First off my thoughts are with New York City as she battles the flood water and power outages. My heart breaks at the images of the glorious city brought down.
But back to Oxford, this is the week that dreams came true... more dreams that is!
After spending a few days in bed with flu I arose on Tuesday to see go to lunch with my sister. This was a really awesome experience. I have not seen my sister for 10 years, or my niece for that matter! Everyone was so different and it was really fantastic chatting and walking around Oxford together. My niece is absolutely stunning and such a sweet girl so I was a very proud Auntie. In the evening I attended “Short Stories Aloud” which was fab! It really gave me an insight into flash fiction one that allowed me to sink my teeth into the format and give it a go. So this week I have written two flash fictions stories, one non-fiction and one fiction.
On Tuesday I applied for a blogging position with Oxford Fashion Week. Wednesday I got the job!! I am the fashion blogger for Oxford Fashion Week. OMGOSH! I died and went to heaven. Quite literally. I think I danced for an hour straight. I mean literally DANCED!! And then I got the work-load!! It started with writing for Ethical Fashion Fair and spotlighting on various designers at the fair who I interviewed or summarized. Yesterday I started work on the Cosmopolitan Show and received an email from LK Bennett who is going to loan me clothes to wear for a week feature! Once again I died and went to heaven!! I just cannot believe what my life is doing right now. I am in Oxford, on my own, living alone. I am writing, everyday my task is to write. And now I get a job as a fashion blogger, get to mingle with fashion experts, designers, writers... I keep having to pinch myself. I have to pinch myself to believe that I have got myself here and got myself the job. How?! CRAZY!!
This weekend was my culture weekend. Friday night I dressed up “Strawberry Fields” style and went to the Bond “Skyfall” opening night with a large group from our MCR. Then on Saturday I spent the entire day at St. Hilda’s at a Screenwriting Conference where I got to meet with radio producers, TV comedians and series writers, literary agent and producers. The producer in fact took my details as her friend is the producer behind the original “Bloody Sunday” film and might be interested in my script! Haven’t heard anything yet but...
Saturday night concluded with a date at the opera where I spent the evening drinking prosecco and watching the Welsh National perform La Boheme. A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!
All in all an excellent week. I keep writing in my journal... “best week of my life” and then something comes the following week that tops it again!! I don’t understand what I have done in my life thus far to become so blessed.
Something to close with... picture of me at polo from Second Week!
I love Bond! I always have and I always will! Long Live Bond! However, I will say this now... on the internet... to my readership... Daniel Craig is the BEST BOND to date. I used to say Sean Connery but Craig is in a league of his own!
This is my SECOND favourite Bond film coming second to Casino Royale.
What I loved about Skyfall is that it is FUNNY! It pokes fun at all the unrealistic things that came before in Bonds. However, it was as sexy as ever and as visually stunning as ever. I loved that this Bond was all about England! It seemed more realistic in a way. A more personal Bond!
Javier Bardem was TERRIFYING - much more so than No Country. He was scary in a Heath Ledger/ Joker kind of way. He really gave me chills.
A character that REALLY brought it all together for me though was Ben Whitshaw as Q. Just pure Brilliance.... and brought a Geeky sex to the table!
The script was actually very clever for a change too.
And I loved the wrap up which allows now for many more Bonds to continue... Forever and ever and ever!
When I told my sister I had seen the Welsh National Opera’s trucks pulling up outside our local theatre she exclaimed with “You’ve got tickets right?” When I told her I had not she freaked out completely bellowing I had too! So when I looked it up and saw La Boheme I danced for joy. Ever since I heard “Rent” was based on this show I became obsessed with it. What really upset me was that Vancouver opera was doing La Boheme this season which mean I would miss it.
My good friend Lawyer-Z accompanied me on Saturday night to what can only be described as a tear fest! The singing was just... jaw-dropping! The set - despite being period they used techno-style greeny screen stuff to project moving images of Parisian roof tops during one scene, to a realistic projection of a wall and dock in another! It was really clever. Also the fade-in and out-curtain made a diamond and was really cool to watch too! Having said that Puccini was the star of this show his power over lyrical phrases, his string work not to mention the story-line! WOWOWOWZA! Amazing night!! (I could not give it full marks because Aida last season was just so good and nothing yet has come up to it!)
There is one person holding up my closet here in Oxford. Her name is Zoe Karssen. An Amsterdam based designer who made an impression on me when I first saw her “Creme de la Creme” sweater on Atlantic-Pacific. I soon found her collection in the new, and I dare say exceedingly beautiful Rebecca Bree on fourth and Alma (my new favourite store) in Vancouver. After getting my sister to pick up a blue “Creme” sweater and sending it across to me in Oxford, via our Mum and a British Airways 747- I became addicted. I wore it to the point of it walking off my back... ok a little disgusting but so true. It was then I ordered directly from the source and a few days later the heavenly pink “Oh La La” sweater arrived at the Somerville college lodge and I began rotating between the two.
So what is it about Karssen that makes her so irresistible? I think it is her rock-and-roll chic. The sweaters themselves are classic- shape, material, and colour. But, and its a big but there is something more than just a pretty sweater. The print, layout, and phrases are different than what we are used to. Its more sophisticated, and classy than the items produced by “Wild-fox”, more elegant than the simple Junk tees you can find in Aritzia. The quality of the items is obvious- they won’t fall apart after one wash... or five. They are also diverse. I can wear them with jeans and hunters to the library one day and then dress them up the next putting a button down shirt under and adding a skirt (someone who does it perfectly is Blair on Atlantic-Pacific). Karssen is edgy without loosing the prep. Which is perfect for my style. Another great thing... she is reasonably priced.
Hey! It is Second Week here in Oxford and things are steadily moving along. A-USA broke my heart and went back to America and I found myself pining poetically for her! I have also been finding things far too much fun resulting in little progression workwise. Having said that, the fun has come and bitten me in the butt and I have a cold today which might keep me inside and in my books for the next few days.
Anyway lets get back to what has been going on. It started with matriculation last Saturday. A true Hogwarts experience of dressing up in gowns (sub-fuscs) parading down to Sheldonian Theatre and receiving blessings in Latin. All wonderfully documented by Camera-M! It was a great night that ended in disaster at Strada restaurant where a friend was served walnuts despite telling the server of his severe nut allergy before-hand. Then there was the over-full sexy-sub-fusc mop that we were turned away from after sexily freezing our butts off for!
Sunday brought Harry Potter Society, a group of nerds that I am happy to be associated with (as a Potterhead myself). Then a swimming test for rowing that I went into feeling confident and came out bedraggled and a failure... (which Poppy laughed at! ... its ok we figured out she thought we were saying I farted not failed so she is not such a bad one year old). The three exercises seemed easy when said aloud but no one tells you they run consecutively without rest inbetween. Swimming 50 metres, treading water for 2 minutes and then diving to swim underwater for 5 meters killed me! Therefore... I failed! But, all is not bad on the sports front. I went to play polo this Friday. Being back in a stable yard was amazing... it literally took all my physical strength to resist rolling in the muck heap! Polo itself was fun, although I was on a rather bratty pony who after being smacked on the butt by the instructor decided to buck a few times... haven’t ridden in 4 years so I was pretty proud I did not fall. After the ride I made my way over to the groom and offered my services brushing down my particular pony- Ocean. Which almost got me left behind as everyone else handed over their ponies and walked to the cab!! It has resulted however, in a cowboy walk as my thighs and butt are a little stiff this morning.
This week has also been a collection of meetings and symposiums. The first being Pathways a youth outreach for Oxford University which brings up the brightest and best from local high schools 10, 11 and 12 years and results in graduates leading mini-lectures on their courses! Then on Thursday there was an incredible symposium on Nazi Germanys psychiatric warfare in World War 2- which was scary, and disgusting but once again led me to many a story. Then Friday was a seminar led by DAME PENELOPE LIVELY which rocked my world as she was talking about history and reading and its effects on a writer. What was even better was that Somerville students had tea with her this morning very much one-on-one. In which she wished me luck with my novels and hoped to read one one day! AHHHHHHH!
This afternoon however, is the most strange of my outings as I go to meet a friend from Burgate school who I have not seen since I moved to Canada in 2003. It will be really interesting to see how we have changed... and a little spooky! ... After the fact it was completely awesome!!
Anyway that is my second week busy and informative. This coming week I am hoping it will be a week of WRITING! Fingers-crossed!!
Hello! Freshers week is finished and life has officially begun in Oxford and I am EXHAUSTED!! hehehe! So let me get you up to date on it all!
Freshers week, also known as nougth week... the week to welcome new students and P*A*R*T*Y! Everyday there was something quintessentially British to do during the day and a party/drinks fest at night. The first day saw punting on the river with a bottle of white wine. Truly wonderful, especially when a swan decided he might join us. Besides being punted back and forth across the Thames for over an hour much to the annoyance of the rowers it was a fabulous time. When we got back there was a tea party with the college advisers and tutors. One thing there was plenty of in freshers week TEA... tea with advisers... tea with student union... tea with my friend who finished her DPhil (yeah!!). Then there was the other thing there was plenty of BOOZE... black tie and mocktails... games night WITH wine and cheese... pub race... Bops! There are also boring things at Freshers week such as meeting with the Deans, health and safety talk and IT sessions. But it is always followed up with..... BOOZE!!
K I am kidding... a little!
One of my favourite days was a walk beside the river which brought us to this path, which you would completely overlook except for the gate labelled The Perch. It leads to a beautiful cottage that has been converted into a pub and which Lewis Carroll did his first ever reading of “Alice through the Looking Glass”.
The most entertaining day was the pub race! 4 colleges, 10 pubs, 10 pints. I wasn’t competing but I was having dinner with A-USA at the Eagle and Child when Somerville came through... halfway through the rest. After composing our giggles we decided to head to The Turf and see the outcome of the race. Somerville WON! And everyone was plastered!! The funniest night of all time.
Another major event this week was the coming up dinner. Being the only Creative Writing Student at the dinner (one of only two at Somerville) I had to dine with the English department. It was a grand occasion dressing up in a fancy dress and eating a three course dinner accompanied with wine in the grand hall and listening to a rather moving speech by the Principal. It really felt like the sorting of houses in Harry Potter... I kid ye not. I just needed to be wearing my time turner and carrying my wand!!
Finally the biggest event of all at Freshers is the Freshers Fair, all the clubs come out and invade the Examination buildings.... which are HUGE. Ballroom after ballroom after ballroom filled with every club you could possibly image and ALL heckling at you. Of course I headed for writing, singing, brass band, and riding groups signing up left right and center. Sometimes signing up for things I didn’t even mean too. One however that completely filled my life with joy... The Harry Potter Society.... HECK YES!! It was unbelievable to the sights, ears and now to my life as I have to go to all these clubs!!
A game of football at University parks, an ice skating meet and greet and a little bit of food poisoning brought me to the end of Freshers Week and the second visit of my Mum. It was great to see her again and she brought me some gorgeous housewarming presents including a pillow, union jack place mats and a poppy tray! We then spent the day running around Oxford looking for athletics gear as I began this week training with the rowing and hockey teams.
After Mum left I headed to University Chorus a great choir held just across the road at Keble college Chapel. An incredible building, an incredible conductor and an incredible result. At the end of Eighth week we get to perform Haydn’s “Creation” at the Shedonian theatre outside the Bodleian Library. AMAZING! I am so excited!
Talking of the Bod that is where I have spent most days this week working in the upper reading room writing poem after poem after poem. I have never felt so inspired and I am working my ass off at staying so.
Monday night also saw my first hockey practice and guess what folks.... I SUCK! I mean I suck big time. No one in the world could suck more than me. Little Timbits players would out skate me. So that might be a club drop out. Only thing is the team is filled with amazing girls.
Basically every night this week I have been out to a newspaper meeting- the Oxford Student to be exact. Stage Section. Screen Section. Features Section. I have already written two articles for this weeks paper in two separate section. So I will keep you posted if I get publication!
I also met with my Christian Union... all undergrads which was different but exciting to meet and greet and share the bible with each other over fairly large pizzas and tea!
Thursday night was pure magic. A-USA and I went to the polo club social. We walked into a Ralph Lauren ad. I am talking skinny pants in multiple shades of bright and one chain-mailed jacket... I kid you not! The best part.... bottle after bottle after bottle after bottle of Prosecco. I was in heaven!
Now what I am about to say might shock some people so I recommend sitting down. I have also been.... Working Out! Yes! Seriously! ME! It started with core workout in the quad and this morning I was out at 7AM running. I know? NUTS! I compensated that though today cause I have done nothing all day. Gone no where. Sat in my room and watched downloaded TV in between writing my two articles for the paper and figuring out my creative assignment. Tonight I am heading to Magdalen college for a bar-swap and tomorrow is the BIG MATRICULATION CEREMONY! Which I am incredibly excited about.
So that is me! That is what is going on! Fresher week and First week have both finished now its all work work work.... and PARTY!!!!
I actually wrote this post four days ago but on posting it... it vanished! Typical. I was so ****ed off I waited before re-trying.
So! A lot has happened since we last chatted. For starters my course intensive has finished and I have moved into Somerville.
Classes were pretty crazy to be honest. I have never had to much fun in my life! Both critical and creative were pushing and intriguing and absorbing and WONDERFUL! Basically I loved it. We read our work on Tuesday night. Everyone was so different and diverse. I was terrified... especially when I downed my wine before getting up and had that horrible feeling that I was going to burp the entire way through! (I didn’t.... thank the Lord!) What is really ridiculous was this time round my favourite day of writing was poetry... and I am NOT a poet. It was amazing. Especially the creative side- the beginning free writing exercise and condensing it into a poem brought me a great character and with her a story I want to investigate!
Wednesday night brought the end of the first Residence and my moving into Somerville. It was an adventure from the moment I left Rewley House! Starting with the cabby who took one look at my three suitcases, duffel bag and cornet and had a little melt down before eventually changing me into a different cab. This cabby took my luggage but once I told him the destination he had NO idea how to get there! (Thank goodness I had walked there on Sunday)! When we pulled up outside the college it was pitched black... “I think it is closed” he said!! WHAT! He dumped me and my bags on the sidewalk and drove away. I walked in. The Porter was there with his torch and informed me that everything was down. As I was beginning to freak out a PostDoc came in and introduced herself to me. We got my room key and struggled across to my new building. When we got to my room I was immediately greeted by an office block... not very Harry Potter. But in the light it might be better. So I went for hot chocolate (D&G best ever) and waited for the lights. When they came on the room was not better so I emailed the Housekeeper to switch. The morning was no better when I opened the curtains to a window full of office workers and me in my pajamas! I emailed again! Then I headed out to international student induction. This was when it really hit me I was here. Walking across the city to get to the Examination Rooms. The course was a little BLAH so A-USA headed out for a shopping spree going to Boswells and buying everything for my room as well as heading to the Varsity Store to equip ourselves in college paraphernalia. When I got back to campus I had an email saying I could move across the hall to “2” with a view over the chapel and quad... AMAZING!
I was so happy and quickly started unpacking whilst A-USA watched Downton. My building opens out onto Little Clareton Street and with it an Italian. After almost a week of Meat and Two Veg it was nice to indulge in Pasta.
The second day of orientation was better starting with a class on cultural awareness where we got to discuss the British ability to drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney! Then there was a tour of the city.
After which I finished my nesting with a grocery shop and a dinner of pot noodle, curly wurly, and devonshire custard!
Saturday was finally a day to sleep in and relax, do some studying and acclimatize. The evening was fun as I bundled up with A-USA to go to the Kings Arms for dinner and then on a ghost tour of the city (on a full moon).
It was phenomenal and once again set my imagination and writing abuzz. Nothing so much as the ghost of CS Lewis that haunts the lamppost and doorway that inspired Narnia!
Sunday my Mum and Auntie Debbie arrived so I played tour guide after which essentials (Sub-Fuscs etc.) were bought and then they went off leaving me to begin Fresher’s week with wine at the Principals house, followed by pizza and beer in the common room.
Today Fresher’s Week really began with Punting down the river this morning (and were followed by a swan), tea and cakes with advisers and tutors this afternoon, and this evening a black tie and cocktail evening! This weeks looks to be the most crazy ever and I could not be more excited!!