Thus beginneth my third week in Chalbury. What's a typical day for me?
My alarm knocks me up at 8:10 (funny story: The second night we were here, Joel's host asked him if he wanted her to 'knock him up' in the morning. He hadn't heard that term used before he came...) and somewhere between 8:20 and 8:30 I actually rise up out of bed. Showers only happen every other day or so, hot water is very pricey. Breakfast cosists of Mussli, without fail, and half a glass of orange juice. At five to nine, Tina and I speedwalk to the baptist church for 9am, and there we participate in group devotions. (On fridays we only have to walk a minute around the corner to the Methodist Church) After chapel (On Tues-Thurs), we all walk five minutes down to the train station, for the 9:41 train to Oxford. Upon arrival in Oxford, we head to the library (the public one, we're not allowed in the Bodlian until 4pm) for a couple hours before lunch (Last week we had lectures in the morning). At 1pm, the dinner bell rings at Regent's Park College, and we take a place around one of the tables (don't sit until a prayer has been said, and crikey, don't wear your hat at the table!) and after someone bangs their spoon on the table and says a short word of prayer, we take our seats and are served a delcious hot meal- mash and bangers, meat pies, roasted potatoes and roast beef with gravy, etc etc etc- and an amazing dessert- puddings of every shape and size that you can imagine (thankfully my confusion about puddings was laid to rest already last week- a pudding is a dessert, not nec. what we call it in Canada- it's usually a coffee cake-ish type thing, with custard (our pudding) on it, sometimes).
So. After we stuff ourselves in the dining hall, we wander off to the hall across the quad in which we have our two hour lecture for the day. We're never really sure until we get there what our lecture is actully going to be on, so it makes it a little difficult to do our readings in advance. And the lecturers themselves aren't quite sure either, it seems- take for instance our Thursday afternoon lecture- it was supposed to be on Shakespear's tragedies, but our lecturer failed to show up. So, like good little boys and girls, we actually stayed in class for the full two hours, but watched a BBC production of Julius Caesar instead (the same one that I saw in gr 10, I think it was...) because we have to have it read for next week. Anyhow, after class ends at four, we head over to the Bodlian, and hunker down at our reading desks for a couple hours. This week, Tina, Joel and I went to Evensong two out of the three evenings at 6, and tried to go the third time but had the time wrong for the Magdelene service- and after evensong finishes, back to the Bodlian. Round about 9, I head back to the train station, and walk in the door back home by 9:45.
On Mondays and Fridays, lecture at either the baptist or methodist church at 9, lunch at 12, and afternoons free to study.
So, the first week we had two lectures per day, this week we have one lecture a day, and in March we'll have library time for most of the days.
Saturdays are supposed to be free days for studying and doing our own thing, but on several occassions they have events planned for us, which are "optional" but attendance is *highly* encouraged. Same goes for Sundays.
Last night Tina and I had dinner with our host. Considering the fact that our lunch with the group had been at 11am, 9pm was an awfully long time to wait to eat again! Nevertheless, the food was delicious, and the conversation lasted until after 10. Marion really is a very nice lady, she's quite fun to talk to, and has a laugh like I've never heard before, so both Tina and I are becoming more at ease with her. However, we still very much feel like we're intruding a lot on her, and she remains very strict about what we can/cannot do/eat/etc etc. The house itself does not lend itself to a feeling of welcoming, the living room has a vaulted ceiling and the windows at the back go all the way up, 20ft or however high it would be, every wall, every door, every baseboard and every heater is painted white, and there are no curtains up anywhere, just white mini-blinds. There is one painting hung up in the living room, a piano, a dining table, and a couch. It feels quite sterile, like a hospital waiting room or something. I very much prefer to do my readings and such in my room, I don't feel quite as much as I'm in someone else's space in here.
At any rate, life is progressing well here, I can't believe that this is already the last week in January! Monday marks the Great One's birthday (My dearest friend Mary Elizabeth Grace,-and, I guess, Wayne Gretzky, oh, and it's Vince Carter's birthday too, they share the day with good company!) and Monday, our second trip to London.