To my mild astonishment, I learned last night that the quad that contains the JCR bar is called the ‘Ho Chi Minh’ Quad. While I was aware that Wadham is an almost notoriously progressive college, I retain an ability to be surprised by such things. Perhaps luckily, the place now seems to be filled with noisy colonies of undergraduates, all milling about and playing darts. It’s not a place in which I am likely to while away too many hours. Aside from my room in Library Court and, to a much lesser extent, the library itself and the MCR, I have found no such place thus far. I am hoping that some kind of cheap and tasty curry point might help correct that.
This evening brought with it an attempt to reach the next village over – Marston – by means of an extended walk, which began in quite the wrong direction. Nora and I made it as far as the Hertford College sports grounds, which I later identified using the A to Z map of Oxford which I purchased with Sarah in London. After having spent the last week wandering the not-so-numerous streets of the town, going a bit farther afield was welcome. Among the sights on the walk: the Oxford Castle, alongside the ruins of its predecessor, as well as Nuffield College and the ‘river’ Cherwell. After turning back into town, we wandered the cobbled streets near Merton for a long while. It was there that, halfway up a wall, I took a perch and did my best to impersonate a gargoyle.
While it is odd to comment in writing on a person whilst they are in the room, I can say without danger of offence or misrepresentation that Nora makes a fine wandering companion. The comprehension of a place must always be the comprehension of at least one person as well, and both of those parallel mental developments take place most enjoyably and effectively by means of extended conversation.
Aside from the further development of my intuitive sense of Oxford geography, today was spent in a series of half-hearted attempts at reading the Hollis and Smith book. In addition to that, I configured my Oxford email address (milan.ilnyckyj at politics dot ox dot ac dot uk), though, like my former UBC address, it will serve merely as a forwarding point for GMail. Some of the underlying architecture of the blog underwent some tinkering today as well.
Returning to the panopticon from our long walk, I was confronted with a mass of interesting emails – not the kind of generic UBC mass mailings that clutter my inbox, when it is not full of the most shocking kinds of scams and product offers, but substantive messages from friends. Hearing from friends back home is quite rewarding and does much to dispel the sense of isolation that can accompany a new and strange place. Re-reading and responding to them will make up the first item on the to-do list which I will eventually formulate for tomorrow.
PS. The publishing of this post was delayed by seven hours, due to server trouble.