Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adventures in the Emerald Isle

Honey, I'm home! 

Just got back from an amazing 10-day trip in Ireland. I went over to Dublin for St-Patrick's with a bunch of Oxford friends and ended up staying...an extra week after that. Saw Dublin, Wicklow County and Galway. Took day trips to the Cliffs of Moher (amaaazinggg!!!) and the Aran Islands (also amaaaazinggg!!!). There was much pubbin', Guinness-in', dancin', hikin' and even bikin' (me and physical activity...who'd have thought!). The vistas were great, the cities so much fun and the people incredibly friendly. Even the weather was great -- I somehow managed to get a teensy bit sunburned biking around the Aran Islands on my second-to-last day there! I already miss the rolling green Irish hills and the live traditional music bands in pubs. Aaaah. I might have fallen in love with the Erin. Just a little bit.

Hopefully I'll get around to doing some more in-depth posts about my trip, but in the meantime, here, have some pictures!

And the adventure beings! Our "ferry" (cruise ship!) over to Ireland.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Goodbye Hilary!

...and good riddance, I say!

Hilary (aka. Hellary) has been a heck of a term. Too many seminars that I could count, Jurisprudence tutorials going full steam, more reading lists than I knew what to do with...I'm glad that it's over - for now -, that's for sure. Somewhere along the way, there were also exchange dinners, the Union Ball, Guest Night (post upcoming), potlucks (homemade dumplings for Chinese New Year!) and a few trips to London. Then my family came to visit me last weekend, which was wonderful and exhausting and emotionally bittersweet. I took them on a tour of Oxford and we had a great time at Fortnum&Mason's in London. Finally, fencing simply stopped happening (again, which means that I won't be taking it up again in Trinity Term), but I did pick up the violin in time to join my college orchestra for their end-of-semester concert last Tuesday. We played Handel's Messiah, and despite my section's sudden inability to count beats during the concert, the audience and I had a great time.

Took the family to see Christ Church--on an increasingly frequent sunny day!

My family's visit in a snapshot: my mother trying to use
an SLR camera, and my brother being bored. 

Piccadilly Circus at night.

Tea and ice cream at Fortnum&Masson's Parlour.

My haul from F&M. Those biscuits lasted exactly one night of essay-writing. 

So, as of Friday evening, I am officially on Easter break and have a full six weeks of glorious vacation before Trinity Term starts. Perfect for enjoying the increasingly sunnier and warmer weather, and for...writing Jurisprudence essays? Oh yes. My entire Jurisprudence course (you know, the one I whine about all the time?) is to be assessed on the basis of three essays which I have to turn in on April 20th. Thus I have exactly five weeks to ponder those essay topics, do some intellectual heavy-lifting and magically submit three, fully thought-out philosophy papers. Hah bloody hah.

I am convinced that going to Ireland next Friday for St-Patrick's can do nothing but inspire me to have some deep...erm...philosophical thoughts. With a lot of Guinness. And lucky four-leaf clovers? Hmm. A bunch of us are going from Oxford and staying with our Dubliner friends, so I am very much looking forward to this trip! I'm also keen to visit Belfast and Giant's Causeway, and in an ideal world I'd squeeze in some travelling to France and Spain as well during the break, plus a few more day trips to London and around England...

Ah, Spring. You always bring out the wanderluster in me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cultural differences

At the Principles of Financial Regulation tutorial today, while discussing alternatives to the current credit rating agencies:

Thatcherian tutor: And then there's the possibility of getting the government involved in issuing ratings, but that's a scary scary idea.

German and Canadian: ...erm, not really?

South African and Uruguyan: God no that sounds like an awful idea!

Israeli: Well this could attract quite some talent to the public sector...

...okay, back to that Rawls essay. No it still isn't done. I swear that there is nothing that I can say about his two principles of justice that hasn't already been said in much, much better words by much, much smarter people. Le sigh.