I left the United States a week ago, and yet I already feel at home in Oxford. I’ve been attending various “Freshers’ Week” information sessions (and I thought Holy Cross’ orientation threw far too much information at me!), setting up my room, meeting other JYA’s (Junior Year Abroad), and exploring this magnificent city. What I truly love about this program is that I’m really living by myself in a foreign city. Yes, my primary focus here is studying, but I also have to make my own meals (there’s no handy-dandy Kimball here), factor errands into my day (okay, so this isn’t that big of a deal. My errands right now include going to the Post Office and the like), and find some time to make friends as well. Even though I’ve only been here for a week, the experience has been truly amazing. If anything, my cooking skills will improve ten-fold!
With regards to academics, classes haven’t begun yet. I have a meeting with my Age of Bede tutor on Friday, and I have my first History of the English language class next Tuesday. I already have an essay due for that class, actually. My tutor e-mailed me and said to e-mail my paper to her and also bring a hard copy to class. That was it. There were no prompts. Welcome to Oxford! I’m so excited for the tutorial program. I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things from all the other students who have completed the program. The entire situation is going to be very different from my Holy Cross education. While Holy Cross classes meet for a certain number of hours a week, I will only meet with my primary tutorial (History of the English Language) once a week, and I’ll only have my secondary tutorial once every other week. That means that I only have 8 sessions for my primary tutorial and 4 session for my secondary tutorial. Hm. This is going to be extremely interesting!
Now for something completely different: This past Sunday, I attended Mass at the Oxford Oratory. This is the same church in which Cardinal Newman preached and J.R.R. Tolkien attended. Yes, I do realize that the former is more theologically important than the latter. But being in the same pew at Tolkien is kind of cool, you have to admit. Anyway, this Mass happened to be the Solemn Mass. Everything except the Liturgy of the Word was in Latin. Everything. As obsessed as I am with Latin, I thought it was cool. The homily didn’t hold a candle to the Jesuits’ at Holy Cross, though (3,000 miles away and an ocean in between me won’t stop my love for Holy Cross!). Regardless, the Mass was gorgeous. This Church is also hosting the relics of St. Therese of Liseux starting tomorrow, and Pope Benedict is going to be visiting this Church sometime in the Spring. No, I had no idea that any of these events were going to happen while I was here. I’m actually thinking about writing my ICIP (International Culutral Immersion Project. Every HoCro student who studies abroad has to complete a project that required them to immerse themselves in their host country.) about Catholicism in England and how it becomes different when you’re not in the majority, as we are at Holy Cross. It’s still in the working stages in my mind, but I promise that it makes sense.
Well, I’m going to sign off for now. When I get my card reader running, expect to see this page full of pictures!