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The Foreigner's [Unofficial] Guide to Oxford

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Before I get started, I want to let you all know that I won't be around much at all for the next five weeks. I know I talked about this a bit earlier, but I seriously can't get online that much. I have huge reading assignments that won't let me part from course reading materials for an ARC, so any reviews that appear this month will most likely be ones that I read before I left for the UK (like Endlessly). I might get a couple more out, but not likely.

This means that I won't be visiting blogs, chatting on Twitter, or responding to messages as often as I usually do. I hope that you'll keep commenting on posts. I get a fair amount of readership, but I won't know what you find interesting in posts unless you comment on it. It means the world to both me and the author when you enjoy my interviews with them, and we appreciate every comment we receive on them. So, while I won't be around, I hope that you continue supporting these amazing authors who took the time to talk about their books to share with you!

I've had requests to, in the meantime, share my adventures in the U.K. with you. I've seen some bookish sites and took pictures; however, I've yet to figure out where I can get a strong enough Wi-fii connection to upload my photos from my phone. It isn't interested in divulging its precious contents to my MacBook. So, this time around there will be no pictures. Sad face. I hope these postcards make up for it. For now.

I'll be giving several postcards away in an uber-belated blogoversary celebration. I was studying for exams in April and totally forgot to celebrate. Be prepared for a super-awesome UK prizes to join the books! (At least, I hope it'll be super awesome. I have no idea yet what's going to go in it!)

Gorgeous postcard. Sorry about
the bad quality of the photo!
I will never claim to be an expert on Great Britain. I'm no history major (though I would love to fix that, infatuated as I am with various cultures). However, I have learned some things.
  1. Wear comfy shoes. Think BEA, minus the sneakers. Business casual is the new casual, minus the sneakers. Jeans and sneakers are a bit more common, or so one of our British tutors tells us, but he also says that Oxford is slow to open to change. And he grew up here. I have a pair of comfortable sandals, but I also have sensible flats that would have Evie going (read: ugly). Yep, that was a Paranormalcy reference. Book nerd much? They have a nice swirly design, but I wouldn't call them gorgeous. Unfortunately, I outgrew my pretty pair of closed-toed heels before it occured to me to buy another pair.
  2. The saying that British accents make all guys hotter? It's so true. Even better if you already think he's cute. (BTW. I think the accent is linked to some hot-guy gene, cause all the British university guys I've met thus far fall somewhere on the cute-to-hot meter.)
  3. Don't tell a British guy that Oxford looks like Hogwarts. They're convinced that Hogwarts is the one that looks like Oxford. Turns out they did some of the filming on Oxford campuses. Or maybe Oxford was built out of a prophecy that Harry Potter would arrive there one day.... (Don't tell the British guys I said that. I'll claim its a total joke--which it is in front of them, okay. We all know about the Harry Potter conspiracy thatIjustmadeuponthespotanddon'treallybelievein*cough*)
  4. Buy a guide to the Harry Potter scenes. You can get one at Blackwell. My friends and I are going to hunt out these filming locations ;)
  5. Buy a hair dryer here. The voltage is wayyy higher in the UK (think 2x). My Kindle and cell phone are alive, but I busted my hair dryer along with my adapter and had to go shopping. Prices not cheap.
  6. That said, you will want a blanket or jacket. There is no such thing as central air conditioning.
  7. Bring an umbrella. The weather is more bipolar than Texas, or so I've heard. All I know is that I had the luck to arrive in a rainy season after two years of drought here. And that umbrellas are recommended even if you think it's going to be dry. No one expected this much rain, but it rains all the same.
  8. Travel light. A British guy told one of our guys that he packs less for eight-weeks travel than our guy packed for a little over half that amount of time. If you can't pack less than a European, you might not have room for all those souvenirs. At minimum, your back will die. I had to climb some narrow stairways to get to my room and really, really hated my textbooks at that moment. Pack some shirts, jackets, and pants. Use the factorial expression to calculate the number of outfits you have. Plan to possibly shop for some things.
  9. If you want to buy the latest release of a book, don't rely on Blackwells. The book will probably be a paperback, and it will cost more than the hardback on Amazon. Use Book Depository if you want. It's cheaper. Or be jealous like me as you hear about all these awesome books you haven't read yet on blogs and wait until you return to your home country. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? YOU ARE LIVING A CULTURAL DREAM. BOOKS CAN WAIT. (But still... books, I miss you!)
  10. Speaking of books. Kris was an optimist thinking she could maybe review once a week. I have so much reading to do and so many places to see that I'll be glad to review one or two in the next five weeks. So... don't plan a strict schedule. Be spontaneous in where you go. If you see something you like, take the time to explore it. Leave no regrets!
  11. If you need a place to stay, contact Oxford University. Their Arts department is going to take a hit from severely reduced government funding. They could use the extra funding.

Other news
  • My friend saw a guy who looks a bit like Malfoy from the side. I'm going to take a closer look tomorrow. No, I'm not stalking. My eyes will just... wander a bit. If I posted photos online, that would probably constitute as being creepy and possibly quite a bit stalkery, so I'm afraid no sharing. More on this later. (I CAN talk right?)
  • Accents = hot. Did I mention that already? No worries, I think this deserves another category ;)
  • British history is just an interesting as its culture. Actually, it might just be my tutor (not entirely kidding). He's AWESOME. I listened to him talk for several hours today. Did. Not. Get. Bored. WIN.
  • I'm going to visit a palace. I hope photos are allowed. *_*

I'm rambling now and probably getting a bit incoherent. I've had a long day, and it's getting late now. I'm going to try and read half of the 100 or so (it's actually more, but don't let me think about it right now) pages I have left to read for the day and finish up in the morning. Chat with you all later!

P.S. Even if I'm not responding, I'm still reading comments, as I love hearing from you all. I'd love it if you'd let me know what you think about all this and if there's anything you'd like for me to report at the blog!

4 comments on "The Foreigner's [Unofficial] Guide to Oxford"
  1. AAAAAH! AAAAH! LET ME YELL IN CAPS LOCK FOR A BIT. I'm so jealous of you! I want to be in the UK so badly. Have an amazing time!

    1. Thanks, Julie. I'm having fun!! I've heard London is getting crowded though. I'm really hoping to visit some places there before traffic gets impossible!

  2. Hunting for movie scenes sounds so fun! I'm reading an article on CNN now about people giving tours of show filming locations, and the whole idea just seems so cool to me. Be sure to take lots of photos!

    1. We've seen one place that my friends tells me was used as the pulpit. It was in the chapel of Blenheim Palace, where we weren't sure if we were allowed to take photos though. I did take other gorgeous picture outdoors and will post them as soon as I found wifii that will let me! Hopefully I'll be able to take photos at other locations. I hear we can at the secret platform ;)


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