city sights, musings

week two


Hello friends&family from the other side of the ocean! I decided to make a more organized update, so they’re divided by category and I guess you can more easily pick and choose what you’re interested in reading.

Food… 

Mexican food. A classmate and I went to a wannabe Chipotle. Not very good at all! But whether it’s good mexican food or bad mexican food and whether it’s on the westcoast of California or the middle of nowhere on an island across the atlantic…. mexican food reliably gives me stomach problems.

An almost exact copy of Chipotle but without the delicious aspect. 😦

This was posted on the door of the Mission, which should have cued me in about the state of Mexican cuisine in England.

Prêt à Manger — a nice café with a lot of good sandwiches made fresh daily! One of my favorites is the Egg salade sandwich with arugula (under £2!) and another is a prosciutto & veges in a baguette. 🙂

Pubs. Ah, the quintessential British thing-to-do. You know those scenes in LOTR when the hobbits (+ the Fellowship) drink, drink, dance on the table, drink, and have drinking contests? It’s a lot like that but with less laughter, and no dancing. A typical pub has low ceilings, dim lights, wooden furniture, and strange objects hanging on walls (e.g. the inside of a piano, a scythe, and part of a saw), and smells like alcohol.

Notable pub: The Eagle & Child, where JRR Tolkein & C.S. Lewis used to hang.

I really miss the food culture of the Bay Area, my mom’s korean food, redbeanredbeanredbeanredbean!!!!, and some decent Mexican food. C’mon, hombres… how can you even ask “What is a burrito*?”?!?!?!

*For those unfortunate enough to have never experienced this food item, let me just assure you it’s the best thing your tongue will ever experience all wrapped in a soft tortilla. 

Church… 

St. Ebbes

So the first Sunday I woke up too late to get to the morning service at St Ebbes (still suffering from jet lag) and I went to St. Aldates’ instead. It was pretty charismatic and a slight shock to my system. I left feeling worried that all the churches might be like this here.

Yet, still determined, I went to the 4:30p service at St Ebbes the same day and found it quite nice. From what I could infer of the sermon, their doctrine seems sound. The pastor preaches expositionally, if not as indepth as what I am used to with PJ and other pastors.

So this week I attended their ROOTS, a mid-week bible study for 20’s and 30’s, and on Sunday nigh I’ll meet up with one of the girls who is a member of the church before service.

Exploring… 

I’ve got plans to go to London and do some shopping and sightseeing (yay, scholarship money!) but for now, I’ve just been trying to see as much of Oxford as possible before getting bogged down with schoolwork.

Tuesday, I visited the Ashmolean Museum

The front façade of the Ashmolean Museum. It's a large collection of all sorts of art, craft, and randomness.

cast of a Roman bust

A depiction of 4 generations of a family. I wish they still made family trees like this!

More casts of Roman statue things.

Cool things about Oxford… 

We have the best libraries in the world.

the Radcliffe Camera, or as the Oxonians call it, the Rad Cam.

We have cows. (Christ Church Meadows) 

We have Bambi. A whole field of them! (Magdalene Deer Park)

We have shrunken heads! I thought Berkeley’s book bound by human skin was awesome… but this takes it to a whole new level! (Pitts Rivers Museum)

We have tortoises... and each Trinity Term, there is a Tortoise Race. Last year, my college’s tortoise won!

Terms are only 8 weeks long. Don’t know if this is cool yet … or suicidal.

Oops! 

So, British English is not too much different from American English, but it’s fun to point out the differences!

The much-hated cobbled stones.

For example, pants & pants. I did not know this before I came here, but I’m glad I learned it now! So apparently, US ‘pants’ = ‘trousers’ in Britain. (Also, sweater = jumper, which I find quite odd.) British ‘pants’ = ‘underwear’!

A classmate told me a story of her American friend, who, after being drenched in the rain, entered a quiet café and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I need to change my pants, they’re soaking wet!!!” Hilarity ensues.

Also, trash = rubbish here. But to me, that sounds so mean! Rubbish seems to hold a more negative connotation compared to (what I perceive as) the neutral “trash.” Man, that’s a load of rubbish! Here, let me take out your rubbish! 

Front yard of the church that's right next to my dorm. At least 50 pigeons gather here to eat, sleep, and ... eat.

Another, more personal one, is … incontinence. And this is probably not because it’s British English, but because I’m so dumb… This might be TMI so maybe don’t read if you’re sensitive!!!! 

So the first thing I did when I came here was go to the drugstore and buy some essentials that I couldn’t bring over from the US: shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, … and sanitary napkins. But, being the idiot that I am, I went and bought a whole bunch of the wrong thing… I bought incontinence pads. So you have to be easy on me here— I just came from a 10 hr sleepless flight and a 3 hour bus ride to a strange place where I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. So I just thought, “heck! it’s England, I guess they call it something different here!” Nope. This is not the case. What a waste of money!

Chicken update!

Photos courtesy of my youngest sister, since I am not home to document their progress. Soon they will be yummy chicken pot pies! Aren’t they freaky-lookin now?

HMMMMM? did someone knock?

Can you spot the creeper? Hide yo kidz. (as my youngest sister pointed out..)

I think this is one of the skinny ones...

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13 thoughts on “week two

  1. nathalie says:

    yay!! thank-you for the update, sarah!! 😀

    i like the pictures!!
    aw… when you get back sarah, i’ll make you REAL mexican food!

    HAHAH! (your captions on the chicken photos)
    they’re soooo big now!!

  2. Jesus says:

    good job on the update sarah.
    one day after I asked about pictures you update!
    except, I didn’t get any bambi pictures?! why?
    oh, and it;s unfortunate that burritos are actually not mexican!?! did you know that?

  3. tammy says:

    haha you’re funny! you can’t go to a foreign country without making language mistakes… happened in china for me… and i’m chinese!

    gross about shrunken heads…. i looked it up on wikipedia… the process is gross too… you should take anatomy, to me though that was less disturbing than shrunken heads and skin books… yuck

  4. shrunken heads!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ they are randomly one of my favorite things! and funny about the dependable mexican food. you are so funny – your letter made me lol and rofl and go on helicopters! can't wait to sit down and write you a good reply that will do it justice.

    love you sherah

  5. melody says:

    ahh! how was the eagle and child? did you feel jrr tolkien and cs lewis’ presence? did you feel inspired? among other posts, your burrito post made me laugh a lot– a burrito is to be held in the hands, cradled, cherished. the description on the picture is so delightful. i also love the pictures of your chickens, and esp. the captions. they do look freaky, but in a cute-freaky sort of way. 🙂

  6. Charles says:

    ahahhaha Melody! I can totally hear you saying, “ahh! how was the eagle and child? did you feel jrr tolkien and cs lewis’ presence? did you feel inspired?”

    I think I find it funny cuz I’m really intrigued about that, too!

    Sarah, sounds like you’re having quite an adventurous time there!
    The stuff about the burrito is hilarious, but sad.
    And you may have already known this, but yelp works in England, apparently: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=&ns=1&find_loc=oxford . Searching “mexican” doesn’t turn up much, though..

    Hope you’re enjoying your classes and fellowship and all things England!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Omg laughing forever over the burrito sign. Okay, I shouldn’t laugh because it’s totally understandable for Brits to not know what a burrito is, and I should be culturally sensitive… But it’s still funny, so I’m going to laugh.

    I hope you find a good church soon!

    Resisting the urge to weep tears of jealousy. The Ashmolean! The Radcliffe Camera! Cobblestone streets! Ubiquitous pigeons that I can see anywhere in California but are cool because they are British!

    Soon they will be yummy chicken pot pies!
    Noooooooo. Don’t say that! 😦

    Hide yo kidz.
    LOL, so perfect.

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