Hollis, Martin and Steve Smith. Explaining and Understanding International Relations. Chapter 4: Understanding:
“When it rains, those who predicted otherwise are proved wrong and those who refuse to believe it is raining get as wet as anyone else.”Â
We had university orientations today, which ranged from useful to quite pointless. The best part about them was meeting Margaret Irving, who is doing her M.Phil in economics, and Kate Stinson, who is in my program. Kate was kind enough to show me to the Manor Road building, where the Politics and International Relations Department is located. It is right beside her college: Sain Catz. Aggressively modern, the Manor Road building looks absolutely brand new, though ultimately quite uninspired. It is a collection of concrete and glass that looks like it will be highly functional for working in, but still ends up feeling a bit like the shamelessly western shopping malls that I found littered around Prague.
Wadham Colleg received my replacement Bodeleian card today: also spelled wrong. On a better note, the college fixed my sink this morning, which has been incredibly slow at draining since I arrived. In the afternoon, after attending a second batch of less than useful international orientation sessions, I spent a while drinking tea in my room with Nora, listening to miscellaneous music while I read my Hollis and Smith and she read Lolita: the only fictional book I brought with me.
Later, a whole group of new and existing Wadham students headed up to a pub between here and Merifield, the graduates only accommodation about a mile from here, where Bilyana lives. The pub itself was mediocre, but I met some interesting people. Foremost among them: Melati, an Indonesian-born M.Phil student in oriental studies. Born in Indonesia, she lived in San Francisco much more recently and did her undergraduate work at the University of Chicago. I hope very much that I shall see her again.
After wandering back from the bar, amidst all the minor discomforts of a serious downpour, we headed to the JCR bar and then the MCR with bottles of cheap college wine in hand. While at least twenty graduates are still there – a cluster of Canadians perhaps still singing “Barrett’s Privateers,” now seemed the time to take my leave.
I’ve met a great many people on the superficial, ‘let’s exchange names and talk amicably for a while’ level. I’ve met far fewer people on the ‘I anticipate and look forward to future conversations’ level. Priority one, right now, is to make a few actual friends. By that, I mean people who I care about in a specific and directed way and who feel likewise about me. Such people are the foundation of my sanity and whatever accomplishments to which I can lay claim. That position described, I should get a bit of sleep.
PS. There are so many Rhodes Scholars about that one feels utterly ashamed about having no particular academic distinction.