Workload-wise, this weekend has got to be the most stressful one of all. Essentially, I have about 5,000 words to turn in by Wednesday afternoon. But factor in the fact that all day Monday will be taken up by a trip to West End (to see Matthew Macfadyan aka Keira Knightley's Mr. Darcy!), and a million pages of reading to do before I can even get started on the writing, and... we're officially arriving in can't-function-junction.
Breathe in, breathe out. It's terrible because it's also been one of those days where, no matter what, I just can't crank the words out. Words, I NEED YOU.
Still, though, I'm proud of myself for not overly stressing. Yes, I'm stressing and jittery and want this done. But at the same time, I've been doing a good job of reminding myself that at the end of the day, having to do a couple of essays isn't the end of the world, because I'm in friggin' Europe and I'm allowed to enjoy it and I'm allowed to not force myself to work all day long.
our evening out this week involved an extremely politically correct Boston Tea Party house party... in our own house.
The balance between academics and socializing has been pretty difficult nonexistent. In the sense that... the balance right now is academics = 95%, socializing = 5%. To be fair, we've been going into London and doing fun things and spent a decent amount of money and time getting extra buttery popcorn and British chocolates (Cadbury and KinderBueno, gimme gimme all the chocolates) and curling up with some girls in the house to watch Rachel McAdams's About Time. But we've done a sucky job of putting on sparkles and cutesy outfits and hitting up pubs and bars and clubs.
We have met some very friendly locals, but we want to meet even more. And the essays and the traveling make that a tough job to get done.
The entire Stanford House is flying to Scotland next weekend. It'll be the most romantic Valentine's Day in history, I'm sure. But actually, I'm really excited because we're having a big dinner and celeidh that night and we might be able to go into the Highlands and I'm being forced on a ghost tour and really, it all sounds like a blast.
Next month, we are spending St. Patrick's Day in the motherland itself, Ireland. Hopefully, we'll be cramming a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher in there because gosh dang, that looks outrageously beautiful. Then, we're flying back to Oxford for our program's farewell dinner and then jetting off to Barcelona for a few days. And if possible, we'll slip in a day or two in Paris right after that before returning to London and going back to the USA.
It's weird that I'm going home next month. It hasn't felt very long at all. It's been an incredible privilege getting to study here at Oxford, and here's the thing... I love it here. It's charming, it's rigorous, it's redefined my perspective on academics in a really, really positive way. I could see myself spending many more months here. But at the same time, there's something missing and I miss Stanford like crazy and I'm so, so, so thankful to have gotten to spend a quarter here because it proves to me that Stanford was indeed the institution in which I was meant to spend my undergraduate career. That's a question that's always lingered in my mind, and spending time at Oxford has given me the answer that I needed. The same undergraduate career would've been wholly incomplete without this quarter at Oxford, however.
Never before have I so wished that I could be in two places at once - I feel a deep sense of needing to be right here, right now. But I also feel a longing to be back at home in Stanford, with the sunshine and the fountains and the palm trees and the familiar faces. For now, I'll take Oxford with everything foreign and new and breathtaking, because I can feel the sand slipping away quickly and I want to savor every grain of it, because I know that in no time, no time at all... I'll be back at Stanford, yearning to be back here in Oxford.
Moral of the story: if we were having coffee today, it'd be a lot of me dramatically ruminating over big questions and then trying to sneak in a few minutes of reading for class.