambridge Open Days this week, so I got to show him around and take him to a formal hall! Derek and I both went to BYU and worked on HSAC together--and now he's living in MOSCOW of all places, just, you know, doing cool things like studying at prestigious math programs. No big deal.
[Yay! Derek came!]
[Derek also brought the delicious Super Kontik cookies all the way from Moscow. So of course we had a Kontik Slam and it was heavenly and basically, Derek is a saint.]
Like I said, we went to a formal hall and I wore my Hermione Granger yule ball dress. Folks, I know this is super vain of me, but this is important because this dress is actually perfection. So of course I took selfies of it and made Derek take pictures of me in the Great Hall because I have a need to feel pretty.
[Shameless Selfie. Because I'm worth it.]
[I'm telling you. Hermione Granger dress.]
[In the fancy dress with fancy food.]
Speaking of fancy, over the weekend I also went to Blenheim Palace with some friends. And I'm going to have to do another post so I can post more pictures of that place, because it is absolutely gorgeous, AND it was all decked out for Christmas. So, I wanted to move there. Obviously.
[Bluestockings at Blenheim. It was freezing and I was losing brain cells from the cold. But in other news, I started talking to a Russian couple and they thought I was from Russia. "We immediately recognized you as Russian," they said. So that made me forget the cold for about 2 minutes.]
[Can I move in? Please?]
[Christmas time is here.]
[And the library. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.]
Moral of the story: Even if 6th week blues are eating your soul, there is nothing good friends, Yule Ball dresses, and trips to palaces in the Oxfordshire countryside can't cure. Oh, and hot chocolate. That, too.