Well, folks, today is the first day of 5th week, which means the much-anticipated half-term boundary line has been crossed. For a more light-hearted post this week, I thought I would share a few of the most “important” things that I have learned at Oxford thus far. Hope you enjoy!
- Expect tea and/or coffee and/or biscuits (that’s cookies) at every event. And I do mean every. No speech, seminar, guest lecture, rehearsal, church service, or meal, for that matter, is complete without them.
- Beware the cyclists. They rule both highways and sidewalks (sorry, “pavements”). Fly for cover when you hear the bike bell, and above all, do not ever dare to trespass upon their side of the pavement (which, of course, changes every block or two).
- Always carry a spare umbrella. The rate of precipitation changes every few steps you take, and you never know whether a drizzle or a deluge will come next.
- Always bring your own shopping bags so you don’t have to pay for new ones—yes, they are quite pricey—at the store.
- Don’t order a macchiato unless you want it to come in a 2 oz. cup. It is literally a shot of expresso.
- Pudding means dessert; cake means bread; bacon is just ham. Don’t even try to say the word “jam.” It won’t work.
- Also don’t expect to find canned pumpkin. Anywhere. Except maybe in the “American aisle” at Tesco’s, in which it is, of course, the only remotely healthful item (other specimens include Oreos, Mac ’n’ Cheese, and Nerds).
- If a student tells you he has an “early morning” class here, it starts at 9 or 10 a.m. No one would ever think of attending or offering a lecture at the unearthly hours of 7 or 8 a.m.
- Know your bus route! A bus with some highfalutin’ technology that allowed it to announce each upcoming stop would be a foolish waste of taxpayer money. Make sure you press that button in time!
- Porters and scouts are basically your college’s own personal squad of fairy godmothers. Porters are available 24/7 to provide alternates for lost keys, direct you to the closest laundry facility, and turn off accidentally-triggered fire alarms. Each day, the scouts remove every crumb, stain, and scrap of paper from the floor; they can even make the stairwells smell good! Seriously, these people deserve way more praise than they ever receive!
It’s amazing how much you can learn in 4 weeks! Can’t wait to see what new adventures are coming up in the second half of term!