Saturday, April 30, 2011

Playing Blog Catch-up

Dear Blog,

Forgive me, for I have not posted. For the first time since I started using you, I feel that I have let you down. Two full days have passed, and I have not posted. What I planned not to have happen has happened - my life became hectic, and my blogging crumbled.

End crying over spilled milk. The past three days have been quite good, if busy. The main events have been getting acquainted with our colleges, having my first tutorial, and the Royal Wedding(!). The past couple days also featured some fun nights out with Stanford friends at Oxford pubs.

On Wednesday, we all got tours at our colleges. Each college has its own land, buildings, history, and feel. I belong to Corpus Christi College, known as one of the smaller colleges. The college has maybe three hundred students at it at any given time. I will go there for my meals during the week, and I now have access to their library, grounds, common room, and student activities. I've eaten there a couple times now. I'm not impressed yet, but I still have hope. I've made a few friends at the college. The students there, like people most places, seem very friendly when they are approached, but are not too interested in coming to meet us. Here is a picture I took of the iconic pelican monument in the Corpus Christi courtyard.

My first tutorial went surprisingly well. The thought of meeting with an Oxford Lecturer for an hour, where he could openly critique anything I thought or said seemed very daunting. Our first tutorial covered the Hydrogen atom and other two-body, Hydrogen-like systems. A lot of the main concepts were a review for me, but we also went into them with more detail than I had before. I actually learned quite a lot. As for the tutorial itself, my tutor, Dr. Christopher Palmer, was much better than my worst fears but was not anything super special either. He didn't intimidate me the way some Stanford physics professors can. The main thing, though, was that he spent almost two hours with me and my work, which is more than I can say about the entire Stanford Physics faculty combined over almost three years (minus Rick Pam, but I don't think he is faculty). Through the whole thing, I actually felt really good. I knew all my stuff. I spent a lot of time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday working through the problems he assigned, and I answered almost everything he asked me.

The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton was a big event all over the world, but especially here in England. Friday was declared a public holiday for the event. Some friends braved the crowds and traveled into London just to catch a glimpse of the couple in the flesh. I was a bit lamer and stayed in Oxford, where it was a slightly less frenzied celebration. Corpus Christi had a showing of the whole event on a projector in their auditorium. Halfway through the ceremony, the auditorium was packed. Some highlights of the event were watching the looks and smiles William kept giving Kate, Harry's saunter and uncombed hair, the ridiculous hats worn by all the guests in attendance, and the spectacular shots of Westminster Abbey from the ceiling.

Following the royal wedding ceremony, Corpus Christi had its own wedding ceremony - to celebrate the holy matrimony of Foxe and Odham, the College's two cherished tortoises. They are both male, but that's fine here. A bunch of the college showed up for the event. There was an abbreviated ceremony that included recitation of a poem written specially for the event. Here are some photos:

 Sign at the front of Corpus Christi: Kate + Will 4 EVA

"By the power vested in me by the JCR [Junior Common Room], I pronounce you tortoise and tortoise."

If you can't tell, they're holding the tortoises next to each other.

This is the "official" poet laureate of Corpus Christi. I'm not sure if that is a real position.

The nights before and after the royal wedding were good nights to be out in the English pubs. I went out with Stanford friends both nights. At a pub Thursday night, someone at a nearby table had a birthday, and everyone around him sang "Happy Birthday" to him. We decided that, at the next pub we went to, it would be one of our birthdays. Somehow, I got suggested to be the birthday boy. At the next pub, indeed, everyone sang to me just the same. One guy even gave me a flute of champagne.

I kind of felt bad, but not really. I think it's actually less embarrassing to have a fake birthday than a real one. On my real birthday, there's always a feeling of "Aw shucks. All this for me? You really shouldn't have..." On my fake birthday it was more like, "You all think this is hilarious. I don't feel bad about you doing me any obligatory favors, so, if it makes you all laugh, keep it coming." The rest of the night was all really fun. I felt like I got a lot closer to everyone who went out that night.

Friday night was also pretty fun, but not quite as much as Thursday. I think the group was just too big for a while and then it broke into a bunch of groups. I was also kind of tired, so I left a bunch of people at a pub to walk home.

Tomorrow is another really big day - May Day. So, I'll leave it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment