Monday, April 25, 2016

College Infiltration, take 1,249

Sometimes, when the weather is nice (and when it's bad--you learn in England to just do things despite the rain), I visit other colleges with friends. Dani calls it "college infiltration."

A couple of weekends ago, we visited Balliol, St. Johns, Somerville, and Green Templeton Colleges. I'm getting close to reaching my goal of seeing all of the Oxford colleges, which is exciting.

Here are some pictures from the lovely afternoon:

[Balliol's beautiful candy-striped chapel.]

[Oh, these picturesque gates of Oxford.]

[We found a maze. Well, kind of. We hoped it was a maze, but it ended up just being hedge rows with the potential of being a maze. But a girl can dream.]

[Balliol's dining hall.]

[Turns out Balliol has an organ in its dining hall. Cool.]

[Selfie with Dani.]

[Balliol's chapel.]

[The eagle lecturn has a crown. Which is kinda cool.]

[Balliol's gardens are beautiful, if you couldn't tell. Also, Balliol claims to be the oldest college of Oxford. Merton and University Colleges also compete for that claim.]

Next up, St. John's: 

[The entrance.]

[The chapel.]

[Did you know I'm a fan of trees which have benches around them? Now you know.]


[The Fellows Garden. We couldn't get in. Sadly.]

We then went to Worcester College, which is absolutely stunning. The grounds are incredible. 

[Just look at that view.]

[It feels like something out of Pride and Prejudice.]

[And in b/w.]

[These pathways, though.]

[I had to get a Soviet flower pose in there.]

[Guys! There was a pond! With a swan!]

[The ever-lovely Dani.]

[And then there's me with my delightful awkwardness.]

["For goods only. Passengers are forbidden." A shame, really.]

[The Worcester College chapel. Different than any other college chapel I've seen. It reminded me of the Byzantine Empire.]

[Dizzy spiral staircases.]

We also went to Green Templeton College and Somerville College. Which are beautiful right now and dressed for spring. 

["That sky today. Talk about blue!"--if you name the movie I will give you virtual brownie points.]


[Somerville in the afternoon.]

Oxford is a different world during Trinity Term. I have a feeling we're going to get along just fine. Spring agrees with me. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

you want a revolution, i want a revelation.

Oh hey.

You know those moments when you realize that you have a dissertation due in about 6 weeks?


Those moments induce panic and worry.

[Help. Me.]
[This was also right after I got a hair trim and I was not very pleased. Oh well. Vanity of vanities.]

But then you randomly find things like this on the desk you're working at: 

[You got this. Sure hope so. Thank you, other stressed student in the library.]

And, then you remember that Hamilton exists. And the world can't be that bad if things like Hamilton and songs like "The Schulyer Sisters" exist. (Another reason the world is a good place?  The U.S. Treasury decided to get rid of Jackson on the $20 bill and put Harriet Tubman there instead. The times, they are a-changin'.) 

So. I mean, There's a 15,000-word dissertation I have to write. But on the upside, I just took a "What Schulyer Sister Are You" quiz and I got Angelica. So. You know. Life is good.

look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Just one of those days

. . . I had the thought last night that if offered the chance, I just might sell my soul for a Cafe Rio pork salad.

Being in England for so long with not even the resemblance of good Mexican food does things to you.

Good thing the devil did not appear offering me one, because I might have been in trouble.

. . . Jacob must have been making Cafe Rio pork salad when Esau sold his birthright to him for that mess of pottage. It makes perfect sense.

I wouldn't blame him in the slightest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Paris holds the key to your heart (or something like that)

My best (and only) university spring break continued with a quick jaunt to Paris.

I've never really felt a deep connection to Paris or France. I have more of a German/British/Ukrainian soul. 

But this trip to Paris was great--the city is charming and has a way of sneaking into your heart, no matter how much you think it might be overrated (which, being a skeptic, I kinda thought it would be overrated). 

But, it didn't disappoint. 

I don't want to bore you with travelogue details (although it will probably turn into that), so I'll try to just focus on moments in/impressions of Paris.

Getting into Paris gave me the rush of being somewhere new--
somewhere that I've only read about--
and it was exciting to realize
"I am here." 
It's exhilarating--thrilling--
to arrive in a new city in the morning, 
in a city where you've never been before. 
It's also disorienting--
you don't know how to get around, 
you don't know the language
(which takes a bit of your confidence away), 
and everything is new and strange--
yet somehow familiar 
in the way all cities smell 
and sound
and thrum with life. 

Paris is charming.
The architecture--
the white stones and blue roofs
and the uniformity of it all is quite striking.

I loved walking along the Seine.
And the cafes!
I really do love those Parisian cafes.
We at at them a couple of times and I just loved it.
I love that feel of just sitting down
soaking in the rays
and slowly enjoying your meal,
the company,
and conversation.
I realized why
there are so many French philosophers.
They talk and eat, wine and dine
all of the time.

[There had to be a shameless selfie in Paris. There just had to be.]

As for Paris favorites.
I loved the Musee d'Orsay.
That was my favorite museum we went to.
The Louvre had its musts, of course
(like, when in Paris, you have to see the Mona Lisa, right?)
And I enjoyed the statues.
But the Musee d'Orsay and the Musee d'Orangerie
have my heart.

[Monet, Poppy Field (this is one of my favorite pictures of all time).]

[More Monets.] 

[And more.]


[Van Gogh.]

[Monet's Water Lilies at the Musee d'Orangerie.] 

[This statue understands my problem with my hands in photos. Seriously. What do you do with your hands?] 

[The Louvre.] 

[I wasn't ready for this picture (obviously). But for some reason I think it captures a lesser-known, yet very important facet of my personality. So I'm keeping it.]

[I like this one.]

[Napoleon III's apartments. "Opulence. I has it."]

["Gentlemen, I inquire: Who hath released the hounds?" 
Questions which keep me up at night.]


[The Mona Lisa herself. It is really small in real life.]

[Soviet stare meets Mona Lisa smile.]

[St. George taking a selfie after slaying the dragon. Obviously. What else could be happening here?]

In addition to museums,
I loved, loved, LOVED Sainte-Chapelle.
It is absolutely stunning.
Like a jewelbox.
I also enjoyed the Arc d'Triomphe
as well as Notre Dame.
In morning and at night.

[Sainte-Chapelle. Cue the choirs of angels.]

[Can you see the Arc in the back? Yep. It's a lot farther away than it appears, because it's so MASSIVE.]

[I feel like this picture is also significant. Of something. So I'm also keeping it. Ohhh, the faces we make when we're not quite ready for the camera.]

[Theerrree we go. Thanks, Matt and Jonathan, for being my guides in Paris.]

[An American in Paris.]

[At the top of the Arc de Triomphe.]

[Notre Dame at night.]

[And in the morning.]

[Those windows. Oh, those windows.]

[Joan of Arc.]

[The gargoyles!]

[At the top of Notre Dame.]

There's a distinct feel to Paris.
I can't quite put my finger on it yet.
But it is SO different from London.
It has this sophistication to it.
This way of saying that, "Yes. I really AM all that."
And French women really are classy,
and French men really are suave (yet delightfully quirky).

[Do love me some Victor Hugo.]

I rode a carousel right by the Eiffel Tower.
It was raining
and it was simply enchanting as
we went round
and around
and around again.
Taking in Paris
in its graceful, elegant grey.
It was one of the best moments
I've experienced while traveling.
And CERTAINLY the best 2 Euro 50
I've ever spent in my life.

So ultimately, I'd have to say that Paris does hold a key (perhaps not the key, but certainly a key) to my heart. She certainly knows how to work her way in there and leave an impression.