Halfway Point

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The British Museum in London

Despite my impressive productivity at the beginning of the term, I let half of Hilary go by before writing another post. Though the initial burst of energy has waned, it hasn’t disappeared completely. I have, though my infrequent social media updates might suggest otherwise, still been getting out and doing fun things here in Oxford. As we are entering week six of term two, I’ve now completed over half of my abroad year! Oh, how the time flies. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks.

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Vegetarian haggis

As per the Bonus British Bit from my previous post, we celebrated Burns Night at LMH formal hall. There was a guy playing the bagpipes, whiskey, and haggis, which is a Scottish dish traditionally made of sheep. Fortunately I received the vegetarian version, but I heard the regular version was pretty good. Part of Burns Night tradition is to read Robert Burns’s “Address to Haggis,” so we were also treated to a spirited reading of the poem before we dug into the food. All in all, it was a fun celebration of an off-beat holiday.

The next weekend, I went on a day trip to Leeds Castle and Canterbury with a friend. It was a 12-hour affair and well worth it–living in Oxford can definitely begin to feel like living in a bubble. An amazing bubble, but still a bubble. Leeds Castle was the former home of Catherine of Aragon (a wife of the notorious Henry VIII), and obviously it passed into many other noble hands as well. Walking through was nice, but very similar to the few other castles I’ve visited. Nothing particularly new.

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Chaucer statue and 40% off!

When we got to Canterbury, we spent a good deal of time in a bookshop with a bright blue, tilted door before roaming around the rest of the town. Like Oxford, yet more noticeable, Canterbury is both extremely historical and extremely commercial. They get a ton of tourists, of course, so it makes sense that so many chains have set up shop. Still, it was a bit disconcerting to see. The Cathedral was beautiful, but like most other things in this modern world, it was partially under construction.

Since then, I have seen La La Land (twice), purchased a few La La Land inspired dresses, popped over to London for a Cornell friend’s birthday, been to a Union debate, seen three different orchestras perform at the Sheldonian Theatre, went to a cinema screening of The Royal Ballet’s Woolf Works, met up with a fellow Llama who’s in town for work, and, of course, read a lot books. The term has proceeded exactly how I thought it would, more or less. Looking forward, I don’t have too much planned before leaving for spring break! However, I’m sure things will come up. They always do.

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Galentine’s Day Afternoon Tea at The Rose

Being past the halfway point of my time at Oxford is undoubtedly weird. The time hasn’t necessarily flown by–October feels like a long time ago. So it’s a comfort that I have about as much time in front of me as I do behind me, even though I suspect the last half of the year will probably go by a lot faster than the first. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to find the perfect balance between work and play, and also to avoid taking the Oxford lifestyle for granted, because it’s a pretty great one. There are still a number of things I want to do here before I leave, and I hope to get it all done with time to spare. Stay tuned as I try to record (most) everything!

~Natalie

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Leeds Castle
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7 pounds (Great Britain Pound) per plate! All you can eat buffet! Let the food coma ensue
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Canterbury Cathedral (spot that scaffolding)

Bonus British Bit: “Crew date” is what they call a group “date,” or outing. For the first few weeks, I thought it referred exclusively to “crew,” or rowing, team date nights. However, it can be any team or group going out with another team or group. It’s kind of like a mixer, I think…?

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