Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cultural Afternoon

I went to visit my classy, literary friend in London. The logistics somehow worked, and we met up in a coffee shop outside of Victoria Station.

“Where do you want to go?” she asked. She started listing museums, libraries, important monuments, and various cultural landmarks.

After much deliberation, we hopped on the tube to Kings Cross Station. We found Platform 9 ¾ and spent an afternoon taking pictures with the trolly going into the wall, and (with much literary credit) noting all of the muggles in the station.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An English Camping Trip

The headmistress asked me if I’d go camping with some of the girls this weekend, to which I readily agreed. I was provided with camping supplies, which were tied in bows with ribbons (the headmistress is always put-together, and I can’t imagine her camping). And I set off to Derbyshire.

English camping is a funny thing. Instead of going out into the wild hinterlands, campsites seem to pop up in random fields and lawns. Our first campsite was the lawn of a hostel, next to a café. Dozens of tents were set up in the field, and everyone was laboring over boiling water with candles and things.

I realized that despite the fact that I’ve been camping hundreds of times, I’ve never set up a tent. It is usually my brother or some pedantic person putting poles together and so forth. My first attempt included some artistic revisions that I had made to the instructions (because the writing is so dull that even in desperate circumstances I couldn’t finish the page). After I set up the tent I got bored and ate all of my provisions.

I wanted to give the girls some s’mores but the only trees in sight were protected by little fences. So I had to break off some branches in secret, and we roasted marshmallows over candles. They don’t have graham crackers in the UK, so I had to use digestive biscuits.

I went to pubs, went shopping, hiked a bit (the countryside is beautiful), and I got to explore Chatsworth House on the last day (where they filmed Mr. Darcy’s house in Pride & Prejudice). There was a hedge maze on the grounds! I was filled with excitement upon entering the hedge maze, like the children who went in with wonder in their eyes. But after ten minutes I was mumbling, “$&#!ing hedge maze!”

It was different, but definitely an acceptable way to go camping!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cleaning London

I always make fun of my mom and dad for being pedantic when they pack their suitcases, making sure that everything is tucked away in the right place in the right bag. I just make sure that I have everything that I need, and just a few things that I don’t, and hope for the best.

Well when my suitcase was in commute to the UK, probably over the Bermuda Triangle (hush if you’ve ever looked at a map), my shampoo popped open and spilt all over a pile of my things. I washed off my black flats in my shower when I got to Oxford, and I wore them a few times.

But an unfortunate habit of the weather in the UK is that it rains sometimes. I went on a trip to London with the school to tour The National Theater and Parliament, and it began pouring cats and dogs.

The rubbing of my tights in my flats activated the shampoo (science), and foam started erupting out of my shoes. I trailed it across London, leaving a pleasant smelling confusion in my wake. The bus driver made a joke about me walking up and down the bus to give it a good clean.

Today I think I’ll buy some new flats. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Francis Boyle

We took the girls on a walking tour of Oxford on Sunday morning. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable about all of the colleges and traditions of the town. She must have lived in Oxford for a long while. She had anecdotes about old kings and former pupils who had become famous, and so forth. We got to a plaque on a wall on High Street, commemorating Francis Boyle. The tour guide asked if anyone studied physics to which the eleven-year-old girls all responded in the negative. The tour guide said, ‘Gather ‘round, and I will tell you about Boyle’s Law!’ She waited for everyone to enter within hearing distance and give her undivided attention before she said, ‘Boyle’s Law was quite important for physics. It did something related to science… I’m not quite sure what exactly it is. I don’t actually study physics, myself…’ I laughed, and the girls all giggled. That is exactly how I would’ve given that part of the tour.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Disney Questions

The other day I was in the office, helping to grade papers. The headmistress had put together a 200 question quiz for the girls, and the highest marks in each year would be given a prize.

It was all a muddle of busywork to me, but the questions were cute. They had questions about authors, quotations, famous duos, and things of that sort. They had a section about Disney characters. The questions went along the lines of, “Who has a midnight curfew?” And the girls would write, “Cinderella” for a check.

There were a few questions of which few students knew the answer. On the Disney section it was, “Who was Pongo’s wife in 101 Dalmations?” The answer was “Perdy” but when I was in the office, quietly toiling, I burst out laughing because one of the students had written “Predator”.

… I’d watch that film.