Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not all that much has happened since the York return. I've been to class, started a new tutorial essay.

The big events of the past week are the extra-curriculars I'm doing. Monday night is the Oxford University Student Chorus, a non-auditioned classical choir. The first rehearsal was GIANT, probably over 100, but I'm sure it'll go down when people think the music is too hard and free drinks aren't offered after rehearsal. We're performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio in the last week of term. It's a little hard, but super fun - I like giant choral classical pieces, and we'll be doing it with full orchestra!

Tuesday nights is belly dancing through a non-university group, the Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society. It's 40 pound for 10 classes, which is still a great deal even if I have to miss one or two classes. We worked on shimmies for the whole hour, but it was a lot of fun. And I managed to convince my friend Andrea to come with me, so I wasn't alone like I was at the student chorus.

My last activity is still up in the air: I auditioned today for the Oxford Singers, Oxford's only non-classical and non-a capella group. The audition seemed to go well- they liked my song, were impressed by my range, and seemed bummed that I was only around for one term. Hopefully I'll find out about that soon. That one meets on Wednesday nights.

So, that's my term, plus the soccer class and my tutorial. It's shaping up to be a nice schedule!

Monday, October 11, 2010


So, this weekend we went to York for our Bing trip.

We stopped on the way there at Hardwick Hall, an old house that was important in some way or another. The coolest part was the initials of the woman who's house it was on top of every tower.

Then we drove to York and went to the York Minster, which was a pretty sweet cathedral. Our tour guide was this adorable old man who made cute comments and said really random things. We got to hear about all the times the Minster had been on fire and other disasters. Then we toured the underground part, where they talked about the history of the Minster since Roman times, when it was a Roman basilica (a basilica was a Roman place of law).

Then a couple of us walked around York for a while, just exploring. My friend Alex had been on a dig there two summers ago, so she knew different places around. We got really good Cornish pasties, walked by the river, and went to a pub that had a cute little poodle in it. Then we went to our hotel, where we had a three course buffet with carved meats and stuff. It was pretty cool. I actually roomed with my freshman year suite-mate, Melissa, because we both have singles in the Stanford House.

The next day we went to Castle Howard, this pretty impressive huge house that the Howard family still lives in. The recent (2008?) movie of Brideshead Revisited was partially filmed there. We walked around the giant grounds, where there were peacocks roaming free. We saw the polar bear walk (I'm not sure why it was called that), the Temple of the Four Winds, and the ornamental vegetable garden. We also toured the inside of the house.

The final place we went was the Rievaulx Abbey, which is this GIANT ruined abbey that was destroyed by Henry VIII. It was really cool to walk around it and see all the different parts and figure out what they used to be. After that, we came back to Oxford.

On Sunday, I wrote my tutorial paper, and today I met with my tutor to discuss it. The paper was on feminism and feminist theory in the Middle East and how it translated from Western feminism. He had given me one essay to read and suggested some more, so I read two articles in depth and wrote about them. Even though I was super freaked out and wasn't sure I really knew what I was doing, he seemed to think I did a good job. Next week, my paper is on Veiling: normative (Islamic) practices and other's views on it. Again, he didn't really give me a big syllabus, but instead told me to go browse the Islamic Centre's library and find some books that interest me. Even though that's intimidating because I don't necessarily have the knowledge to find books, I guess any books in the Centre would be good, and I'm really getting a change to read what I want to read. So I think I'll head to that library tomorrow, look at those books, and maybe request them at the bigger library for the rest of the week, where I have more space to spread out and read. It's so frustrating to not be able to check out books!

Well, that's the update up til now. We're planning some trip for this weekend, maybe up to Edinburgh, so I'm excited about that!

York pictures: