Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On the way back home

I’d better remember today, because I was so happy in the morning, so sad in the afternoon and now I am having a big headache.
Today is the last day of my oxford program. The garden party was a total blast. I loved the food that Brain and Chuck prepared for us, I loved the game we played, I loved the group picture we took. Oh, I miss you guys already. It was an great ending, a happy ending, and we will meet again soon.
So as I went back and pack my stuff, I found my passport alone with my flight information, and apparently I have a different flight than Kevin and Han, and I missed it. I started panic and crying. I asked Kevin and Han to double check it, even though we booked the flight at the same time, I was supposed to be on the earlier flight. It was already hard enough to fly to the UK, now I have to worry if I can go back home.
At the airport, the people from the company told me that if I miss a flight, my ticket is no longer valuable, so I would have to buy a new ticket to Beijing, and that was nearly seven hundred pounds. So, 700 pounds was how much my careless mistake cost me. I had to buy it, and it made me feel like I am a total idiot.
It’s good to finally go back home. I shall remember my last day in the UK. I’ll be back.

Tate Modern Museum

I have heard a long time ago that AI weiwei’s huge art piece “sunflower seeds” is exhibiting in the Tate museum. Ai weiwei, a anti-communist, I heard very little about him in China, but when I was in the US, I found a lot about him in some websites that Chinese government has blocked. It was a great opportunity to see his art in London.
The Tate Museum as a whole was mind-blowing. I think it was my first time visiting a modern museum, I felt so entertained walking around the museum, it is totally different than these historical museums, in a good way.
The sunflower seeds were giving a big room for exhibition; they were piled as a taper shape. When people see this pile, most of them were stunned. They just look like real sunflower seeds except bigger. I tried to find out why he wanted to make so many of then. Then I read the background information on the wall, I had to admire his imagination.

Practice cooking

Ever since we moved to Herbert Close, our flat started to buy groceries and cook meals by ourselves. I ain’t no expert of cooking. I know only some basic stuff, but I thought is was a good way to practice cooking since I will be live off-campus next quarter.
Buying groceries was really fun. Usually when I go to supermarket, I will first go to the snack section and search my favorite crackers and chips, but this time, my major task was to buy some  raw cooking material, like eggs and meat.
What is the easiest dish of all meal? From my perspective, noodles! It is easy as long as you know how to boil water, then you add whatever you want and noodle in the water, there you go, a bowl of noodle is done. So for the last two weeks, I had a lot of noodles as my dinner, it wasn’t so bad.
I also cooked some real Chinese dishes twice, which were not as good as my noodles. Ha ha.
Cooking is fun, cooking while having a lot of homework to do, not so much.


Usually when I visit somewhere, I always do research about it before I go, but this time, I dicided to get lost in this beautiful little town Salisbury.
The major goal of this trip is to see the one and only super famous Stonehenge. I didn’t know Stonehenge is located in the UK until I came to Oxford. I guess it’s because it’s hard to imagine such a mysterious attraction will be so famous in such a religious (historical) country, it should be located in Egypt or something.
Anyway, we took a tour bus to get there, after thirty minutes bus ride, there we are! I almost couldn’t believe that is the actually Stonehenge, because it looked much smaller than what I saw from the postcard picture. But it is mysterious enough to attract thousands of tourists to come here. 
After Stonehenge, we got on the bus again and took off at a place where supposed to be a scenic spot. We walked up the hill, hope there is a cathedral to see, instead, we went to this small stud-farm. I have ride a horse before but that was when I was very little. It was a little scary to see horses so closely. But my friends were very brave, they even picked some grass and fed a pretty female horse. I was too scared to touch her, but when we were going to take a picture with her, she just shook her head and looked like she was going to attack me. So I creamed really loud. My friends “unmercifully” laughed at me.
Even though we didn’t really get lost at the city, but it felt great to be so close to the nature.

Hot hot wings

I used to be a fan of fast food, but after I came to the US, I discovered the real beauty of Chinese food and all other kinds of food, fast food became my least favorite.
The “hot wing” fever began on the first day I got here. After having a British style sandwich, I suddenly see a KFC at the end of the road. The sandwich did not quiet fit my stomach, so I walked in and surprised to see they have hot wings. Because that not all the KFC restaurants provide hot wings. So I decided to get six and went back home. I did not know their hot wings can be sooo good, they are even better than Chinese KFC hot wings, more juicy and spicy.
Apparently, my month doesn’t like British food so much. Hot wings became my favorite. My record is 15 wings in a day. Then we moved to Ship street, it’s a three minute walk from my room to KFC, I can not be happier. Having too many wings is not a good thing, so when we moved to Herbert Close, I had to say goodbye to KFC.
Hot wings also remind me lots of things happened that related to them. I once had a birthday party at KFC, my mom used to take me to KFC every week when I was a little girl, the first time I had KFC in the US, and my friend and I had a eating hot wing contest last spring. OH, the magic of hot wings.

Bodleian library and Education Library

Our research topic is about education. We were happy when we realize the university has a specific library for education topics. So we decided to do our research there.
We have all been to Bodleian library, it is huge and historical. It holds nearly nine million books, some collections are from several centuries ago. So we picture this education library in our heads, it should just like the main library. But we were wrong.
First of all, when we ask any of the local people or oxford students, none of them knew where education library is, it is not even on the map of Oxford. So we had to use web map to direct us, and it appeared to be a twenty minutes walk from city centre to there. The library was not like the Bodleian at all, but it is surprisingly quiet, I guess that is because people hardly know this place. When we walked in, I was amazed by the inside design of this library, so old school style but nice. It is a even better place to study than the Bodleian library.
To find a book, I had to climb the staircase to look for it. When I finally find a book from the bookshelf, I felt so happy.

Shopping and Summer Sale

For day 2, I simply decided to go shopping in London. There is one quote from my ECON 300 text book says, “Whoever said money cannot buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop”, which I found it really interesting. Just like many other girls, I like shopping. According to the tour booklet, the best shopping places in London are Oxford Street and Regent Street. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick the right day to go. All the shops open at 12 in the afternoon and close at 6 on Sunday, which really surprised me, because in China, stores usually open at 9 in the morning and close at 10 in the evening, on weekends, they close even later than 10. I guess it’s the European style.
It is the right time to shop in London, because of the huge summer sale is on. Almost every store marked their price down. I am not a shopping expert or fashion expert, but I only know one thing, shopping makes me happy.
Not so hard to imagine, the Oxford Street full of shopping people. So crowded that for one second I thought I was in Beijing. Summer is my favorite season, because I buy so many cute summer dresses.
I remember the first play we read was “Shopping and F**king”, it reveals two original sins of human beings: greed and lust. But when I shop and pay by my mom’s credit card, I hardly can relate shopping to that play.

London Trip

Grew up in a big city, I have this weird feeling for big cities. I love them because they always have some fascinating features to discover, but hate them at the same time because they are often too crowded.
I knew very little about London before this trip. London is the capital of the UK, London is where the Big Ben at. So for the second weekend, I decided to go to London.
I was very excited, because London is technically the second capital I have ever been to.
We started to read the London tourists booklet on our way to London. First stop, St. James’ park. This royal park is such a perfect place for picnic. Lots of people came here as a group, just sat on the grass and having lunch under the sun. This idyllic lifestyle is hardly seen in China. People run around the big city, have fast food, and enjoy fast life. But here, you can feel that the breeze is slow.
Then we went to the famous Buckingham Palace, unfortunately, we cannot go inside.
My mother exhorted me repeatedly to see the Westminster Abbey, because that was where the royal wedding happened. The Westminster Abbey is truly a magnificent cathedral. It is surprisingly full of royal members’ gravestones, which I thought is hard to imagine why those people want to leave their bodies here to let people watch.
After the Abbey, we saw the Big Ben, which is really cool.
One day is certainly not enough for London.

Harry Potter is coming to town

First of all, I need to confess that I am not a truly crazy Harry Potter fan, (Maybe because I am a muggle, lol). But when my best friend knew that I am in Oxford, she told me I must go see the Harry Potty movie premier, because she is a huge fan of Emma Waston.
To be honest, I have never seen any movies’ premier before, I had no idea what this one would be. The premier starts at four, so many crazy fans has been waiting there for 24 hours. By the time we go there, there were a huge amount of people have already been inside. We also saw many people dress up like characters in the movie, and huge signs like “Keep Calm, and Marry Rom”. I thought it was really cool that I can witness all this great monument, this is the last Harry Potter movie after all.
At four thirty, the crowd starts to get more and more excited. Unfortunately, we cannot see a thing through thousands of people. After two hours waiting, :”Harry Potter” walked in, people went nearly crarzy for him. A few minutes late, the elegant lady Emma Waston walked in. I had to say that she was so pretty and elegant.
I cannot wait to see the last Harry Potter movie next week..

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The plan for my first weekend is going to Edinburgh. I have heard so much about it, and I was really looking forward to see the Edinburgh castle.
We took a six-hour train to get there, which is kind of far but the beautiful view along the way made this trip much more fun. I saw hundreds of sheep standing under the sun; some horses ran on the grass. All the mountains and grasslands are so green.
When we actually got to Edinburgh, we are even more amazed by the city. The whole city has even a little bit more cool and older buildings than Oxford has, and it’s also bigger than Oxford. The guest house that we stayed in was really nice. They served traditional English breakfast which includes bacon, egg, boiled tomato, beans, toasted bread and tea with fancy china.
On the first night, we went out try to search for some good Scottish food, we asked some random Scottish people and they led us to a small yet cozy Scottish restaurant. For the first time, I tried Scottish whisky, which is too strong to me. The Scottish food was okay.
The next day we went to the Edinburgh Castle. The castle itself is so beautiful! From the audio guide, I learned the background and importance of this great castle. The funny thing is, when we saw a Scottish soldier wearing traditional Scottish skirt, almost every tourist asked for taking a picture with him.
We didn’t spend much time visiting castle, because according to the news, the Queen of great Britain is in Edinburgh and will give a speech in the Palace. Excited we went there; so many people were already there ready to see the Queen. After two hours of waiting, the Queen finally arrived, but we can only see her from a very far distance, still, we saw her in her pretty pink suit. It is such a once in a life time opportunity, which made us so happy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hello Oxford

I have been in Oxford for about 12 days. The past 12 days were totally a blast. I am so thankful that I joined this program. Okay, here comes my first blog in Oxford.
Because of the rarely bad weather in Beijing, my flights delayed. So it took me almost 30 hours to get to Oxford. Stuck in the airport was not fun at all. Finally I got to Oxford, and had a lovely meeting with everyone.
Days in Oxford are really interesting. The old buildings totally blew my mind. I have seen lots of pictures of these famous buildings, but when I actually in one of them, everything seemed so unreal. The whole city is so unique, parks are neat.
Kevin, Han and I found a really lovely store in city centre, it’s called Oxfam. We found it really interesting because it sells some cool used stuff, like used stamps, used CDs and Videos, used accessories, it even has used post cards that you can see what people actually wrote on it in back days. Later I accidentally noticed that this store is actually a very big charity-store. People donate their used stuff here, and all the money goes to charity.
On Wednesday night, we went to pubs. The pubs here are very different than pubs in China, ( I don’t know about American pubs, never been to one.) Chinese pubs are usually very loud and crowded, here, people are pretty chill about drinking, seems like they just wanna have some fun, enjoy some wine, no need to be super wasted.
I don’t remember if I had any real British meal, ( don’t know if the dinners we had at the EF center count as British food.) but I really enjoyed KFC hot wings in Oxford. It’s totally odd that I don’t usually have that much KFC in Seattle or in my hometown. But the hot wings here are awesome! Cannot live without them. I also really like British tea, probably because the coffee here is not as good as in the US; tea is now my favorite drink.
After almost seven days in Oxford, everyday I feel like I live in history. I even forgot to call my family till my mom went super worried and kept calling Kevin’s parents to see if I am fine. I felt bad, but they really don’t need to worry. I like how every morning I wake up, I am excited to see what new cook things I am going to experience today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Little Research on University of Oxford

Since we are going to spend most of our time in university of oxford, which is awesome, I did a little bit research on this world’s greatest university. The history of oxford is long and amazing. It’s the second-oldest university in the whole world and the oldest in the English-speaking country. 
There are over 21,000 students at Oxford, including 11,723 undergraduates and 9,327 postgraduates. We all know that oxford is really good at humanity and literature majors. 53 per cent of undergraduates are studying for degrees in the humanities and social sciences, and 44 per cent in the medical, mathematical, physical and life sciences. From the university website, I got to know a little bit about oxford’s collegiate system. “The collegiate system is at the heart of the University’s success, giving students and academics the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and to a small, interdisciplinary academic community.”
The main purpose of visiting oxford is to explore his museums and libraries. Oxford has the largest university library system in the UK, with over 100 libraries. The Bodleian Library is the University’s main research library, which I really cannot wait to see and want to compare it with our Suzzallo library. “Its priceless collections include the papers of six British Prime Ministers; a Gutenberg Bible; the earliest surviving book written wholly in English; a quarter of the world’s original copies of the Magna Carta; and almost 10,000 western medieval and renaissance manuscripts.
I am really grateful for this opportunity to live and study in university of oxford, even though I am not officially an oxford student, I would really love to have a oxford student experience and explore this university as much as I can.

Officially got my UK visa!! can't wait to go to oxford

So, today, I finally received my UK visa from New York. Quite a bit exciting! I started packing my stuff since Tuesday, not for going to Oxford, but going home. One week from now, I will be on a plane to my sweet home, three weeks from now, I will be on the plane to Oxford!
In class, we learned a lot about British history, British literature and British culture. Now I am started to think about what my life will be in oxford. Will I be really busy everyday, or travel a lot? Am I going to make some British friends? How am I going to adjust my life from American style, to Chinese style, then to British style?
I looked up the normal weather during June and July in Oxford, it seems the weather is a lot like Seattle summer. You can wear shorts and T-shirts, add a jacket when it gets chilly, be sure to pack your rain jacket! 
I am a big fan of food!! I cannot wait to explore the pubs and restaurants and places we can have tea near Oxford. Speaking of having tea, do I need to dress formally to do that?

Amazing British Royal Wedding.( mean to post it a long time ago, but forgot)

It was three in the morning, I just finished studying for the midterm, tried to go on Youtube and listen to some music before I go to bed, surprisingly, the royal wedding is on! Live! The awesome thing about Youtube is that it has two screens, one camera was shooting the inside place, the other one was shooting the outdoor public. I was amazed so many people came for witness this wedding and all these different kinds of hats, never seen that many people wearing hats( they are beautiful) in my life. This wedding turned this day to a national holiday, everyone got a day off, they even shut down the stock market. I got on Chinese news website, even people in China were vividly talking about this wedding. Well, I guess the whole worldwide it's watching this wedding. That's a lot of pressure on the bride and groom. lol.
I also did a little bit background research on the lucky girl, the future princess, Kate. Kate the prince are in love for about eight years, they met in the University. Most of people may think this is a modern fairy tale and Kate is the lucky girl. Personally, I think Kate is gonna make a great wife.
I didn't watch it till the very end, because I was too tired. But I truly feel grateful for this new married couple, hope their marriage life won't like their parents, hope them can still have fun like a normal couple while being the public face of the royal family of British.    

Monday, May 9, 2011

Zadie Smith, Mrs. Begum's Son and the Private Tutor

Saw some people are saying that this short story Mrs. Begum’s Son and the Private Tutor is much easier to understand than the last one, I couldn’t agree more. However, I still found some parts are confusing. Hopefully, we can really get to the depth of this story after class discussion.
Take a look at the author: Zadie Smith’s brief background. Although she danced, acted, and singed through her teenage life, and even dreamed to be an actress when she grow up; she found herself also have the talent of writing, later she studied English Literature in Cambridge University and became a popular writer. Then it became very clear the reason why her short stories appeal to be so dramatic to me.
Briefly, this Short story is about the “I” the narrator was hired as a private tutor of Mrs. Begum’s son: Magid. This Begum family is immigrants, Magid is considered highly talented by his family and the narrator.
I believe that the main theme of this whole story is multiculturalism. Since England is a country with all kinds of cultural mingle together. The author portrayed different people from different cultures, the minorities and the majorities, and middle-class families. At the beginning, Mrs. Begum said to the narrator, “You can never be us and we, thankfully, will never be you. Luckily, in this borough, however, we have mutual understanding. We are all liberals here!” From Mrs. Begum’s point of view, people no matter immigrants or natives, have already figured out a way to deal with each other, that is, keep the differences, but agree on the big picture.
Then again, the story of Magid, he was considered a extremely bright kid, but after years, he became just like anyone else. I guess Zadie Smith is also criticizing the modern education system here.
Anyway, very interesting story. Hope to get to what other people think about it in class.