Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A few more pictures

Hello! This is just a brief update. The weather has been great for the past few days--warm enough for shorts!! So, I have been updating my photos from Oxford, and I put together my album for London. I was in Stratford last night to see Julius Caesar (which was awesome), but I didn't get to the Shakespeare sites, so I will be going back in the next weekend or two to see that. So . . . there will be a lot more pictures (and still more pictures from spring break to come); however, I might not have time to post those until the end of term or even right after I get home. I'm staying pretty busy trying to take care of school work and see everything I can before I leave. Term is a little more than halfway over, and I only have 4 more weeks! 


p.s. I am starting to see more and more students, etc. in robes (which is pretty cool) because it's about time for exams.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back in Oxford


I’m finally back in Oxford and getting ready to start the third week of Trinity term (the last term of the academic year!).  I have a ton of pictures to share, and so far, I've got all of my trip with Dane posted:

Dane and Madison in Oxford: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018071&id=1294230414&l=90889f8844

Stockholm, Sweden:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018072&id=1294230414&l=8db94adfb2

Geneva, Switzerland:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018136&id=1294230414&l=c512c86bb8

Amsterdam, The Netherlands:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018390&id=1294230414&l=0c318f20f2

and   http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018424&id=1294230414&l=266bbac263

Paris, France: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018426&id=1294230414&l=d73b53f392

and    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2018427&id=1294230414&l=d614f766bf

 (p.s. If you are looking for pictures of the actual engagement, it's in 2nd album/link--Sweden)

I’ll be finishing up pictures from Berlin through Rome soon, and I’ll let you know when I do!

This term is going really well so far. I have some good tutorials, and I’m much better adjusted to the system so I can do more fun things and still get plenty of work done! My tutorials this term are Post Modern and Contemporary Lit (major) and C.S. Lewis (minor). It is a busy term; there are things going on all the time here! Springtime in Oxford is a fun experience; things really come alive, and I get to be outdoors more. And, surprise, it is actually sunny here (sometimes)! On the downside, it’s tourist season, but oh well, I've been a tourist too. Here is the album I’ve started so far with some Oxford pictures:


Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to in the next few weeks:

--Tea Party at the Warner’s, May 17, Penelope makes outstanding cakes, desserts, and cucumber sandwiches . . . and we all stuff our faces.

--Seeing Les Mis in London, May 13, a short trip into London a few of us planned

--Trip to Stratford upon Avon, May 25, an excursion with OOSC

--Beating of the Bounds, May 21, an Oxford tradition that sounds like something possibly out of Harry Potter . . . see the links http://www.whatsonwhen.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=event&event_id=111359


--WJC choir comes to Oxford, May 28, Yay!!

--Trip to Stonehenge, June 13, an excursion with OOSC

--Jacque, Joy and Madison take a day trip to London

--Walk up to The Kiln’s (C.S. Lewis home) and Lewis’s gravesite


And the term will be over before I know it, and I’ll be back in KC on June 21!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Break

Hello again . . . it’s almost the end of Hilary term here in Oxford, and that means spring break! I have 5 weeks of break, and I will be home for part of that. I realize I’m horrible about blogging, but here is my travel itinerary so you can see where I’ll be:

March 12 Dane comes to Oxford!

March 13-15 Stockholm

March 16-17 Geneva

March 18-29 Amsterdam (and visit Ans)

March 20-21 Paris

March 22 We head back to Oxford.

March 23 Dane and I fly back to the US!


March 23-April 3 I’m home in the US!

April 3-4 I travel back to Oxford.


April 5 Fly to Berlin with Ashton

April 6-7 See Berlin, also Joy joins us!

April 8 Joy, Ashton, and I take the train to Nice.

April 9-10 See Nice. (And turn 21)

April 11 Joy splits from Ashton and I; we travel to Florence.

April 12-13 Spend the Easter holiday in Florence.

April 14 Train to Venice.

April 15 See Venice.

April 16 Train to Rome.

April 17-18 See Rome.

April 19 Fly back to Oxford.


April 20 Start Trinity Term!


I will post pictures with much more success this time, but as I was unsuccessful in ever posting a full account of Scotland, I will probably only post tidbits about spring break!  

Also, if you want a postcard from any of these place, let me know!




Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scotland Pictures

I listed the pictures all in chronilogical order of the stops we made in Scotland. No real post today about the rest of my trip, but I wanted to get pictures up quickly! Enjoy.

Edinburgh: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2017052&id=1294230414&l=1e84e

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We're going to do an experiment. I am going to post a link for my pictures from Oxford thus far that I've already posted on Facebook. You visit the link and let me know if it works. 

If this works, then I will put up all my Scotland pictures. In other news, I received a lot of packages and letters from my family and Dane over the past week or two, which makes me very happy. I've got cake mix and icing, Valentine's Day candy, phone cards, tea and thermos, beautiful flowers, and a funny Seinfeld shirt that is only made funnier because Dane has a matching one. Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Great "Snowstorm"

So if you watch the news then I'm sure you know that a legendary snowstorm is hitting England (mostly London is getting the worst of it, I think). It has snowed on and off for 3 days-ish here. It's wonderful, reminds me of home, and makes everything all the more beautiful. So . . . I've attempted to put some pictures up. They are taken from my window in the front of the house, and they are all pretty much the same--one from each day of snow--but I felt like I needed to document it all since, hey, this hasn't happened for 18 years. Pictures go in order from Day 3, 2, 1. Also notice in pictures, you can park in any direction on any side of the street.

p.s. Someday I will finish telling you about Scotland . . . someday.

p.p.s. People do go sledding here, have snowball fights, and build snowmen. 

p.p.p.s. I might start including a "craving of the day" whenever I post. Today's craving: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. (It was Doritos for a few days until I noticed they had Doritos in the store and bought some; problem solved--I am problem solver. You too can be a problem solver, if you catch my drift.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009


So because school work takes up so much of my time, I figured I would take a short break from telling you about Scotland and give you an idea of where a good deal of my time goes. My major tutorial meets once a week (Thursdays) for an hour (8 total meetings); my minor tutorial meets once every other week (usually a Monday) for an hour (4 total meetings). My major tutorial is Feminist Lit and my minor is Oscar Wilde. Both are very fascinating and more complex than I imagined. My tutors are very insightful if not a little excentric. :) 

Here is a snippet of my syllabus from my major tutorial (I didn't include the whole suggested reading list because it would make this post entirely too long). Basically, you read each week and write a paper that you will present and discuss in your next tutorial. (Right now I am in week 3).

Also, if you are interested in seeing what event are going on at the Oxford Union you can go to:
And if you click on "term card" (top, center) then you get a list of events. We're planning on going to many of the debates, some speakers, and probably some stuff like the pancake party. :) 

General Outline of Course:

“I have the feelings of a woman but I have only the language of men.” (Far From the Madding Crowd) A study of women through the ages to show how they were trapped by the patriarchy and how they struggled to express themselves. The course will balance “accepted” great works against the less familiar.

Week One:

Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own, 

Virginia Woolf: Three Guineas, 

Virginia Woolf: Orlando

Quentin Bell: Virginia Woolf

James King: Virginia Woolf

Does Virginia Woolf’s position as feminist icon reflect the complexity of her views?

Week Two:

Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway

                             To The Lighthouse

(Reading as above)

How does Virginia Woolf rewrite the novel to reflect the movement of a woman’s mind?

Week Three:

Fanny Burney: Evelina

Evelina was an enormously popular novel. Why is its modern readership so tiny?

Week Four:

Jane Austen:    Emma

How deeply does Jane Austen examine the causes of Emma’s dissatisfaction? Are we satisfied that they are resolved by the conclusion of the novel?

Week Five:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Aurora Leigh

Are we convinced of the correctness of Aurora’s choices? Are we supposed to be?

Week Six:

Rewriting Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre

Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

Why is it so important to reclaim Jane Eyre for the woman’s movement?

Week Seven:

Angela Carter:            The Magic Toyshop, Nights at the Circus

Does Carter’s style of writing suggest there is another world available for women if they are brave enough to access it?

Week Eight:

Clare Morrall:  Astonishing Splashes of Colour

How does the writer manipulate our opinion of the central character?


Sunday, January 18, 2009

There Can Only Be One . . . part II

Our next stop was Inverness, which is Gaelic-ish. Ibenhir (?) or some form of “inver” means river, and “Ness” or “Niss” is the name of that river. So, now let’s put two and two together, Inverness means river Ness because it is located on the Ness river which connects to Loch Ness (not far down the road). The further north we went by train, the more the language changed. First, the train stations just showed the name of the town, then the town name in English with Gaelic under, and finally furthest north, the Gaelic name was sometimes first or maybe the only name listed. I also think that trying to pronounce Gaelic is an experience no one should go without. Try this town name: Drumnadrochit. Not bad, you did pretty good, but that’s actually the English translation (gottcha). The Gaelic name for this town is “Druim na Droichaid,” and I hope you have as hard of a time pronouncing that as I did. Drumnadrochit was the town nearest Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle ruins. To see Loch Ness you can pay a hefty sum to take a cruise and tour castle ruins, or you take the Robyn-Brett-Madison tour. Being cheap college students (and having myself learned thrifty ways from my family members), we did not actually visit the castle or take a cruise on the loch. Rather, we took the bus to the castle, stood in the parking lot, and peered over the wire fence at it. It was marvelous. After sitting on Brett’s shoulder’s in order to snap some pictures sans fencing, we decided we’d had our fill (no Nessie), and started the walk back to town.

One of my favorite parts of my trip was this little country highway. There were lochs in the distance, farmers’ fields, and hills. It was all green, but frosted over. And there were sheep, a lot of sheep. There are more sheep than people in Scotland (no lie). Robyn, doing only what would be considered natural, tried to communicate with the sheep (and a few very fat birds). Brett I think was a little embarrassed by how bad we were at bleating and baaing, but I think we got our point across to the sheep.

Inverness is also home to some fantastic Scottish pubs. We were lucky to happen upon one our first night called Finlay’s, and it seemed to be a local hang out. This is why I enjoy pubs in Scotland: they seem to be for all ages (of course excluding those below 18), they are casual, and they play live folk music. Old men and old women danced along to the banjo/guitar/accordion band (we couldn’t understand the man singing, but it was great); three generations socialized together. The other pub we went to the following night, Hootananny’s, was super busy. By the time we left there was not room to stand up and walk. Again, it was an all ages affair (we talked a very nice old Scottish man), and this time there were bagpipes (!!). It was a bagpipe rock type band—very enjoyable and good for people watching.

That about wraps up Inverness unless you have questions, etc., and don't worry, for all you die-hard Highlander fans I will get back to the movie reference in my next post! As far as pictures go, I am having a little difficulty with that so I am looking for a solution.

Also, I know it’s been a while since my last post. This is because while I am fairly settled into my Oxford surroundings, tutorials started and I realized that I was not academically settled in to a routine. So this first bit of work has come upon me (and everyone else here) very fast and in insanely large quantities. I am going to try to finish with Scotland in a few more posts and get on to life here in Oxford, but bear with me and my large reading list!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

“There Can Be Only One . . .”

I’m not sure whether it is a good thing or a bad thing if you recognize this quote, seeing as it comes from one of the cheesiest (and I mean a whole new level of cheesiness) 80’s action films ever made. Of course I am talking about Highlander. I mention this movie for a few reasons: 1) we went to the Highlands and so of course had to watch it and quote it continually and 2) it actually tied into my Scotland experience as the main character is “Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod” (this will make sense in a later post).

Our trip began in Oxford where all went smoothly—we had a horribly jet-lagged afternoon to see the city center, buy cell phones, and realize that the British do not believe in public trashcans. A few things to know, but also things that aren’t really riveting: we traveled by train through Scotland (mostly in the afternoons arriving to our destinations in the evening), trains are good for viewing the scenery, Brett and Robyn traveled with me (we all get along, it made the trip enjoyable), Joy and her brother joined us for various legs of the trip. Now for the fun stuff. Hogmanay was the giant New Year’s Eve celebration, and it was indeed giant. After trekking to and from our apartment (rented for 2 nights) we enjoyed freezing our behinds off as we stood in a little circle on a crowded street from about 10:30-12:30. All of this didn’t seem so bad after enjoying some amazing fireworks and singing “Auld Lang Syne” and “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” with thousands of people.

We spent the next day at Edinburgh Castle (magnificent), went to an American pizza place for dinner, and checked out the pub scene before retiring to the apartment. The castle is definitely one of Edinburgh’s most defining and breathtaking sites. In the middle of this city—between old and new—is a huge outcropping of rock. On this giant mountain/cliff structure sits the castle. At the base of the castle is the Royal Mile, and on the other side of the castle is a steep drop to a valley (which is where Waverly train station is and maybe some gardens). We took to calling this valley between Princes Street (New town) and the Royal Mile/Castle (Old town) “the big ditch.” Classy, right?

p.s. So as not to create an entirely-too-long post, I am leaving out a lot and will add it in later posts, and I will post town by town . . . but please ask questions if there is something I skip that you want details on!

Until next time, enjoy some pictures--they are at the absolute bottom of the page!