Saturday, July 30, 2011
I know I've been here a month, and I haven't posted one thing. I'm terrible, and I don't know where to start. Oxford isn't quite what I imagined it would be. I'm having a good time, but parts of this summer have been absolutely incredible. For instance, many of my friends are here, and I love going out with them, staying in, and traveling around the country with their company. It's fabulous. My class is great because I get to go see all of these performances, but academically, I don't think I'm growing that much. But I can't really complain about seeing 10 plays in 5 weeks with some pretty huge actors. So here are some of the highlights:
Plays: I saw Merchant of Venice with Patrick Stewart as Shylock. The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford has an incredible stage (called a thrust) where the audience basically surrounds the three sides of the stage. This means people sit closer and get to see more. I love it. Stewart was pretty awesome, but the play was set in Vegas and included a lot of stereotypes that really made my questions some of my own feelings about people. It was great. I've also seen Much Ado about Nothing with Eve Best, Cardenio (not by Shakespeare), Macbeth, City Madam (by Philip Massinger, not Shakespeare), and All's Well that Ends Well. I saw two at the Globe, and the rest have been in Stratford (which feels like a second home now). I have four left: Henry IV part 1 and 2 in Bath!, Midsummer Night's Dream in Stratford again, and . . . Richard the III with none other than KEVIN SPACEY! I'm so excited about that one. Spacey is one of the best villain actors alive and he's playing one of Shakespeare's most villainous characters. Can't wait.
I only have two weeks left until I'm home, so this last week we are seeing all four productions before my final project is due for class and then I'm finished. It will go by too quickly.
Trips: I went to London a few times with friends and for class, but I got to see some of the main attractions. Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and a few art galleries. oh and the Thames river, which is awesome.
I also went to Scotland last weekend. I went with five other people, we took the train 5 hours to Edinburgh and stayed in a hostel two nights. We stayed on the Royal Mile mostly, which is where most of the tourist attractions are anyway. We went to Edinburgh Castle and hiked up Arthur's Seat (trip highlight for me). We also spent Saturday afternoon at the Jazz Festival, which was another trip highlight. I picked up some souvenirs and came to the conclusion that Scotland is a place worth coming back to. The people are great and I would love to spend more time there. I had an awesome time, but mostly because I went with an awesome group. We all stayed in the same room so we got to know one another pretty well. Good friends, good fun, good place, good times. I even tried Haggis and it was too bad, though I couldn't quite get over the contents of Black pudding to swallow that down. . .
This weekend I took it nice and easy. Thursday we had what is called a High Table dinner, which is very formal. We all dress up and have a serious meal with wine and great food. It'd great fun. We have one about once a week, and this week I got to sit at the high table with our school's director because was honored this summer with a named scholarship. It's a pretty big honor, but I don't get any extra money besides the financial aid I already got. It just means that this financial aid came from a fund. It's pretty great. I went out Friday night after a day of class, so an 80's Dance Party was just what I needed. Today, I slept in late and spent the day at the Botanical Gardens with one of my best friends Amy. It was a great sunny day and I soaked it up. Tomorrow I'm off to Bath and hopefully next weekend I'll get to Wales. That will be my last adventure before I wrap things up probably. I'll be home before I know it. Enjoy the pictures, and I'm sure I've left things out, but that's what happens when I wait so long to post.