22 November 2009


...at keble dining hall.

i'm sure going to miss being/eating in this beautiful hall! i basically eat in a sanctuary e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y. everything about it wonderful! i think k.c. has the largest dining hall at oxford. i heard they wanted to shoot some harry potter scenes at keble, but they wouldn't take down the portraits on the walls...because it's tradition AND oxford is saturated with traditions.
(i'm a little skeptical about the style of some of the portraits hanging up... they're...quite... how do you say?...unique. i'll work on getting some pictures of them...)

the meals are amazing.

here's a typical meal on its typical day of the week:

Nicoise salad
Honey glazed Roast Lamb with garlic & rosemary jus
v. Risotto parmesan slice and mushroom sauce
roasted potatoes
Assorted vegetables
Black forest gateau or fresh fruit

Lentil and apricot soup
Pork steak
v. Mushroom encroute
Dauphnoise style potatoes
Cauliflower florets
Lemon meringue pie or fresh fruit

Sweet potato and pepper soup
Braised steak with lardoons of bacon
v. Halloumi with sun-blushed tomatoes
Creamed potatoes
Red cabbage
Almond & cherry flan or fruit

Cauliflower and cumin soup
Beef stew
v. Vegetable stew
Mashed potatoes
Mixed vegetables
Danish pastry and custard or fresh fruit

Leek and chick pea soup
Gammon steak with parsley sauce
v. vegetable and nut cutlet with parsley sauce
Roasted new potatoes with garlic and rosemary
Peas and baby onions
Apple pie with Jersey cream or fresh fruit

Smokey spicy sausage cassoulet
v. Vegetable and Vegetarian sausage cassoulet
Herbed pasta quills
Rosemary sautéed courgettes
Trifle or fresh fruit

Cottage pie
Veggie cottage pie
Country mixed vegetables
Ice cream or fresh fruit

the presentation is always nice:

i can't believe i just copied + pasted the menu for a week...that's how much i love you.
so, sun-fri=formal hall and sat=informal
i only wear my gown to formal hall.

every night, once all the students are seated, those who sit at the revered high table enter. they are usually older men of academia, whose gowns go to their ankles, which means they are quite important. my gown stops a my hip. grad's go to knee. ph.d's go to ankle. the queen's drags on the floor. got it?

okay. so those who sit at the high table enter. they walk authoritatively down the aisle. once they stand in front of their seats, there is a loud BANG! and the whole hall stands in unison! (it's quite amazing! conditioned like trained dogs!)
then a man reads the blessing. only once has a girl read it and the hall applauded her at the end.... need i say more.
sundays are particularly special because the choir sings the blessing from a balcony. my heart melts every time i hear it...and i'm sure yours will too--enjoy!
(thanks to whoever posted this on youtube!)

until next time,

20 November 2009


...a border collie in oxford's centre.

thanks for capturing this wiley brute, tara!
this border collie, in particular, reminds me the most of sport! he was super alert when we were passing by--can you tell? had i thrown a ball fifty feet away from him, he would have caught it in two seconds!

until next time,

09 November 2009

a day in the life of...


i took these pictures my first week in oxford, when the weather was so lovely and the sun still shined in the sky at 16:30. yes. it now sets as early as 4:00pm. that means by 7pm it feels like bedtime. it's amazing i get any work done...

these pictures capture the buildings or places i frequent daily. just walking around oxford is such a treat. some of the best english architects have graced this cosmopolitan town. it such an incredible experience to study some of the buildings in my british architecture tutorial and then take a quick five minute bike ride to the town centre and travel 350 years back in time.


hello! blackwells bookshop, meet __________ (insert name).
i have certainly done my fair share of shopping at blackwells! when i'm not buying books there, i can be found at the cafe nero
<3 . look @ the row of windows above the ground floor, count three or four windows over and i'm usually sitting on the other side of that wall! so if you ever miss me, just come back to this picture and say--- "hi there! your book looks super interesting! your latte (mon, tues, thurs) or cappuccino (sun, wed,fri, sat) looks amazing-- too bad your pain au chocolate didn't last longer!" my sentiments exactly! luckily my pain au chocolate obsession is finally ebbing. blackwells is directly across the street from some incredible buildings like.... the sheldonian theatre and the clarendon building...i'll get to those in a second!

(on a side note-
one day, i was studying in blackwells at the cafe nero, as i mentioned above. just reading my architecture book and i turned the page and bam! there was an engraving of the sheldonian theatre! of course, i laughed out loud and slowly turned my head towards the window, only to see the mass of stone, know as the sheldonian theatre happily catching the sun's rays as it had been for years. i hope i remember that moment forever. i'm living in history. i took the next fifteen minutes to compare every little detail in the engraving to the building. conclusion: i was looking at one darn good engraving.)


the sheldonian theatre designed by one of england's greatest architects, sir christopher wren. built in 1664, arch bishop sheldon commissioned the erection of the building to function as the new building to hold secular functions. before the sheldonian theatre was built, all of oxford's functions (both secular and ecclesiastical) were held in st. mary's cathedral. many disliked the use of a religious building for secular events, hence the sheldonian theatre. this building directly quotes the roman theatre of marcellus. its designed on a u-shaped plan.
some interesting facts i learned about this building:

a. one of the most innovative aspects of this building is the roof. wren, who studied astronomy and geometry, and as the historian john summerson noted, if he died before thirty, people would remember him as a math + science genius and not associate him with architecture. -wow- i also forgot to mention this is the first building wren designed... no biggie, just one of the most fabulous buildings in oxford.... OK. back to his grad innovation with the roof. the span across the ceiling is seventy feet. wren inverted a geometric floor plan for the ceiling. he introduced the king truss system. the ceiling is not vaulted, but rather it's flat. there is an incredible ceiling painting, which has recently been restored. i was fortunate to have the opportunity to see the opera, le nozze di figaro (FIGARO, FIGARO, FIGARO) inside the sheldonian. wow. the interior pictures will be posted soon. after i took my music class last semester, i promised myself: if i ever had the opportunity to see this opera, i would! and i did. yay me!

b. there are like four interesting facts in the note above, so i am going to skip a few letters.

e. the sheldonian theatre was the first location for oxford's publishing house!!! there was also a bookshop. many of the books were stored in the roof--the truss system was so strong, it could support so many books. cool! in a couple pictures i'll show you where the publishing house/bookstore moved after it grew out of the theatre.

f. the theatre isn't actually round---it has about eighteen flat sides or bays. designing a round theatre is quite difficult, remember how i told you this was wrens first building!?

g. the columns and wood work in the gallery are faux painted! this will become more evident when i show you the interior pictures... hold your horses!


the clarendon building designed by one of wren's students, nicholas hawksmoor, in 1711. i particularly love walking by this building or drinking a latte under the portico. with the construction of this building, hawksmoor introduced the giant doric order portico to oxford. hawksmoor quoted wren's giant doric order portico at the royal hospital in chelsea. oxford's publishing house moved from the sheldonian theatre to this building, maybe you've heard of clarendon press?.. thanks for bringing the giant doric portico to oxford, mr. hawksmoor! oh, i forgot to mention the amazingness of the statues on the roof and in the niches-- amazing.


mr. roman head. i'm not sure if these were carved when the sheldonian theatre was built or if they are really roman, roman carved heads. there are probably more than twenty of these heads around the wall of the sheldonian theatre. i know there are three of these heads in the provost's garden at worcester college, where i had my religion seminar. i asked my professor about the striking resemblance between the heads in her garden and those around the sheldonian, she laughed and told me, no one is sure the exact date or how they got to worcester, but many believe the clever students at oxford moved the heads as a prank, probably over one-hundred years ago! (i did note there are fewer roman heads around the sheldonian now than there are in the engraving in my text) i'll have to find my picture of the head at worcester.


the tower of the five orders, in the bodleian quadrangle. >silence please< this decoration illustrates the importance of classical knowledge, emphasizing the orders of classical architecture. doric-tuscan-ionic-corinthian-composite...i'm not sure if that's the exact order, but those are the columns included...


across from the main entrance to the sheldonian theatre, i can't remember the name of this building, but they filmed the infirmary scenes of harry potter in it! cheers.


the bridge of sighs connects the old and new quad of hertford college. apparently its called the bridge of sighs because there were gallows just beyond the bridge. as the parade of people, which included the person who was about to get meet their fate, passed under the bridge the community would pass a sigh of relief that the person would soon be hung.
on a side note, one of my professors told me that when there was a hanging in oxford or an event at the guillotine, it was quite the place to be! after the last breath, two teams would race to retrieve the body:
team one: the family
team two: oxford students.
if the oxford students were successful, then there would be a fight between different colleges within oxford.
...to this day there are still tensions between townies and gownies...


drum rollthe Radcliff Camera known to many on a first syllable basis--simply the rad cam and RAD it is! lucky for me, the majority of all the books for my tutes are located in this robust building! yes, the art history books in the upper portion and the history/english books in the lower. at first i was a little nervous about studying in this building. the ornate beauty was so distracting. somehow i've managed to get some work done in it. the interior is incredible. photography is not permitted inside, but i'm going to see if i can work something out. john gibbs designed the rad cam. he was inspired by wren's drawings for a round library, who was inspired by inigo jones's round library floor plan. hawksmoor, who designed the clarendon building, was planing to design the rad cam, but he died. thus giving mr. gibbs the opportunity. good work, gibbs! there is one major advantage and disadvantage with a round library---one: the light! there is such much lovely light! essential for reading, especially in the old-n-days.
two: storage space! the walls are round and everyone knows how useless round bookshelves are!!! seriously. its been very difficult adjusting to the hours of the bodleian (the bod) library. m-f: 9-10pm/sat:9-4/sun: CLOSED!!!! can you believe it!? it's a reference library, which means no books leave the building. this is where my ever-evolving skill of time management either tremulously helps or hurts me...more so the latter, methinks.


KEBLE!!! the college where i eat everyday and check out books from the library! :) it's quite fitting that uga has an associate membership with the only red brick college in oxford. built during the gothic revival in england. the diverse colours of brick reflect the growing industry of brick and transportation in england. why yes, the bricks are from all different parts of england, unified by the, then new, always grand locomotive system. the red bricks of keble were frowned upon by many. the union at oxford proposed that the membership fee should be reduced to one red brick from keble and eventually the college would no longer exist! luckily the red bricks had a better fate than the roman heads now located worcester college's garden.

so. in a nutshell, i have introduced you to the buildings i walk by everyday. their character and history is immensely rich. i hope you enjoyed reading--look mom and dad, i'm learning somethings! ;) i'm tired and not going to edit this post...so i apologize for any garmatcical errrs.

until next time,

29 October 2009

on the road...

...welcome to eyam, derbyshire.

home to the Bubonic Plague of 1665.

this sleepy little english town has excellent documentation regarding the plague. it's everywhere. seriously. almost every corner stone has an engraving of who lived there and what age they died.

eyam is a very picturesque town: stone buildings, cobble stone streets, and lovely gardens. the colours in England are incredible. all the flowers are so vibrant and beautiful. saturated. i'll have to post some pictures from september---the. colours. were. amazing. anyways. eyam was a lot of fun, everything was centered around the plague, which is quite fascinating and yet moderately depressing. you should check out the wiki page!

i will begin the walking picture tour...starting now--

welcome to eyam, here is a sign marking the house where the plague began.

people still live in the plague cottages. they are quite the tourist attraction. i'm sure everyone who stops by takes a picture of them. i think there is something in the water here because the dogs walk on their back legs.

the cemetery of eyam is picturesque. the headstones are beautifully carved and very old. this was such an uplifting trip...

a really cool sundial, check it:

of course, the communal sheep roasting spike. i think garden hills needs to install one of these...right on the sidewalk, so it's accessible to everyone.

who knew I would find Trooper's soul-mate all the way across the pond? yes. there are isuzu troopers in england--fancy that!

my best friend for the day! this friendly fella was greeting everyone who made the hike to the famous eyam well, which is just over my shoulder. the horse was more exciting. (after the town was quarantined, travelers would leave provisions, mostly vinegar and bread, on the well, which is located in the outermost part of the town.)

eyam=the PEAK district of england!!!

imagine: kiera knightly or elizabeth standing on the top of this cliff. pride and prejudice was filmed in derbyshire. Sadly, I did not make it to the famous chatsworth house (mr. dacey's dwellings in the movie). hopefully I will make my way back to derbyshire to see it. :)

a view on the hike from the well....more horses!!!

every pasture we walked through had a very unique gate.

a trio of LLAMAS!!! approaching these creates was quite an experience. we were definitely not expecting to see LLAMAS...of all the creatures.

a cute lil weather vane mounted on the eyam's museum roof.

(clears throat) i'm expecting you people to make this ginger bread STAT!!!!!

to summarize, if you didn't read the captions and just looked at the pictures (no worries, i would have done the same thing...sike, this is my blog and it rocks) eyam was a lot of fun! i was quite impressed with the bus driver. he maneuvered through all these little english towns. the roads were so narrow only one car could fit, but somehow he managed.

unitl next time,

23 October 2009


...a border collie in oxford's centre.

i had to do a double take---two men or a man and his bff?....what a classy brute on his padded lawn chair! this lovely duet sang together and spread felicity to all who watched (if only i had an audio, seriously.com). let's get a closer look...

the intense stare of a border collie is universal. one of the most loyal of their kind. his attributes are similar to the greek god apollo and his lineage dates back to stonehenge. yes, i bring you the border collie:

reminiscent of a late and beloved best friend, Lucky.

until next time,


...and so i begin...

...the VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM was my first stop in london. the museum is incredible--that's probably the understatement of the century. i had a blast walking around it. e v e r y time i turned a corner i came across a work that i have either studied or written a paper on. i'll give you a little taste of some of the wonderful works i saw below. just being in the building alone was such a treat. for the most part, all the buildings in england are symmetrical, well-designed (i guess that goes with symmetrical), and beautiful--it's such a relief not to have to look at ugly buildings. my outlook on life and faith in humanity has elevated to such a high standard...haha. it took the longest time (about two and a half weeks) to get used to the flow of traffic here. "..look left, no no look right first, now left, oh wait better look at my right again, okay, look left again just to be safe, then right...omg, just run across the street!...no! wait---pedestrians DO NOT have the right-of-way here..." conclusion: it's the safest decision to just wait for the light. anyways, i'm going off on a tangent...back to the V&A museum...

...this is the first room i walked into @ the V&A--the sculpture gallery! wowowow. the windows on the left provide the lovely view of the courtyard.

...here is an image of the lovely building in/facing the courtyard.

CHIHULY in the V&A!!! i felt (only a little bit) like i was @ home!

I wrote a paper on this statue, theseus and the minotaur c. 1781-3 by antonio canova. i felt like a little kid in a candy shop in the sculpture gallery at the V&A. seriously. there are so many statues that are just incredible. i happened to just walk by this work the first time. i think i was so distracted looking out the window @ the buildings in the courtyard (scroll back up to the image above^^^) yeah i know, i was just surrounded by beautiful things, which was just overloading my senses! so you can imagine how i just passed by this statue... the details were just incredible. photos and descriptions in books or on the web never mentioned the fine details of the arm-pit hair or other minuet details....

i also wrote a paper on the monument depicted on this little snuff container. Etienne Maurice Falconet's monument to Peter the Great of Russia.

...and of course i studied auguste rodin's st. john the baptist c. 1879-80, in my modern sculpture class. the surface area on his work just begs you to touch it, so i couldn't resist... i actually touch one. shhh.

...and another rodin:

i'm probably going to have a mobile like this in my house, of course mine will be the smaller version...

another gallery...

after the V&A i walked around london and just took in all the landmarks, like HARRODS.

a lovely cathedral @ night

until next time,
gossip girl