Afternoon with itinerant friends


in Daily updates

Margaret, Nora, Ellen, Nick, and I in The Turf

Happy Birthday Darren Thompson, Kristina Meakin, and Spencer Keys

Seeing Nick and Ellen today was good fun. I had my first opportunity to serve as an Oxford tour guide, and I tried to cover some of the lesser known places. We ducked through a half dozen colleges, the Codrington, and very briefly into the natural history museum. We also had dinner at the noodle place on the northwest side of Gloucester Green: my first real dinner out in Oxford. Following with my veggies in black bean sauce, I got a fortune cookie with an inspiring message inside: “You are the guiding star of his existence.” How nice.

Later, having some drinks at the Turf with Nora, Margaret, Nick, and Ellen allowed for some engaging penta-national discussion. We talked about travel, India, the dangers of nitrogen narcosis, and the strange connections that we keep finding with the nationals of other countries. For instance, the Rhodes Scholar friend of Nick’s who we met in Starbucks today – with whom he studied economics in Brisbane – is now in the Economics M.Phil with Margaret, the friend of someone (me) who studied law and economics with Nick in Vancouver. It’s also interesting to think that, among us all, only Ellen comes from a nation never colonized by Britain.

Nick is an Australian lawyer who served as a fellow member of the ‘box seats’ for Robert Gateman’s law and economics class at UBC during my final year there. We ended up arguing on the same side for the moot carried out as part of that class, about the non-therapeutic sterilization of mentally handicapped people, as well as living rather close together in Fairview. In a few days, he is leaving for India, where he will be spending about a month. He bought his anti-malarial medication at the Boots on Cornmarket Street tonight: a kind of final reminder of the imminence of departure, I suppose. I look forward to seeing whatever photos he ends up posting on his blog.

Ellen is Norwegian, and was also studying as an exchange student at UBC. Both she and Nick have spent the past while in Scandinavia, and will be moving to Australia around Christmas time. As part of my ambition to see a good part of a major country on each inhabited continent by 2013 (when I shall be 30), I hope to visit them there soon.

While waiting for Nick and Ellen this afternoon (a bit of a coincidental combination of names, since I have a high school friend named Nick Ellan), I read some of Richard Overy’s Why the Allies Won: the book that I withdrew from the Wadham Library in order to lend to Alex Stummvoll. I quite like the style in which it is written. Despite the fact that next week’s seminar topic is: “Can we explain the post-war economic order by using the theory of hegemonic stability?” I may carry on with reading this book, alongside those more pertinent to the subject under discussion.

PS. Many thanks to Gleider Hernandez, of the MCR executive, for lending me the new Tori Amos CD. I shall document my impressions of it at a later time. It takes me at least a few days to form an opinion about music, and it can take months to develop a stable one.

PPS. This is the 101st post on the new blog.

PPPS. With the start of December comes the start of the next batch of scholarship applications. I need to get on top of that. Last year, I ended up in the top half of the waiting list for the Chevening Scholarship. Now that I am here and they would only need to fund me for one year, I am hoping they will see fit to ease some of my financial worries.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 24, 2005 at 9:36 am

I suspect you will be somewhat disappointed with The Beekeeper. You seem to like Tori’s earlier, more overtly dramatic stuff. This is closer to the lyrical trend in Scarlet’s Walk.

Milan November 24, 2005 at 9:38 am

I found hearing Tori Amos on the P.A. systems of major department stores to be absolutely infuriating. I feel the same way about Simon & Garfunkel. Nobody with real musical talent should ever be put though such awful speakers, overlaid with screaming children and: “Cathleen to cosmetics, please, Cathleen to cosmetics.”

B November 24, 2005 at 10:22 am

By now, you must know Tori and her moods. ‘Soaring triumphant’ and ‘soaring infuriated’ have been on the decline for years – bemused removal is the new emotional channel.

Anonymous November 24, 2005 at 11:05 am


That’s not entirely fair. There is still a great deal of intensity in Ms. Amos’ newer work. It’s just of a more subtle variety.

Anonymous November 24, 2005 at 5:22 pm

Perhaps you could subsidise your education/caffeine habit by running unofficial tours in your spare time? Thanks for a great day!

Nick and Ellen

Milan November 24, 2005 at 5:27 pm

My education habit is far costlier, at least at the present moment. Thanks for the suggestion, though, and for the visit. It was great to see you.

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