Long time no see. How long has it been? Wow, a month. Well, I can’t blame it completely on laziness. I had to work quite hard for my portfolios that I had to hand in as my semester’s work on the 12th. So let’s back up a bit and take a look at the highlights of this last month.
My best friend from Hamburg came to visit me and we had a lovely time. Next to the usual “Oh my god, that’s where this Harry Potter scene was shot” and “Tolkien’s foot touched this floor”-kind-of-stuff we basically just relaxed together and it was really nice. To be honest, there was a lot of food involved. Next to cake, pizza and lots of sweets, I finally had another go at some Scones. We went to Beefeaters (yes, weird name to go and test Cream Tea). They were really good, maybe even my favourites.
I also went to the Bodleian to do some research – to be a good student and stuff. Usually my research for papers is mainly based on Google books or whatever the internet gives out for free. This time, however, the Bodleian had some great books on Pullman, so I studied there a bit. Hope it pays off.
Then there was the Imperial College London TaeKwonDo competition, an event that made me question (as always) why I always sign up to fight again? Right before competitions I freak out and I doubt that I can even do a single kick properly and I see myself losing and just embarrassing myself. This time my weight wasn’t that good and it has been a long time since I wasn’t clearly in my weight class, so this was another factor to make me nervous. It was so different than all my other competitions in Germany before. I was used to much fewer fighters from our team and, thus, much more attention and preparation from the coach. This time I was mainly on my own regarding warm up, organisation, motivation, … Some of my teammates managed to calm me down and when I got to the red and blue mats I wasn’t as nervous or anxious as expected. I was very happy with my coach and, surprisingly, quite content with my own performance. Unfortunately I lost in the finale in the third round, which was a sudden death. So one point away from Gold – how frustrating! But I will take away from that experience that I am much more independent than I thought. Overall our team did really well and it was a successful day!!
The highlight of the semester, the point I’ve been heading for all these months: Meeting Philip Pullman. The week before he was supposed to come we were told he couldn’t make it after all and I was devastated. I am not ashamed to say, I almost cried. Okay, I didn’t, but lets put it this way for drama’s sake. Anyway, this was just another of the many misunderstandings there were this semester, and Mr. Pullman DID come. And it WAS amazing. And now I like him even more!!!! He talked to us about all kinds of things, such as tone, voice and planning a book (he’s just like me and doesn’t plan!). What made him even more likable to me than before was his pure honesty. When I asked him, if everything in his book really has a deeper and purposed meaning, (because you find so many theories and interpretations everywhere) he just said: If it sounds clever, I intended to do it, if it doesn’t, I didn’t. Other statements such as: “Don’t be afraid to steal ideas” or “Leave yourself time to dream. Sitting in your chair, gazing in the air – that’s part of being a writer!” – oh, he is just genius. Unfortunately, my His Dark Materials trilogy was in Germany, so I couldn’t get it signed afterwards, but he signed my notebook and we talked for a bit. He asked me about my work and how it is to write in a second language, he even complimented me on my English (*.*) and wished me good luck for the future. I am very happy to say that for me, meeting one of my childhood heroes, was everything else but disappointing!!
Kristi made the house look festive, and we decided to have a belated Thanksgiving dinner – it was awesome! Really delicious and fun. We also have a new roommate, who moved in head over heels, but is settling in and everything is getting back to normal now. On the 6th of December the Nikolaus came by and filled our shoes and bellies with chocolate and other treats. I feel bad for all those people who don’t know this holiday – it’s so nice!
It’s an asylum here…
I finally managed to go play Squash again and it was really fun. And I had my first Fajitas ever, later on even Tacos. I’m on a roll here! We had another roommate dinner and a cupcake/muffin escapade! Kristi and me took a stroll along the little Christmas market as well… yum!!
There is this coffee/tea/hot chocolate shop and I ALWAYS go in there and try some hot chocolate with Marshmallows. I wonder when they will force me to buy something as well… But I will, for Christmas!
I went on a spontaneous midnight drive to London with a friend, which was absolutely stunning. All the christmas lights and decorations, it looked so beautiful. Although I was reluctant to go at first (it was late, I wanted to sleep, it was cold, … you get the idea) I’m really happy I did go in the end. It was such a nice trip and especially at night, it really put me into a Christmas mood! There was a huge snow ball on Trafalgar Square!!!
Then on Thursday I finally handed in my portfolios. 12.000 words, 4 different pieces, … I had to do a complete rewrite of one of the pieces (4.500 words) after last Thursday, and a complete rewrite of the beginning for the second piece (2,000 words). So yes, I was stressed and buried in work and now I am quite relieved this is out of my hands. Although now the stress has been replaced by wondering – only in January will we be told our grades!
In one week I am flying home to Hamburg, leaving Oxford behind for about a month. As of this morning, the power is not working in our house, so I hope it will get fixed soon. Luckily the heating is still working, so we’re not freezing to death.