Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas at Oxford [and a recap of the last weeks of Michaelmas Term]

. . . well, folks. I am more than 1/3 of the way done with my Masters program.

Just think about that for a little while. Yeah. It goes fast. Really fast.

It has been a jam-packed term. I feel like I have tried to fit in all I can, while having time to savour everything, too. It's like that quote from E.B. White about wanting to save and savor the world at the same time . . . and it kind of makes it hard to plan your day. But I think the savoring has to come first. Otherwise, what have you to save?

Similarly, making time for people has made this term so rewarding and fulfilling for me, even though it has certainly been a challenge. School is school, life is life. And there are good days and bad days no matter where you go.

But I am so glad I am here. I am so grateful that this was my choice.

The last couple weeks of Michaelmas in particular were a blur of lectures, seminars, and lots and lots of Christmas dinners and parties.

[All dressed up for Christmas dinner. In my Yule Ball dress. Obviously. Like I had a choice. Also, can we all please love the look on the guy's face at the head of the table? It's priceless.] 

[And yes, that is a green crown on my head. Christmas crackers are tradition in Britain, and they usually have a crown, joke, and a prize inside them.] 

[Like this. Lori got a puzzle for her prize. So we put it together. I got a pirate eye patch.]

[Christmas dinner itself.] 

[An after-dinner rendezvous in the MCR. Geraldine found Ellie the Pelican in a very festive Christmas hat. Also, apparently her name isn't Eve, but Ellie, which I guess makes sense: "Ellie the Peli."] 

Also, there are so many Christmas trees and fairy lights and it makes me really, really, really happy. 

[Tree in the Corpus Quad.]

[In the MCR.]

[And in the Bodleian Courtyard.] 

[Lights at the Botanical Gardens.]

I also had the opportunity to go to the Messiah at the Sheldonian Theatre with some friends. The performance was lovely and the music sublime. Loved it. It was a perfect way to start off the Christmas season. 

[The ceiling of the Sheldonian.]

[Part of the crew.]

[And another part.]

[Now cue the awkward photos of us trying to decide what to do with our faces.]

[Awww, we actually can be cute.]

It wouldn't be a complete Christmas without Christmas parties. The grad students in the RAI went all out this year, complete with a Libertree, American politics party games, a Playmobil nativity with a baby Abraham Lincoln being protected from the forces of despotism by a watchful Lady Columbia and Uncle Sam (I don't have any pictures of that, unfortunately, but it was extremely clever), and a Christmas desk competition. Basically, Americanists are the best (American exceptionalism, anyone?). Not that I'm biased or anything. 

[All hail the Libertree.] 

[The haul of festive goodies from America's Home at Oxford, the Rothermere American Institute.]

 And now onto the award-winning desk:

[It's a "Trump for Santa 2016" desk. "Make Christmas Great Again." Louisa did a great job on it and came up with some wonderful spoofs. Naturally, Trump is the only one on his "Nice" list.]

["Trump's Box of Ideas."] 

I also went to a party which felt a lot like a Provo party. We played Mafia and ate cookies. So, if you take out the mulled wine and replace it with mulled apple juice (which is so good), practically a Provo party in Oxford. 

Christmas at Oxford also means a lot of carol services, which are absolutely beautiful. I was really touched by the commemoration of advent, and it was wonderful to sing favorite songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." 

Basically, Christmas is a good time to be in Oxford. Good tidings of comfort and joy for all. 

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