Monday, January 19, 2004

January 16

Tonight is the end of the first full week that I have been in England. How different things seem than when we first drove down the narrow street of Charlbury in our big tour bus seven days ago! The quaint streets that we drove past are now part of our walks every day to and from lectures, the accent that we were so excited to hear at first is now normal, it’s quite odd to hear someone from outside our group with a North american accent.
I am convinced now, more than ever, that I want an English accent, and I want it quickly. I’m already tired of recieving these “looks” from people surrounding me whenever I open my mouth and reveal my foreignness. For the most part, these are not approving looks, and I’m beginning to understand why- I’ve had several people ask me where in the United States I’m from- and I quickly inform them that I’m Canadian. Apparently, although Canadians are still not sophisticated and cultured, they’re not quite as bad as Americans. Too bad for me that I spent so much time in Michigan last year, the accent seems quite reluctant to leave my speech! (No offence to you americans...)
The Canadian director of our programme will be heading home on Sunday, and though his knowledge will be missed, we are all looking forward to gaining some sleeping time and whatnot. (BTW, he took a direct shot at us Redeemer students today in the lecture, he said, we must make sure that we are not on the end of saying that humans are “totally depraved” as Calvinists are prone to say, or to be on the end of saying that humans are all good, but we must rest somewhere in the middle, as Baptists do. Hmm. You should have seen the looks that Tina and Heidi were exchanging!)
Tonight, Joel, Tyler, Cara and myself were the first ABU Oxford students to attend the Regent’s Park formal dinner. Every Friday night, the students and staff get dressed up “smartly” and we get table clothes and fancy dishes and a wonderful meal, and they have graciously invited up to four of us per week while we’re here, so that we each get a chance to experience this at least once. A very charming student by the name of Alex was our host, and informed us that he was a fourth year student at Regent, something quite uncommon because it’s a three year programme, but he was abroad studying in France last year, so he is only now completing his bachelors. He was quite kind to explain many things to us, what airline to travel, should we need to, what to see in Oxford, which Evensong service to attend, and what Sunday night worship services happen in Oxford. After dinner he invited the four of us to his place for tea, so that we’d have somewhere to chill before the evening festivities. Twice a term (and the British have three 8 week terms) Regent has “Bops,” aka dances. According to Alex, these bops have never been called dances or discos because, well, most likely because of tradition. So. We went to a bop. (shhhh, no one tell the ABU administrators, apparently it’s an ix-nay on the dancing for their college.) It was a fairly informal function, but there were plenty of lights and whatnot, and the music was all classic dance/disco music. Kind of funny that we went to our first English bop before our first English play! Anyhow, it was a very good opportunity to mingle with some of the Regent students, in a less formal setting than the lunches every day at which we see them.
Today was quite a rarity- there was no rain. At least not while we were outside. It was wet when we got up but the sun was shining brightly, and true to the pattern at round about 10am, it clouded over, but the rain never came, and the sun came out again later- what a pleasant surprise! I think I’ve already got the English “optimism” about weather... ;) Apparently the group that went last year had maybe a week of rain altogether when they were in England for the three months- we’ve got them beat already, I’ve seen so much rain!
Have a great weekend everyone, Redeemer students, hope you enjoy the retreat, play a game of Egyptian Rat screw for me.

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