Friday, October 29, 2010

It's been another not-too-exciting week, but I'm still having fun!

Last Friday we went to London to see the play "The Woman in Black." It was actually fairly frightening. It's just two (well, three, sort of...) actors. One is the old man and one is the actor, and they are together reenacting an experience the old man had. The actor plays the old man and the old man plays all the other characters he encountered during the thing. There is also a woman who is a ghost and kills people. She did not get to come out and bow, therefore she is really a ghost and because I saw her she will kill my firstborn child. Scary.

I spent Saturday being very very very lazy, and Sunday writing my paper in the most productive day I've had in a while, maybe in my life. I rolled out of bed at 10, had a draft (minus intro and conclusion) at noon, and had a final, revised, edited paper sent to my tutor by 6.30 pm. It was pretty amazing.

Monday I met with my tutor as always. I'm getting better at having discussions and asking questions to get more out of my tutorial. I got (aka asked for) my topic this week: conversion of western women to Islam. I couldn't find any good sources ANYWHERE in Oxford. There was an anthology I had found at Stanford before that I don't think exists in Oxfordshire County. And I can only get fragments on Google books. I was having a very hard time, so I tried to find some articles on JStor with the Stanford proxy that is letting me access it from Oxford, but there wasn't much there, either. I was very frustrated. THEN I remembered that Stanford has access to a lot of books as eBooks, and BAM. I found the entire book in eBrary, which I can access again with a Stanford proxy that pretends I'm on the Stanford network. AND this means I can do work in my room instead of sitting in the library. From now on, I'm first checking if the books I need are on eBrary before I schlep my way to the library. This discovery may have been the highlight of my week.

Other than that, I went to my choirs and bellydancing this week and had fun. I had my midterm for my soccer class and that was NOT fun - there was a lot of stuff we didn't talk about that he just expected us to know about soccer. I'm not too worried, though, because everyone thought it was pretty hard so it will probably be curved. And I decided I'm writing my essay for that class on soccer as an English religion, which I'm interested in and will probably therefore write a good essay about. The midterm is only 15%, so I'll be fine.

Today and tomorrow my friend Ashley and I are locking down plans for after term ends. I think we're going to go to Portugal for 4 days, and then I'm going to head to the Netherlands to see my cousins and aunt, and my friend Natalie. And then I'll be back to London to see my friend Claire, who I haven't seen in years. I'm not sure what we're going to do, but it will be nice to catch up.

Sunday is Halloween, and we all came up with costumes long before we were sure that Halloween was a big deal here. I'm going to be Cleopatra, Alex is a unicorn, Muthu is Sherlock Holmes, and Andrew is Ziggy Stardust, an alterego of David Bowie's from Mars. And we found a part ("bop") to go, so now we won't just be wandering the streets of Oxford in full costume.

I think that's about it from this week. More updates after Halloween :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stanford Daily column

I wrote the inaugural column for the Stanford Daily's new column, "Foreign Correspondence" - read it here!