The contrast between today and yesterday could scarcely be greater. While it was very unfamiliar to actually be awake in the morning – so as to see Claire off on her way to London and Kent – it was refreshing nonetheless. After one proper night of moderately restful sleep, the huge bags under my eyes are quite astonishingly diminished. Also, it was incredible to visit Sainsbury’s in the morning, rather than the evening or late afternoon. Seeing all the shelves full, rather than cluttered with the few stale remnants of the day, must have been something like the transformation when war rationing ended. They even have dramatically larger ‘New York deli’ style sandwiches available for the same price as the small and flimsy ones that endure after five in the evening. Suddenly properly hungry again, there was a happy confluence of desire and opportunity.
After walking Claire down a brightly lit St. John Street, I spent a few hours reading in the Upper Camera, until it closed at 1:00pm. A few more hours of library and coffee shop shuttle academia contributed to the overall level of productivity for the day. Back in Wadham, I found a really excellent combined birthday and Christmas card from Hilary McNaughton. Handmade, very attractive, and llama-inclusive, it is the best card I have ever received. Many thanks.
The day was productive, as well as enjoyable. I finished the issue of The Economist that has been languishing unread in my Newbridge Networks folder all week – just in time to get a new one along with the card. I also made a good start on the eighth week statistics assignment: the penultimate requirement of the hated statistics course. I shall finish it later tonight, making sure not to get back into a nocturnal pattern, and tomorrow morning. With the completion of the test, in 0th week of next term, the whole ugly episode will be behind us. Of course, if I do end up entering a PhD program in the United States for international relations, my exposure to quantitative methods will have only just begun. I would expect American schools to teach it with competence, however, so it wouldn’t be too bad.
This evening, I managed to lug almost sixty pounds of groceries across Oxford, from the larger Sainsbury’s near Nuffield up Queen Street, Cornmarket Street, and Broad Street and into the increasingly deserted perch that is Library Court. I am now well provided for in everything except bagels and cheese. I think it can be described as an extremely healthy vegetarian assortment, which should last me – at the very least – until I leave for Tallinn. May my love for red pepper houmous never diminish. One that greatly exceeds the meagre capacity of my small fridge, even. Good thing it’s so cold outside.
Tomorrow, I am meeting Margaret for coffee. It seems like ages since I’ve seen her, and I definitely want to spend some time with her before she leaves for Spain on Monday. Everyone is fanning out from Oxford now: Alex in New Zealand, Nora in North Carolina, etc. Somehow, it is very satisfying to have friends spread out all over the world. Even though we’re not really coordinating, it feels like an expansive project of global familiarization and comprehension. It strikes me as a useful, important, and social thing to do.
Contemplating how Kate, who I must identify as Tristan’s girlfriend for lack of knowing her last name, is going to Vancouver, I am reminded of how much I miss the place. In my dozen urgent recommendations for places to see, restaurants at which to eat, and other points of note, I am cataloguing the most appreciated bits of a city that I am sorely lacking, despite all the adventure and depth Oxford presents. Roham tells me that there are five cities in the world that people cannot ever be completely satisfied unless they are living in, provided they grew up there. Vancouver, Syndey, and San Francisco are the ones I remember. Perhaps he will fill me in again on the other two. Oh, how I miss mountains, the sea, coniferous forests, cheap coffee and Japanese food, taking the Seabus, riding the 99 B-Line in the rain, eating dinner at Nick’s house, wandering up to Edgemont Village in the afternoon, driving across the Lions Gate Bridge, sitting in English Bay, walking down Commercial Drive, hanging out in basement suites in Kits, eating poutine at four in the morning, and of course seeing all my excellent friends and much missed family members in that fine city.
More eclectic than usual comments:
- Take a look at these sweet Christmas toys. By ‘sweet,’ of course I mean ‘absurdly hilarious.’ My favourite: Star Wars: Jedi Force: Han Solo With Jet Bike. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.
- I miss my Calvin And Hobbes books. Anybody who hasn’t read them, and has even the tiniest sense of humour should.
- Nobel Prize Winner, Mohamed ElBaradei: “Nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.” Very true.
- One year ago today, I mailed my application to Oxford.
- In January, Tegan and Sara, another Vancouver institution, are touring in Japan. Cool.
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- Here is an article on biodiesel well worth having a look at, entitled “Worse than Fossil Fuel.”