Hello everybody! The topic of this post is, I assume, obvious – Dana’s visit (for those of you who don’t know, Dana is my friend from the camp I worked at last summer)! I just finished the last major edit of my final creative writing work, and it’s only 8:21pm two days before it’s due. That means that I am feeling very restless and fearful that tonight could end up being boring. So – BLOG POST! How exciting! Note how I’m using too many exclamation points!!!!!!
Moving on. Dana’s visit left me with quite a lot of work to catch up on, so it’s been a few weeks now since it happened, but I’ll try to remember what we did as best I can. Highlights include Dana accidentally spraying herself in the face with a bottle of shampoo in a Boots store, and English people laughing at the “it’s like slang, from England” joke during a viewing of Mean Girls.
She arrived on a typically rainy English day. I promptly dragged her off to the local farmer’s market to harass Khalil, who was there to sell the Radwans’ products. We made plans to go to the farm that day, but not before we went to G&D’s for some of their famous pizza bagels. Later, Ruby gave us a ride to the countryside, where Dana met the Radwans and we went for a nice, wet walk in the fields. It was really nice to get back out there, especially with someone who seemed to appreciate how great those walks are as much as I do. We chased a bunch of lambs and got chased by their mothers, as the birthing had just happened on the farms. I noticed that, being the jaded traveller that I now am (ha), I felt marginally less impressed with all of the old buildings we came across in the middle of fields. This made me kind of sad and happy at the same time…but my state of mind in relation to this year abroad will be discussed in my next post.
That night we had dinner at the Thai restaurant Asiyla took me to when she was here in December, which was nice. Afterwards Dana (rightly) began purchasing a plethora of English candy and we watched part of A Very Potter Musical when I should have been working (HA WORK I’M DONE WITH TERM YESSSSSSSS).
The next day I sent Dana off on an adventure to Blenheim Palace, as I had already paid the duke who owns it 18 pounds to tour his house once before and wasn’t keen on doing it again. Plus, I had to work for five hours, and I wanted to give her something fun to do. She seemed to enjoy it, and I KNOW she enjoyed it more than I enjoyed work. That night we both had a nice, silent few hours of studying…pretty much the only time that happened all week.
Monday was Oxford day. I took her around to all the usual sights – Mansfield, Christ Church, the Bod, etc. On Tuesday we went to London. Dana wasn’t sure of what she wanted to see, so we ended up just sort of wandering around past all of the major sights. The only thing that was new for me was the interior of Westminster Abbey – I’d never paid to go inside before. It was pretty cool – mostly a collection of aristocratic people’s graves. It was so big and separated into so many rooms that it was hard to tell where events like the royal wedding had taken place. By the end of the day Dana felt like she hadn’t seen or done enough in London, so she decided to go back the next day when I had a football match in Coventry.
That day, Wednesday, started badly and got better. Well, Dana can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure for her it was just good – she got to go to Camden market. What did I do? I travelled hours away after sleeping terribly to a football match against a team that would end up beating us by so many points that I don’t remember the score. The weather was horrible, too – it was surprisingly cold and the wind was so strong that it felt like a wall to run into. Plus, I was still depressed about my dog dying (more about this in the next post too). I spent the ride home in a huff, and when Dana’s train from London came in too late for us to go to the formal hall I’d already paid for and looked forward to, I was not happy. We were going to go to the formal hall instead of the football crewdate, which was also happening that night, so when the formal hall fell through I suggested that we go to the crewdate after all, since it’s a uniquely Oxbridge experience. We debated for a while, and finally decided to go dressed up in our formal clothes and everything. We wanted to bring a bottle of wine with us, but naturally, since I hardly ever buy alcohol and I’m three years older than the drinking age in this country, I forgot that I needed an ID. This meant that we had to go all the way back to my room and get my ID, buy the wine, and walk ALL the way across Oxford to the site of this crewdate. By the time we got there, we were at least an hour late and less than enthusiastic about going in. I was exasperated, exhausted, and angry. But we did go in, and we were very glad for it. It was a very crowded and very fun crewdate – the perfect way to end a crap day.
So, we’ve arrived at Thursday. This was the day that Ethan, our English friend from camp, came to visit us. There’s not too much to report here – it was nice to see him, and we basically just walked around Oxford. At some point I left them to do work at my café…they made fun of me for going to Oxford…nothing very exciting. The day ended in my laundry getting soaked by a washing machine, so I spent a thrilling few hours dealing with that.
Friday was Dana’s birthday!!!! Hopefully, she’ll look back on it as a good one. We spent most of the day in Bath, which was great to visit again. Bath, maybe even more than Oxford, is FULL of old buildings. With its importance in Georgian England as a spa for the rich, it’s basically my ideal city. At the same time, however, there’s something I don’t like about it…for some reason it feels fake to me. Like it’s just a tourist destination and nothing else, but I don’t think that’s even true. I think I might just feel that way about it because Jane Austen hated Bath – she thought the people there spent their time in really superficial ways, which was probably true. Am I aware that two-hundred years have passed since she lived there? Vaguely. Yes. But Jane’s word is gold. Anyway, Dana and I had delicious tea and cake at a teashop to celebrate her birthday. Then we made our way back to Oxford for a fantastic night of champagne and chocolates, and a Glee/Mean Girls viewing with Priya and some other freshers. It was a pretty full day, and hopefully a great birthday for Dana.
She left the next day, which was sad. I have really great memories of her visit, though, and I wish more of the friends who are reading this could come.
More news about the (rather eventful) second half of Hilary term in a few days. Until then –