Reflections & Highlights of Michaelmas

Perhaps it is time to take a moment to reflect on the Michaelmas term in Oxford. As we begin Hilary and new adventures are upon us, I would hate to lose all that we have done in the last few months due to my sloth in writing. So this will be a brief, and semi-inclusive look at Michaelmas... Ireland: What a trip we had! It turned into a golf trip for Mike and I on the northwest coast of Ireland. When the rain came down on the courses, we loved it...it seemed to be a part of the experience of golfing in Ireland. But by the third rain soaked day, we were wishing for a bit more sunshine. Our clothes did not have the time to dry between rounds. One torrent in Donegal basically voided the idea of rain-proof gear. There is no such thing when you are basically swimming on a course. Probably the highlight was visiting with Mike's grandfather's brother in his home near Carrick-on-Shannon in a tiny mining village called Arigna. The home was built over 200 years before by his great grandfather. We were able to sit with them in their home and enjoy tea as well as a shot of good old-fashioned Irish Whiskey. Maybe everyone pores guests whiskey at 1500? At first we thought they would be poring tea, but were a little quizzical when the tiny glasses came out. Between that and the conversations about cows, we felt we had traveled back in time. Oxford: Often described as the City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford is just that. It is home to the love of study and learning. It is our home now. Each corner, each cobblestone awakens the senses as you can picture horse drawn carriages and dons of old walking the same roads, the same halls for hundreds of years. If you have always hated school, even Oxford will make you want to pick up a book especially if you get a chance to walk through Duke Humphrey's Library (over 500 years old!). There is probably too much to say about Oxford. So much of it is captured in our pictures, that I will mention only a few things. Mike and I have loved being here. We are overwhelmed by how extremely talented and intelligent his class is. They are also a group who is outgoing and friendly. Oxford has also set up an atmosphere that encourages teamwork, not cut-throat competition. It has been great for me as well as a partner. Partners are included in everything and welcomed with open arms. There are also quite a few in my same situation, so friends were made quickly as we were all eager to meet someone. The hardest thing about this term for me has been all that has been going on at home. If you read this blog you know that my Uncle has been very ill. It has been quite a roller coaster. I was so thankful for Mike's encouragement to get to Italy and be with my aunt when everything first began. I also was able to see my uncle and family in California in November. Praise the Lord that he continues to recover and for the first time we are able to say he is not fighting an infection, but now fighting to recover. We continue to pray for him. One thing I love about England is the pub culture. Don't look so surprised. It is very different than the bar culture back home. Pub's were originally called public houses and offered residents somewhere to socialize since most of their homes were too small to have many over. It was common for people to have a neighborhood pub. Ours has become the Radcliff Arms. It is just down the street and the people there are so friendly. Truly our cheers...where everybody knows your name. The owner Michael once he met us immediately ordered American Sports for us on his TV system so we could keep up with football...And next basketball. We have watched some great games there and were able to take our friends there when they came into town. Key Events: The Templeton 20th Anniversary Dinner, Formal Halls at the colleges, Eating at Christ Church (Harry Potter Hall), having my mum (that's how they say is here) out for a visit, having some friends out over the New Year, dancing at the Lebanese restaurant on Mike's birthday, eating cookies from Danz located in the covered market, exploring this amazing and historic city and making it home, being able to communicate back home through yahoo's IM and seeing my family thru webcams, interacting with and meeting people from all over the world...I am sure I could come up with more if I took more time, but for now that is a good list. Trips: Besides Ireland when we first got here, Mike and I were able to go to Davos Switzerland over the break. What a trip we had. I don't think I will ever ski in Switzerland again only because it could never be that good again. Empty slopes and more snow than one could even hope for for all five days of skiing, let alone one! We had such a lovely time. We also took some moments away from the group. We headed into Klosters and ate at a small family run restaurant called Wynegg. We had fun trying to figure out the train system, getting off on the wrong stop, making our way back and making some new friends as we finally sat to eat some authentic swiss food. Between the cheese and cream, we have both been on a health kick since we returned. We also visited Edinburgh. WOW what a city. It was gorgeous. There is a castle in Edinburgh that sits up top the hill. It can be seen from every angle and offers incredible panoramic views. We had a blast storming the castle, doing the Scottish Whiskey tour, and looking into a little of the Campbell Scottish history. The New Years party was also pretty crazy. 100,000 people lined the streets for stage shows, rides, ice-skating and a wonderful firework show to ring in the new year. It was quite an event. And I would suggest to anyone to get to Edinburgh if you have a chance. The city was charming. Our last big stop was Bath. Bath brought us back into the MBA by heading out with some of our new friends for a weekend trip before the mayhem began again. Bath can best be described as enchanting. It is a city that captivates you the second you see it. IT offers history lessons, pitch and put golf, a gorgeous abbey and a taste of Rome in Britain, not to mention the taste of a Sally Lunn Bunn. Another must visit. Conclusion: All in all, we are still pinching ourselves to see if this is really happening and not just a dream. We have begun the Hilary Term and know this time will be through before we realize it. Our goal is to make the most of the gift we have been given in this adventure. And this term, I promise to contribute a bit more...

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