Hello again blogging world. The world that cares little whether I sleep or play video games for four hours, or even do something productive...wait, isn't that sleeping? What a fine uncaring world you are blogosphere.
Can I be honest for a minute? Well, since you can't actually answer me until after I post, I'm going to assume the answer is yes.
Honestly, I'm a tangle of emotions. Yes, I have learned the British way and am keeping the stiff upper lip, but honestly the past hour and looking towards the future have been difficult. I've had such an amazing time this last semester, the thought of it slipping away into nothing but a vague mass of memories is saddening. To live with the knowledge that never again will I be living at 8 Crick road with 24 great American students breathing the same damp air of England is difficult. It's not leaving Oxford, nor is it really the actual act of saying goodbye. Most of these people I'll probably see again. But never again will all of us be worrying about deadlines and tutorials, running to Tesco to buy food, or reserving books at the Bodlein Library. It's over. And it's sad.
On the happy side, I've been able to sweeten the pain by travelling Europe with a few of my good friends. We started as a group of seven in Paris, where we ate baguettes and crepes, walked until our feet were screaming with pain. Except they weren't, because feet don't scream. Yet it is a word-picture we often employ. Why?
But Paris was beautiful. So many buildings whose architecture just astounded me. The Louvre and the Musee D'Orsay were fantastic. Seeing actual Degas and Monet, as well as ancient greek statues, like the famous armless Venus, and the Mona Lisa (what is so great about that painting? She isn't even pretty...).
It's odd, because my appreciation of art is very different from most. I could care less who painted it, or the history behind it, or what movement it was a part of. I care mostly about the painting as it is. Is it beautiful? Does it capture my eye. Do I find myself interested by it? How is the composition, the lighting, how the artist (hopefully) did something to make me see the object differently? That's what I enjoy in art. But in museums, if it's old, it's included.
Sculptures I also find more interesting than paintings, which is something I didn't really expect, but there you have it. Probably because older composition is so different that my more cinematic tastes. Thus for sculpture, whose composition is completely different from painting or photography, I find fascinating.
Climbing the Eiffel tower was pretty cool. It's a pretty big piece of metal.. But the Luxembourg Gardens were gorgeous. If I was an old retired Frenchman, I'd spend so much time reading there...people would begin to think I was one of the sculptures they had in the garden.
I also purchased sunglasses outside the Louvre for 10 euro. The seller originally offered them for 20, but when I began walking away, he asked how much I'd pay, and I said 10 euro, and he handed them to me. It was definitely necessary. Paris is a very white city, and sunlight intensifies that. I needed the shades. Plus they're aviators, and cool.
After Paris I went to Venice, which after experiencing Paris it was nice being able to walk wherever you wanted to go. There really isn't much to see in Venice, so one day was plenty, and then we ended up in Florence.
So in Florence, which is where I am at the moment, I've seen the naked David statue by Michelangelo, and then a bunch of ridiculously awesome sketches by Renaissance dudes. I've discovered (among other things) that I could spend hours looking at sketches by artists, but finished paintings bore me. Odd, I know, but there you have it. I blame my best friend for his awesome sketchbooks. They've made me this way. But I love it...I love sketches....so cool.
And now I am on the brink of beginning my long, long journey home. I'll be in Oxford for another day and a half, and then I'll be heading to London, then home. And I am so happy about that. This post-term trip has really made home seem such a wonderful place. It is where I go to see my mother and father, to share with them my experiences, to find a place called home.
Homeward bound am I, and I am ready for home.