Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mini Post. Like a Post Vitamin.

So, I leave in approximately two weeks. At this time in two weeks, I will hopefully be through airport security and putzing around in the gateway, buying things I don't need. I plan to spend so much money on this trip. I'm not a spender, ever, but I just can't wait to come home broke. Like for a catharsis or something.

Okay, I'm prattling. But I can't help it. I did a TON of trip stuff today (and by that, I mean shopping), and it has really just brought this whole experience into sharp focus, AND NOW I AM CHOMPING AT THE FREAKING BIT. Oh, please, please, please let these two weeks fly by! I am taking the GREs on Saturday (just wait for that post), but I may as well not be taking them, with how much attention I'm paying now. As in, I can't even find my practice book anymore. I just want to go!

And my friend Jessa is already over there, telling me all about the beauty of Oxford (Jessa is my friend from down the street [read: another college] down near school, and she is also at Oxford this semester). I mean, I am thrilled that Jessa is having a wonderful time. I am thrilled with what she's telling me. But then she mentioned that my college is right next to the library (eek!) and near a great coffee shop (EEK!). Let me outta here!

But because of my shopping spree, I can now add to my pile the following items:

-Some cash-money in £GBPs.

-Small, almost insignificantly-sized travel shampoo/conditioner.

-Other small, insignificantly-sized assorted toiletries.

-A SLEEP-SACK! (thank youuu, Nikita Penett!)

-A new memory card for my camera (read: ancient photography device. We'll see if it lasts this trip).

-Small, insignificantly-sized alarm clock. (………do they have AA batteries in England?)

I'm sure you needed to know all of that, so you can tic off the items on your checklist for me. Not.

Alright. Let me reiterate once more that I am really ready to go.

In case anyone has an extra ticket for, say, tomorrow.

Anyone at all.

Okay. Goodnight now.

-R.L.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Pre-Post

First, I would like to say 'thanks' for all the encouragement on my first post!

Second, I'd like to disappoint you by saying: here's another one!

I think I'm calling this a pre-post, too. I somehow neglected to realize that I still have another TWO AND A HALF WEEKS before I leave. So there might be, how you say, just a few more pre-posts.

Right now I'm supposed to be writing my personal statement (bahahahahahahaha). I even printed out the first draft and did some by-hand editing the old-fashioned way (you know, while playing my gramophone and doing the Jitterbug). But then I realized I haven't updated my lovely readers (if anyone has the stamina to be dedicated to this insane blog) on the Oxford sitch. I've been doing a little bit more in the way of preparing for the trip (scattered applause)! Aaaaaaaand by that I mean I've gathered some things I will need in a pile on my bedroom floor. It's not pretty, but, you know, it's something. Currently on the pile are a duffel bag, my aforementioned travel guide, a folder, and some vitamins. There's some link between those items, but I haven't the time or the psychological wherewithal to figure out what. But apparently I'll be very organized and… healthy.

In other news I've been trying to prep for the courses (called 'tutorials') I'll be taking when I get to old Ox-ford. For example, to prepare for my tutorial on Arthurian legend, I read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, a fictional novel about the Arthurian court that may or may not even adhere to the traditional interpretations of King Arthur legend which I will need to use in class. But that's okay, it was a good waste of time. An 880-page waste of time.

What a flattering book endorsement.

I'm also taking a course on Shakespeare's tragedies (you only take two tutorials a semester), but I've done nothing to prepare for that. I mean, I could say that reading DFW's Infinite Jest has been prep for, say, Hamlet. Come on, you know. When good old Hammy is holding that skull in Act V and he says "Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest."

Poor Yorick, indeed. Anyone? Anyone? Come on.

A bit of a stretch, I guess.

What I HAVE been doing is watching the Sassy Gay Friend series repeatedly on YouTube. I highly recommend them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnvgq8STMGM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwnFE_NpMsE&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKttq6EUqbE&feature=channel

I really hope those links go to the correct place and not somewhere embarrassing. Like my old choir concerts.

Okay and, prompted by the excessive ads on YouTube, can I just take a detour here and ask if there is ANYWHERE, ANYMORE on this EARTH that I do not have to be harassed with advertisements? (You can rest assured that I pronounced that the British way.) But I digress.

And now I finally come to the point of this post: travel advice! From all of you! May I take a poll?

I'm wondering if, since my trip is kind of short (only about 2.5 months), I should just explore the British Isles really, really well, instead of traipsing all over mainland Europe (although the temptation to visit Norway is extremely strong). Please advise.

Furthermore, I am a huge nerd and have been planning to visit all sorts of medieval sites. Which means all of you will be reading about Sutton Hoo and Anglo-Saxon ruins and frieze relief studies of churches for the next three months (sparse applause, coughing). But I doubt that's very exciting for anyone else… SO, if YOU could visit Britain, where would you go? Seriously?

Would you go see the Queen?

Would you visit Scotland, the moors, see the Highland games?

Would you bar crawl up and down the Isle?

Shopping in London?

Camping in the Lake District?

Concert-hopping in Ireland?

Come on, folks, I need some ideas! This is the final hurrah before serious thesis-writing, grad school-applying, and then….the G word: GRADUATION! Let's make it exciting.

Shoot me your thoughts in that handy Comments section.

Gotta go. Time to pull out my hair over word-choice for the statement of purpose.

Love ya,

R.L.

P.S.: Allow me to explain the hodge-podge of pictures on the left. They are currently travel pictures on my Flickr account, the product of a writing program to which I applied. Eventually it will be filled with England photos, but for now, enjoy South Dakota. And my sister three years ago at the Norwegian Day Parade in Brooklyn.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-Post

This is a warm-up.

Test drive?

Warm-up.

Okay, so first I think I should say that I'm not really a librarian.

Not yet, anyway.

I am also not roaming.

Not yet, anyway (yuk, yuk, yuk).

What I should clarify is that the title of this blog is a nickname given to me by a fellow intern at my summer job (in a library!). Libraries, as we know, are notoriously low-budget. I had no desk. I roamed. I stacked books. I think we can put two and three together, here.

BUT! I am thinking about library school/librarian(ism) for my future, after I graduate from college in the spring. Anyone? Anyone? No one.

I liked the nickname a ton, though (it's catchy!), and if I don't become a librarian in the end, we'll think about a new name for this blog when we come to burnin' that bridge.

(Who is this 'we' I keep referring to?)

Anyway, I'm about to ship out to Oxford for a semester during the fall of my senior year (hence, roaming. I can't say at this point how many more double-entendres I'll hit you with). Somewhere along the line of deciding (insanely) to spend a semester at one of the most difficult universities in the world (note that I avoided the adjectives 'prestigious' or 'famous'), I thought it would make perfect sense to blog about it. Why? Because a) I'm of that narcissistic generation that needs constant attention, b) it stores all my updates and experiences in one place because writing separate emails to all of my loved ones is, I'm sorry, just asking too much, and c) I'm fundamentally a chronically anxious, mentally-ill, perpetually insecure and fearful 20-something who has never done anything adventurous/on her own in her entire life, and for goodness' sake, if you're not going to watch this train wreck with rapt gusto and verve, you are going to miss out, baby.

But I am not at Oxford yet. I stress 'yet.' It's a long and painful wait, one is making me feel like a lazy fat. All the students I know are back at school, being industrious, making plans, making moves, and I am at home counting down the days until I have to board a plane by myself for the first time ever, possibly¾and for everyone else on board, hopefully¾fully sedated. So this is a pre-post to my posting while I study at Oxford this term. I figured I should get a jumpstart on the travel blogging because while it may seem to everyone around me that this saga has been going on for months*, I haven't been adequately preparing for the trip at all. As in, nothing has been bought, no important persons have been notified (like my BANK. I'm having night terrors in which my ATM card is eaten at a Mac on a dark London street because I didn't tell BoA I was going abroad. Also, I'm never wearing shoes in these). Hopefully blogging about this experience will provide me with some motivation (fun fact: the usage of 'hopefully' is almost always incorrect). I've been mostly postponing any "for real" planning for this trip, so today I made a concerted effort to get my gluteus in gear, as it were. Which means I dragged myself over to B&N to buy a decent travel guidebook. I snatched up the Let's Go! edition for Great Britain. I've heard great things about this series (it's written for students, by students), and it was on the cheap end, so I gave it a whirl. It's on my side table as we speak (unopened, but that's insignificant).

Of course only a moron would put off planning for something as exciting as a semester abroad. I am that moron. My summer (read: life) has been all grad school prep (read: crap), which is probably what most (read: all) people have heard me talk about lately, if they're unfortunate enough to encounter me on the street or, goodness forbid, Facebook chat. Poor little souls. They've been so good about lending me a kind ear (and I know you're all thinking, "Isn't this chick GONE yet?"). But I can't stop talking about the grad school process (e.g. here I am, writing in a blog about it). It's word vomit everywhere. I fear what it's doing to my mental health, or, more importantly, everyone else's mental health. It's like an addiction. Like when heroin addicts try to reason that everyone else in their immediate family or morning bus route is similarly addicted. Well. I'm not too experienced where heroin is concerned, but coming out of B&N tonight, I passed a woman in the parking lot, and did a double-take. Did I recognize her from somewhere? Young twenty-something, check. Worn face, furrowed brow, check. Crooked glasses, check. Stressed slouch, check. Symptomatic caffeine-withdrawal shaking, check. Laptop in tow, check. Oh look, it was ME. I could tell this poor woman was schlepping to B&N for a night of resume-building/cover letter-writing/personal statement-composing. In fact, I think I was looking at me. Do I look that tired? Haggard? Worn? Bored, stressed, defeated?

Or am I projecting?

Anyway, I resolve not to think about grad school for at least 2 or 3 hours, and start reading my guidebook. Pen in hand. Slippers on, and possibly some coffee. Really good coffee, which I don't think they have in England.

But first, I need to study for the GRE.

Alright, I'm really stopping that now. For tonight.

This stuff sounds a lot wittier in my head.

Love,

R.L.

*Like, I mean months: "Have you heard about Oxford yet?" "Well, I applied, but I haven't heard back yet. You know. Since I submitted the application 9 months before the deadline and told everyone about it like it was happening tomorrow. But thanks for asking. Check back in a few."