Thursday, 14 June 2012

Stopping to smell the English roses

June 10-14

1. I'm never leaving here
2. This week has been so Oxfordian

Monday night we finally got to go as a group to formal dinner at New College. Now for them this is an every night affair. Its so great, because you get a 3 course meal with wine for about 3 pounds which is so cheap. But we had a nice one planned for all of the WISC people so we could all go together. Unfortunately that night it was pouring rain so I didnt bring my robes. I know mom and dad are sad that I dont have the pictures in my robes, but I'll wear them again next week. Anyways, we got there and its the gorgeous dining hall, but at night its all stained glass and the tables are lit with lamps so its like a fancy restaurant. There's bread and wine at all the tables and then they bring the salad. The salad was delicious tomato and mozarella salad, then they brought the main course of teryaki salmon with mixed veggies. Then for dessert we had a lemon tart which was very tasty. So all in all its totally worth getting dressed up in your dress robes every night to go to formal dinner. Theres all the long benches, but just like in harry potter the teachers and faculty sit up on the stage- like thing, and once they come in they bang the gong and everyone stands up. They kind of say grace? And then youre allowed to start eating. Its just very different than anything you would ever find at Mississippi State. But I love the formality of everything.

After that we all went to the cellar in my college, where theres a bar till 11. Everything for students is cheaper so we had all our teachers come down there and it was really a fun time. After that we went out to this club called the Bridge. Its our favorite place to go out to, and the dj is my neighbor in my apartments so we always wave. Its just a small town feeling here.

Tuesday we got to go to Stratford Upon Avon. We took a little bus ride through the country side and passed the castle of the Duke of Marlborough, and lots of fields with sheep. 40 million sheep and 52 million people here. Anyways we got there and had a little walking tour. Its a pretty small town, and all the little towns here are the same with a High street running through the middle with shops. We visited Shakespeare's home, his church and graveyard and all that. It was pretty. Then we went to dinner at a little Italian place which all the restaurants do like a pre theater menu. Then we went to Julius Ceasar at the theater in the round there. It was a really great performance. It was Julius Ceasar, but with an African Shakespeare company, so the props and costume were African. It was really interesting, and a very powerful performance. Those were probably some of the best actors I've seen in my entire life. Then we got back and I had to work on my tutorial paper which was due Wednesday. All day Wednesday I just worked and worked on writing.

I know I've talked about the tutorial system. But its still kicking my butt, and this is really hard for summer school. This week my paper was on the independence of the judiciary in Great Britain and separation of powers between the branches of government. Thats great and all but the only problem is that I need a legal writing class to do this! Oh well, so I went to my tutorial this morning. I'll say it went a little better than the last one, when he told me that paper could just count as practice since it just wasn't right. But this week he had graded it before I got there and he went through the whole grading scale. Everyone elses tutors realize they're Americans and not used to this, but no my tutor is grading me as hard as his actual students. Mind you, he teaches only 3rd year and grad students who have had experience in law. Anyways, so I got a 53 on my paper. Good news is that like exceptional for me. The grading scale is 1st degree, high second, low second, high and low third and fourth. He was so gracious to tell me that he almost never ever gives out firsts and rarely gives out high seconds. So an A here is a 70 and above. But unlike at home its not like you start with a 100 and mark down from there, no you dont even start with a 100. They think thats preposterous and no one makes 90's and such. So I should be happy with my low second. He was really nice and said that it was so much improved from last week and that its equivalent to the papers that his 3rd year students are writing. So i felt alot better this week. I could actually answer some of his questions today. Except he asks the hardest questions, and like I said I need to actually like live here and be a citizen half the time to understand what he's talking about. You know though, when you have a really really good teacher that you just want to be really smart and it inspires you to learn?  Well this trip is definitely doing that for me. I just want to like read every book about everything and actually take the time to learn. Its a completely different environment than at home. I learn a ton from sitting in a room with this guy for an hour, probably way more than I wouldve learned in a semester at home over the course of 4 weeks. Anyways this is why I love Oxford. Its very intellectual and lots of smart people to have really cool conversations with wherever you go.

After my tutorial I went down to Blackwells, which is my new favorite thing. Its the British version of Barnes and Noble but 10,000 times better. Its all these winding little rooms full of books, then across the street they have a music store and art and poster store. I really enjoyed that, then I went to this cute little shop Granola. Its like all organic and gluten free stuff, like tea and scones but they have great ciabatta paninis and weird salad stuff. I LOVE OXFORD! I want to stay forever! Then I got to sit at home and drink tea and read while its raining outside. If you know me you would know that theres probably nothing I'd rather be doing. Im so glad i came here and never want to leave. Sorry everyone in America!
 Anyways I'll upload pictures of stratford soon to fb! xx

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