Monday, February 25, 2013

Emily's Visit

This past Saturday was one of my best friends' birthdays, so Emily came to spend the weekend with me to celebrate. She flew up from Geneva on Friday and stayed until Sunday - it was so great to see her, even for just a couple days.

Friday after Emily arrived, we explored Oxford whilst it was still light out (after grabbing some Ben's Cookies AND Moo Moo's milkshakes, go big or go home). We walked around Christ Church and Pembroke Colleges, city center, and then my college St Cross. Oxford isn't very big, so it doesn't take much to see all the major sights. That night we met Lindsay, Nick, and Mike for drinks at the Lamb and Flag. Emily definitely needed a "proper pub" experience while in England.

Saturday we woke up early and headed off to London to spend all of Em's birthday in the city. We started off walking along the Thames, so she could see the London Eye, Parliament, and Big Ben. Very touristy, but it was cool to see (when we weren't ducking to avoid terrorist pigeons).

So London.

From there we passed Westminster Abbey and Downing Street before making our way to Trafalgar Square. Then, one of the definite highlights of the day: CHIPOTLE. Emily and I are both crazy about Chipotle, so we of course had to eat there while in London.

One of Emily's few requests was that we go to King's Cross and get our pictures taken at Platform 9 3/4. It's actually a really cute set up that they have for fans, and there's even a scarf for each house that you can wear. Emily sported her Hufflepuff colors, while I went sans scarf.

From King's Cross we went out to Buckingham Palace because Emily wanted to see the "guards with the funny hats!" which she had a good giggle over. 

After leaving Buckingham, we checked out the Covent Garden area (thanks Mary for the suggestion!) before making our way to the O2 Arena. The biggest part of Emily's birthday weekend was that I got us tickets for the opening night of One Direction's world tour! Our seats were great and the show was even better, but I'll have more on that in a review post I'll put up tomorrow. We showed amazing restraint at the merchandise booths, but if a beer wouldn't have been £5 I think we both could have used a drink...definitely on the older side of the fan spectrum! 

The queue into the tube station from the arena was unreal, and it took us nearly 30 minutes just to get inside the station. We eventually caught the bus back to Oxford around midnight, and by the time we arrived back at mine we were the good kind of exhausted - but of course stayed up for another hour or two talking about our day, typical for us. 

Sunday we grabbed breakfast and just tried to spend as much time together as possible before Emily had to catch the bus to the airport. We had a nice walk around Christ Church meadow and talked about all the stuff we've both been going through living abroad, and our friends back home. It was really easy to forget that we were in Oxford for a moment and imagine that it was like old times back at school. Of course, I think it's just a sign of a good friendship - that your relationship doesn't change, even if your location does.

Sadly, I did have to see Emily off, after plenty of hugs and sad faces. I do hope she can visit again, and if not we'll at least travel together for a bit after my program and her au pair-ship end in June.

Jane xx

Monday, February 11, 2013

What a Weekend!

This past weekend was crazy eventful! So much packed into three days, but they were a great three days and reminded my old, usual undergrad weekends back at Rhodes. But on to the exciting bits...

Friday began with a mad dash to turn in my essay titles for the history faculty's approval before the deadline at noon, then lunch with a few friends at College. That quickly turned into a four hour "hang out and waste away the afternoon" lunch. Friday night my friend Mike had a bunch of us over to his house for dinner. Although it was a long and treacherous (seriously, more streetlights people!) walk, it was really great to see everyone. And, as Izzy pointed out several times, it was 'bonding!'

Saturday, I saw the movies Warm Bodies with my friend Mary. I'm not usually the biggest zombie fan, but I love Nicholas Hoult and hanging out with Mary (she's teaching me her cool London ways). I haven't read the book it's based off of, but I really enjoyed the film in the end. It was cool to see a more 'human' approach to zombies, if you will. Highly recommend if you're looking for a low-key zombie flick (very low on the gore, which I appreciate).

That evening, I met up with Lindsay, Nick, and Mike for baking and drinking. We made zucchini (courgette for the Brits) bread and banana bread with Nutella. Admittedly, they didn't turn out particularly great, but we enjoyed ourselves.

Mike trying out his best chat up line on Nick... 

Sunday evening I had an alumni event for my high school, so I went to London early and made a day of it. I really love London, and would ideally hope to move there after I finish at Oxford. Spending so much time in Oxford has definitely made me miss living in a proper city.

First stop was the Victoria and Albert Museum, where I spent a lot of time touring their fashion exhibit (no surprises there!) before meandering through the sculture rooms. There's a new photography exhibit on display at the moment, called "Light from the Middle East" and it was really amazing. Anyone going to the V&A soon should make sure to check it out.

Pandora and her box.

My FAVORITE photo in the "Light from the Middle East" exhibit. 

After spending the afternoon wandering through the V&A, I fought through awful traffic and line closures to meet my friend Amy for some much needed sweets at Hummingbird Bakery. There's much more of a cupcake culture in the States, and lately I've really been missing Muddy's bake shop back in Memphis. Hummingbird came highly recommended (thanks Mary!), and I was not at all disappointed. We both got "Black Bottom" cupcakes to eat there, which are chocolate cake with cheesecake in the center, and I also took a red velvet home for breakfast this morning. They were definitely quite pricey, as is everything in London/the UK, but totally worth it to satisfy my homesick sweet tooth and see Amy for a bit.

From there I went to my alumni get together, which was very graciously hosted at an alumni's home. It was really nice to talk to other LSMSA alumni, and hear about what's going on at the school since we've all left. I was the youngest there by a few years, but it was incredible to hear what the other alums have gone on to accomplish - finance, economists, working for the State Department - it made me feel totally under accomplished, sitting here earning my master's degree in a Humanities field that I'm not even going to pursue as a career. Definitely a bit of a reality check, but I think in a good way. 

Mostly, it was just comforting to speak with other people from Louisiana and from LSMSA, and talk about the school and our time there. I'm definitely looking forward to future alumni events now.

I got the bus back to London at 11pm, and returned to a very snowy Oxford - my least favorite Oxford, if I'm honest. Thankfully it was nearly all gone by the time I woke up this morning - this southern Louisiana lady does NOT do well in the snow!

This weekend was exhausting in all the best ways...unfortunately, now it's homework time!

Jane xx

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eat ALL the Crepes!

So, back in November (yes, I know, three months ago and I'm just blogging about it now...we've discussed this already) I went to Paris for a long weekend with my lovely friends from Rhodes, Emily and Sarah.

Emily is an au pair in France, and Sarah is on a master's program in Edinburgh, so I was really excited to meet up with them for a much needed visit. Sarah and I arrived Thursday, Emily on Friday, and we thoroughly enjoyed our few days in Paris. We rented a flat to stay in instead of a hotel/hostel, and it was just so nice to pretend it was ours! I won't bore you with details and what we did every single moment of each day (mostly because that's now long forgotten in my old age), but here are a bunch of pictures from our trip!

Jane xx

I'm Alive!

Yes, it's true, I haven't died or gone missing or fallen off the face of the Earth. I have, however, done a really awful job of keeping up with this blog!

My New Year's Resolution is to be BETTER, in all aspects of my life - and this blog is clearly something I need to be a lot better at. So, I am going to do a couple catch-up posts from last term/Christmas, and then...things are going to change.

This is no longer going to be a "Jane at Oxford!" blog, because honestly it's boring for both of us. Instead, I'm transforming this into a more traditional "lifestyle" type blog - me, what's going on in my life, any and every thing. That means there will be more fashion, personal/introspective moments, and all around "I'm 23 and this is my life"posts. Also, I'll be using a more multimedia approach - audio clips from my radio show, videos so you can see my lovely face, etc...

I will, of course, write about Oxford and my experiences here, but the fact is...Oxford's not the most important thing I've got going on right now. I'm trying to do some soul searching that only seems physically possible in your early-mid 20s, and that's honestly more interesting than telling you how much time I spend in libraries (it's A LOT, by the way).

I hope this change of direction doesn't deter any of you from continuing to visit my blog. If anything, it'll probably be much more interesting now!

Jane xx