Week 7: Photos, Perrot & Panic Mode

Hello hello (turn the radio on, it’s Friday night etc)! I’ll make no bones about the fact it’s pretty hectic now with just a matter of days still to go, and I think the Panic Mode button has been pressed somewhere in my head…To that end, I won’t write a huge deal about last week, which was 2nd week of Trinity 2016, but will provide you with pictorial evidence instead.

On Monday Magdalen hosted something called the Perrot Oration, a fancy scholars’ dinner where there’s a speech in Latin about the previous year of college events. It was a nice opportunity to see other fourth-years and chat a bit about plans for next year, as everyone seems to have such interesting jobs and postgraduate degrees lined up! I haven’t met too many people staying in Oxford, but the Magdalen MCR is usually a really diverse community, so it’ll be nice to meet new people next year! I’m always a fan of change, as I think new people and events bring dynamism and energy to places. (Forgive my moody face and errant hand in the selfie – I had about five seconds before the bus arrived!)

This was the week that the weather finally took a turn for the summery in Oxford, and I celebrated by having an outdoor lunch with a friend and then reading an essay by Thomas Mann on the grass at Lincoln. (Look at me being all prospectus-worthy.) This week I read his 1939 novel Lotte in Weimar, which imagines Charlotte (from Werther) visiting Goethe late in life and what might have happened. It’s a really excellent novel, and I was supposed to write an essay on it at the very end of my second year, but I didn’t understand the book and couldn’t quite be bothered to make myself work when it was warm and sunny and I was recovering from illness. Luckily, this time round I really feel like I understood the book and what was going on, which was a huge achievement as I’d actually been pretty disappointed when I’d felt like it was too complex for me. (It didn’t help that the only existing English translation by the notorious Helen Lowe-Porter is questionable at best and downright wrong at worst…)

If you live in the UK you’ll know that Thursday was a really important day, as we had a multitude of elections! I think this was our first time voting in our new ward, St Mary’s, and it felt very important indeed to troop down to our local church and pop our papers in. We were pretty pleased with the result, and with the quality of candidates in our ward, who were all very friendly when they came round canvassing! I also took advantage of a little bit of free time to go to G&Ds and have ice cream with my best friend, as there’s something about nice weather that just requires an ice cream! We also had lunch outside the following day in the Botanical Gardens, which are FREE if you’re an Oxford student and conveniently located just opposite Magdalen College!

Saturday evening brought a fun diversion – I read from the Old Testament in chapel Evensong, which is something I always enjoy! I like our acting chaplain a great deal, so always agree immediately when he asks me to help him out!

I tried to spend as much time out of the house as possible the following day, so took my books and sat outside at some of the cafes on Cowley Road. I had intended to revise Faust for my Goethe paper, but tried for three days to read it and failed, so replaced it with Götz von Berlichingen instead. That unfortunately wasted a lot of time, so I’m still behind on both Spanish translation (have my language tutor in my inbox asking why I haven’t been in grammar class, which feels a bit like school and is quite strange at this stage, as I thought people would be okay to attend when they felt like it two weeks before exams!) and Spanish literature in general, which is a bit worrying.

I’m still trying to do things I like, like wearing makeup and getting fresh air, having good breakfasts and listening to The Archers on a Sunday morning. It’s hard, because I’m worried I don’t do enough and take far too many breaks!

I know I haven’t written too much about my work, so if you have any questions let me know! I also have a countdown at the bottom of my page until the end of my degree – it’s getting close now, so any and all words of advice and encouragement are very, very welcome…

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