Thursday, 22 December 2011


To update my blog completely I will now write a bit of my return here in Holland.
I directly went to the family birthday in Eindhoven (my birthplace) and stayed over at an uncle to celebrate Saint Nicolas the other day. Lovely to see all my family again, but I need to admit I felt pretty broken and exhausted. Had a wonderfully good Saint Nicolas (Thanks Koen for the practical joke!) after which I finally headed home. I was insane with joy to see my cats (and I like to think they were too ^^) and to get into my well-deserved 10 day sleep-a-thon.

Since then I met up with a few friends, had Sushi with Jerome, got Microsoft Office on my laptop, went back to my old school and unexpectedly ran into my friend from the beginning of primary school! She is now getting experience by learning from MY old German teachers. Small world.
I've been playing an amazing amount of piano and finally I was able to satisfy my urge to read literature (I have just read one book during term : Desiderata)
To my biggest disappointment and most of all enormous frustration there was a little boy of 12 years old who, at the high school performance I went to watch to see my sister sing beautifully, just casually played 2 piano pieces on which I had been struggling the past 3 days in a row. I was NOT AMUSED. That little prick...

On the program atm is seeing my primary school friend tomorrow and going out to dinner tomorrow. Then Christmas with family here, a party at the house of 4 friends who study in Eindhoven, a sauna day with my sis and a week of snowboarding before returning back to Keble!!!!
Oh yeah, somewhere in between I need to do lots of revision, and write a Christmas essay.

Well, I already notice the difference between my blogs about Oxford and back here. Life back home is relatively boring compared to Keble. Actually my main occupation has been missing my friends and Keble so much that I started counting down the days the day after Saint Nicolas. These superlong holidays are not that great in my opinion. Luckily I have survived more than half already, so my return is in sight =)

For everyone I have not been able to meet yet : I am still here till the 30th of December. Else I do think and miss you guys too, and hope your new lives are good!
A personal message to a few:
Simon I miss your hairdrier
I cannot see cheese without thinking of you Bea!
Calypso, where is that angel in my life?
What would I be without my conscience and literary adviser Tylor?
I became quite attached to the midnight tea  with my husband which I am missing..
Sometimes I find myself knocking on my wall to discover that you're not there Maeve =O
Missing the calm harbour of James'  room where I could stress out
Richard I need your expertise with my piano!
Sasha I just generally miss you
A world without Jack is just so much more boring.

That's it for now. I will try to write something during/after snowboarding and then I hope (so don't pin me down on it!) that I will be able to make weekly posts about Keble-life. My goals for next term are namely: being more effective with time-management, getting a decent amount of sleep overall, do not fall asleep during lectures/tutorials, getting all the work done nicely in time and filing everything straight away. So that should leave me some time to keep this blog a bit more alive.

PS: It felt so good writing English again!

Survived Michaelmas!

Hey everyone!

I know I am not a very faithful updater, but occasionally I find myself in the mood to write about me (I cannot believe how egocentric that sounds). Especially now that English has been missing in my normal daily life I kinda feel a want to stay connected to my Oxford life.
That's right, I am back in Dutchland with the cows, meadows, but especially bad weather and nasty wind preventing me from advancing a single inch on my bike..

But first, the end of Michaelmas (that's how they call the first term).
The last 2 weeks were in short: hectic and unbelievably exhausting.
All the work I had pushed ahead needed to be finished and they added another tutorial per week to our schedule. Besides that I was not really diminishing the time I spend doing other stuff, resulting in a really big time problem. The last week I hardly slept 3 nights in a row to be able to hand in my essays on time and finish the math problems before the deadline.
To be honest, this was the moment where I started to question if I was maybe not able to cope with the workload and should perhaps just give up. I really started to feel a bit desperate.. Luckily, all the lovely people around me cheered me up and motivated me to get through it! I still thank you guys for that with all my heart! Also, the fact that I was not the only sufferer (Andrei & Greta who do biomed as well in Keble) of the massive amount of work made it more bearable.

It wasn't all that bad. Our labs were getting very interesting! They were about measuring different properties of different muscle types. Basically, they suspended a muscle in a solution and we got to add all kinds of drugs to it and see what it did to its contraction. Then ofcourse, we needed to crack our brains to divine how that drug worked exactly.

Now on to the fun stuff! In Oxford, since we do not really spend Christmas being in College, they celebrate Oxmas (no need for explanation I hope) with a real Oxmas dinner and a real Oxmas service in Chapel. Since there's loads of people, there was a Sunday and Monday Oxmas dinner. Only, I couldn't decide on which day to go since on both days friends of mine booked in. Therefore I went to both =) When you arrive, you get a cracker (looks like a huuuuuge candyrol which you pull open and it makes a very big banging sound) with a little crap-plastic gift and a paper crown. During the whole evening they serve a 3 course meal (with stuffed turkey and a disgusting brandy cake) and wine. The most special thing is the choir singing carols all along the evening and walking amongst the tables. Makes everything incredibly cozy and cheery! We even had our own Santa Claus (thanks Leonard =)) Unluckily for me I couldn't linger too long since essay-duty was calling..

The Oxmas service is also quite unique. You get a burning candle and almost everyone knows the carols which are sung (except me ofcourse -.-) There was a little girl in front of me who was obviously uninterested in the service so decided to play with her candle, so cute.

At the end of 7th week I went to my first ball in Oxford : RAG Ball. All the money they make goes to charity as well, which made me feel better about spending all that money on a ticket. It was quite an experience! Everyone all dressed up and pretty and when you arrive at the Ball you immediately are greeted with a glass of champagne. The whole evening there are plenty of things to do and drinks/food to get. They even had a stand with G&D's icecream and chocolate fountains and all. There were also oa photobooth, swings, silent disco, string quartet, belly dancers and so on! It starts off as a real evening in style! All Oxford students are able to get hold of a ticket, so that you are likely to also bump into friends of other colleges for once.

Also on the wednesday of 8th week we had another College BOP. I am not sure if I already explained what it is, so if I did just scroll down a few lines ;). It is a fancy dress party with a theme. The goal is to come up with an original costume in the Bar that night and have a good time within College. Our theme was Christmas ofcourse, and since I already had to pack all my belongings and my room was sadly empty I just went as a present by tying a scarf around my dress. Other people had gone all out and there were some pretty original ones!

3 days later it was time to go again. Luckily I travelled  back with Arthur from Wadham College (just 1 minute away or so) so that it wasn't all that sad. I do learn from all this living on your own : I made a huge mistake in picking the bag to bring back. The only luggage I was to transport were the books & notes I need for revision and catching up (and those 20 books I bought in a very strange moment in a nice bookshop). The bag was HEAVY. I was TIRED. Not a good combination.
To  make it worse, the bag started to snap at the bottom! I already pictured myself walking in London when suddenly my whole bag would just break down and I would be standing there with all those books unable to transport them and needing to leave it all behind after which I would get into loads of trouble for losing library books and my own work and more bills to pay.. This bag was also not a rolling type, but one you need to carry over one shoulder (my poor shoulders =()
Luckily it survived the journey barely, and I have learned a wise lesson.

That was my first term in Oxford. I can't believe it myself to be honest. Looking back it seems as if it all has been a dream (and NOT just cause I haven't slept enough!)

PS: I also have a boyfriend called Sasha ^^ (as many of you already seem to know). Makes the holiday seem eternally long (which it actually really is).

Monday, 14 November 2011

The O2 - Rihanna

Last weekend I have seen probably the most amazing thing I can think of. I went to a concert of Rihanna in the Millenium Dome in London! For everyone who has never been there, go!
It is very big, and the actual stage is huge. Especially Timen would like to see a show there, since all the effects are incredible. I was literally flabbergasted after the show.
Thank you a thousand times Sasha for asking me to come =)

It is not very unusual for people to go to London and back again to see a show, or just a day. Busses between Oxford and London depart every 15 minutes and it's quite comfi. I'd recommend to anyone to go there at least once. It is one of those things you can't explain, cause I can't compare it with anything I know..
Again, it was fantastic!

An overview

Dear all,

I am sorry if what I have posted up until now didn't make a lot of sense. And that I didn't post anything in a loooong time. I WILL try to rectify that right now, (okay, also my last procrastinating excuse.. )

So let's start with a regular day at Keble. I get up at around and about 8.15 AM and have a quick shower before I get ready to leave for my lectures. Since Science students tend to have morning lectures always starting at 9 AM (which is the case in my situation) I have no possibility to lie in at all.. Sometimes quite obvious I didn't have a lot of time and my hair's still wet -when I forget/don't want to bother Simon with borrowing his hair dryer- . The wetness doesn't ever come from the weather though, it has hardly rained at all! (fingers-crossed)
Morning chat with my biomeds while crossing the most dangerous road in the whole of Oxford, each time uncertain if we reach the opposite side. These life-threatening situations are my shots of adrenaline and keep me awake for a good lecture or 2.
The lecture buildings are very close to Keble, so I can't be bothered to bike there (which wouldn't be very sociable as well =P) and in between lectures we can easily go back to Keble and relax our brains a little. The lectures themselves can be really intense, with loads of information at a very high speed and loads of diagrams flashing in front of your eyes. Most of the time I have approximately 3 of those a day. Sometimes they can be very long-winding and seem never ending, while others are gone in a minute (2 explanations: 1. the lecturer was enthusiastic and funny 2. I was asleep) The teaching skills between lecturers varies enormously. Luckily, the neuroscience lecturers tend to be the best =)
During the lecture we basically watch a powerpoint presentation which we also get on a hand-out, and the idea is that we make notes on that hand-out for ourselves. You're NOT supposed to ask questions, unless it is urgent. In that case you can see the lecturer at the end or e-mail him/her. It is actually expected that if you don't understand a concept, you figure it out by reading about it or discussing with the other biomeds. Tutorials offer the opportunity to get help from an expert in it's needed.
Depending on the day, I might have a tutorial (happens 2-3 times a week) or practicals (once a week) a math class (fridays.. ooh so difficult to sit through) or an afternoon off (once a week). The only thing we are obliged to attend are the practicals and the math class. The rest is said to be optional, since arts and linguists don't do much else besides that (and the rest is self-study, they are not lazy!) (okay, some of them are..) but science people are really supposed to attend everything.
Tutorials demand a lot of preparation if done correctly. The main teaching method is essay writing. The tutor gives you an essay title and then it's up to you to figure out what it's about and how to answer the question. I've got at least 2 of those a week, next to the rest I do. That's probably the hardest part of my course for me, since a scientific essay is NOT easy to write at all.. But I will get there (I hope?) My tutors are insanely nice and funny, so the tutorials are actually quite fun and good. Those moments I learn the most. I have 4 different tutors, each covering an area of my course in which they are experts in. At the moment Simon Butt, is my favourite one. He's doing neuroscience, relatively young and was a Keble student himself! Next to being very smart, he has a very good way of conveying his knowledge in a comprehensible way and is very funny and relaxed =)
Practicals are great fun, but tend to take up ages of my time.. Until now I have compared proteins between cow blood and human blood, measured glucose levels like a diabetic, electrocuted myself to stimulate a twitch in my hand(weirdest feiling you can imagine. doesn't hurt, but feels highly uncomfortable!)
Math class is a bit weird. It's not very effective in my opinion, since it's a postgrad physics student who needs to help 8 biomeds. He's very nice, but a bit of a geek. It's lots of fun, we get bribed in doing our best by getting chocolate awards for the best graphs or similar things.
I should be going over my lecture notes in between as well, and do some background reading to prepare for lectures, but I am procrastinating that till the holidays. I simply have no clue where I could find the time to do that.

So that was the academic part of Oxford life. Then, while going from place to place, you keep on running into friends and chatting all along. It really is a community on its own, a college. There is a society for everything, so if you do have some spare time you can always join anything you want to try. I have joined the Dancesport Society, already briefly mentioned, but not had time to really make use of it. Also, I am part of the Music society, so that I am allowed to practice on the Grand Piano in a fantastich music room. I love doing that, and probably play more piano than I did at home. I also performed at both recitals here, played Arabesques (Debussy) and Nocturne no. 2 (Chopin) Next to that, I play squash against members from other colleges in a competition.

Every night there are lots of social activities going on. Not necessarily organised, but always very nice. Night activities can range from going clubbing till really late to stressing majorly about that essay that needs to be finished in a few hours. It varies a lot, and your day schedule is bound to change every hour. Flexibility is, next to time management, an essential skill I noticed. Both need improvement ..

Well, I hope this cleared up a little what I am actually doing around here. At least I feel very much at ease (want to say at home) and I cannot think of anywhere else I would have preferred to go to. I will try to give more information at more regular intervals, but I really want to get some sleep now!

xx Marielle xx

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Oxford's workload.. and Matriculation

In the weekend I have been matriculated. This is a very big deal here in Oxford. You dress up in sub fusc and go through this ritual, waiting at each step. Should be quite okay, as long as you are not stressing all the time about being sent away because of inappropriate dress.

This morning, while getting ready to go, Angus came by and literally looked perplexed at me asking me is I was serious. Why wouldn't I be serious wearing jeans and nice black all-stars? What's the problem with that? Apparently everything..
Spent the whole ceremony hiding between the rest. Luckily my friends felt pity for me and shielded and guarded me from the view of the supervisors. Jack had eagle eyes spotting them, thanks for that!
So I made it through that, and then it was Matriculash. I much preferred that part for sure.
Went to a pub, Tesco, party in Simon's room, pizza and then Number 9. Was a really good night =)
Coming back, I had lost my keys so we stayed in Simon's room. Literally till the morning. Having a post on the bed, I was able to sleep intermittently. Everytime I became aware of my surroundings and heard the conversation they became weirder and weirder.
Proper Matriculash I would say.

Since Monday, the working spirit has come down on Keble. People in libraries, pulling all-nighters and drinking coffee to stay awake. Basically catching up with all the work that has been pushed aside.
I have mainly been busy practicing piano, cause tomorrow I am gonna audition for the music scholarship. The competition is quite tough.. So quite nervous about it, but I'll just give it a go. I will play Deux Arabesques and a Sonatine. we'll see how it goes.

today I went to Richard's room (music student) who has a piano in his room. He has loads of good music books, and is incredibly talented. He could just play my Sonatine without ever having seen it before, and even improved it at some points. I am jealous and admirative at the same time..
Called with my sis and Jerome, which always makes me feel good =)
Then just randomly listened to music, till Mike came stumbling in back from his Chemistry blinds. I told him after a while to go to sleep, which he did. A few minutes later though he came back dressed in a suit on a knee and proposed!
I got married =)

That's it for now. I might get some sleep, so I'll be fit tomorrow for the audition.
Next time I'll elaborate more, sorry for the shortness of it.

xx Foxy

Thursday, 13 October 2011

From your lovers

Dear Marielle,

These are your fans. We love you so much that we did some infiltration. This is Jack, Lucy in the Sky With  Diamonds, Bathsheba, Pippin and Jess. We want you to be here. We're harmonising. It's so great, I'm so happy. See you tomorrow my Foxy Noxy naughty sausage.



Btw, Owen is the best computerscience guy that could exist. He is actually social =O
Just kidding, you're the best ;)

loads of work - loads of friends - loads of alcohol - no sleep..

So I finally found a little bit of time, during one of the room parties on a typical thursday at a ridiculous time. That's basically the way of life here. This blog has been officially sponsored by Jack, the best host in Keble. He can make jagerbowls, toasties, has good chocolate cake when Keble provides nasty, disgustable cream.

Since last time there has been a massive change. Saturday there was the BOP, which is actually everyone just dressing up in the theme My big fat gypsy wedding (didn't know that show..) and getting incredibly lashed and have an amazingly good time. After the BOP, the party went on at my dad's room (Xan) and it kinda got very late. I gradually lost all my accessories somewhere, but hey it was worth it.

 I have actual lectures, serious tutorials and work to do.. Also books to read. Pile is nicely adding up. First lectures were really horrible though. A math lecture with a lecturer who really scares the hell out of you. I thought I was good at math, appears I'm not so..
Then a tutorial with Simon Hunt. Luckily we had dance sport at night. I've learned to Waltz with Simon (It's a lot harder than it looks people.. ) The girl is supposed to dance backwards, who came up with that?! It's an accepted fact that guys can't lead (except for Jack ofcourse) Okay, I need to acknowledge that Simon didn't let me bump my head against walls or so.
After that we learned the chacha. Most amazingly funny dance ever =) Truly so easy actually. Within 2 minutes Jack and I were chacha-ing through all the room. He kinda surprised me though, he is very strong! So this hilariously fun night made up for the rest =)
Probably there was a party at someone's room afterwards, I just can't keep track of them anymore.. So it probably was fun.

Next morning we had lectures again, beginning to feel incredibly tired and useless during those.. Therefore I decided to not work and hide myself in the wonderful music room =) Thanks to Owen, (currently called Peppin ) I knew how to get in.

Yesterday Bea had a party at her room, fucking hot. Literally I mean (before everyone starts ridiculising me again) Went to bed, couldn't sleep. Mike came and we had a 3 AM tea in my room till 5.30 AM.

This morning there was a fire drill.. Like at 8 AM. Sleep is seriously a rare thing around Keble. I literally ran down in my pyjama's feeling really cold and ridiculous since everyone else was dressed. Where's the joke in that..? I literally thought I was gonna be deaf of the alarm, there was no way you could pretend not to hear it.. Following that were lectures till 4 PM. And practicing a bit of piano for the recital tomorrow that I decided to do this morning.. Oh yeah, and another Tutorial. We actually need to work a lot. With we, I mean the Science people. The others just don't have lectures and annoy me when I need to go. The BASTARDS can sleep in late. Just joking, they're lovely ^^
Tried to make rice in my kettle, big mistake. Spent an hour trying to get all the little rice thingies out of it and failed. I can't make tea anymore =(
Then to the Biomedical Societies Drinks. Free wine of course, and lots of people to meet finally for real. Normally only saw them quickly during lectures and lost them again since we biomeds are an endangered species..
Wanted to work afterwards, but decided to head to the bar and have fun instead. And ofcourse I ended up in Jack's room. Finally taking some time to update this thing.
The English people are making fun of it though..

Basically I am going to amend my rythm and do some work eventually I hope.. And have fun too =)

PS: Bea is amazing!
PPS: Samrita is so much fun =)
PPPS: Kirsty is the loveliest sub representative you could wish =)
PPPPS: I hate you Simon ^^

Friday, 7 October 2011


Seems like ages ago that I last wrote something. So much has happened, it's hard to keep track of everything. So I'll try and do my best in not forgetting anything (quick look at the schedule..)

Tuesday we had an informal social meeting with our coming tutors, meds and biomeds together. It started off a bit weird, given the fact that I hadn't really mingled with them yet and I was afraid of leaving a bad impression with those geniuses. We got a free labcoat, which actually isn't as huge in size as those at the Stedelijk Dalton Overkampweg neither as dirty as those.. So happy with it =)

nibbles, drinks, interesting science, we were bound to end up having a good time. Afterwards we went to the subject dinner, meaning that for once the Fellows (our tutors) wouldn't exclude themselves and sit at High Table (which really is raised 5 cm!) but sat amongst us common folk. I sat next to Simon Butt (English people tend to really have funny last names =D) who is the neuroscience guy. It was great talking to him. He was actually a student at Keble in his days and has travelled around the world and now has come back again. Reaallly amazingly interesting, and very nice as well.
Later on I had a chat with my main tutor (also the Dean) which was incredibly motivating. Unlike my expectations, we talked a lot about social stuff as well. There is an immediate bond created, which is necessary to get you through your first tutorials without dying from stress..

After dinner, get changed (I had literally 5 minutes to change from a gown and appropriate smart outfit to a UV Bubbles theme white dress and all.. My amazingly helpful friend Hannah helped me =)) The club for tonight would be Park End, which is literally so huge that you can easily not meat the same people twice the whole evening. There were seperate dancefloors with different kinds of music and themes, which was really cool. The only downside was the ridiculous amount of time you spent waiting to be able to order a drink. It was sooo crowded! I literally got pushed back and forth and sometimes got seperated from my Keble People (luckily there were others where this migration of the crowd brought me)
At 2 AM we headed back and I ended up at Giacomo's room (which is really great!) with some English students, previously mentioned Simon and Bea. I might not have mentioned Bea, but I should have. She tends to be my talking point after we went out and I am watching QI =) She's crazily funny! Also a 2nd year, Owen, crept up amongst us, without us realising it. But he's cool, so that turned out for the best =)
I dunno exactly when, but at some point (after that I learned all the awkward silence breakers) we headed back and I could indulge in some QI to finish of this perfect night.
Ended up not sleeping at all, since it was too late for that when I realised my situation.

Wednesday we head this library tour through the Radcliffe Science Library (I WILL need to spend some time there) Kirsty, the best subject representative imaginable, and her friend Marisa, the German med student I talked about a long time ago helped us getting all the relevant and useful textbooks for our course. They even helped carrying it back ^^
In the afternoon we went chilling in the park. It was supposed to be sports, but since it got quite cold and I was kinda tired we just hung out. Good fun, meeting even more new people.
Barbara organised a little party at her room with some noodles and rice and drinks. Really nice. Only point was that there was some home-made chili in the rice, which totally set my mouth on fire! I wasn't able to think about anything else than that burning in  my throat.. Measures needed to be taken quickly. I went back and drank a litre of milk, and gradually it soothed and went away. My god, next time I'll think twice!
Then getting ready for Camera (club). This involves a process. First, the most important thing is to get pre-lashed (voordrinken). Everyone wore our Keble College T-shirt (saves a lot of work getting ready) and we went. Nice club, more room, but steaming hot! I was wearing trousers this time and I cannot imagine how all those guys survive with trousers in clubs (some even in whole suits!)
ANddd....... tadadadatada: Emma Watson was there! Ofcourse everyone massively went crazy. Poor girl..
I went back quite early, and noticed that Hannah was back too. So we sat down and had a wonderful cup of tea and finally I had the opportunity to really talk to her. It was such a difference with the hectic of fresher's week, really a moment of calmness. After I think 2 hours of this, we started being tired and decided to go to sleep. That is, I was going to, but then a sudden urge let me put on my laptop and watch QI again. Only just when I started the show, Simon came ruining Foxy's (my nickname) QI and we Bea came along as well. Had great fun, in the early morning hours. Bea can be such a genius =)

Next morning we had tutorials at 9 AM. This turned out to be quite a shock, given the sleep deprivation.. I was in the nick of time, and a little later =P I don't know why but suddenly I had forgotten where my tutor's room was.. Luckily I wasn't the last to arrive.
In the afternoon we went to the Fresher's Fair. This basically is like the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, but then for societies, groups and everything social. I signed up for so much, incredible. Took a long time though, since it was really busy!
Back at Keble, loaded with lots of flyers, we went up to the Chapel Roof. You basically go up at an angle of 80 degrees and get a magnificent view over Oxford with the Dreaming Spires and Keble itself.
Fair at the College, much less crowded and much more likeable =)
Then I have started doing some work for the first time. Got out a new math's problem sheet and worked through it. Angus is a genius in explaining all the problems I couldn't solve myself =)
Dinner in gown again, and that night there would be a band playing live for a little while in the college. It didn't really appeal to me, and even though people tried to get a party started in their room, that does take some time.
Luckily Arthur (Dutch, doing Arabic in Wadham) proposed I payed him a visit =) And it turned out to be really cool! Had a wonderful night, people nice, good live guitar music =) Definitely not the last time! When I got back, I literally stumbled upon my dad, Xan. Had a laugh with him, he got my shirt back ! Soooo Happy with that =) and then off to Eleanor Watts's room. She had a nice party going on there, my brother Ed was there as well. After a few embarrassing moments (I never change..) I went back to watch some QI. I had literally just clicked on the internet icon when Simon happened to arrive in the staircase, with a friend George whom I met at his birthday. Bye bye QI.. But it was fun. Listened to really cool music which I never even heard of. I was sooo tired that I fell asleep in someone else's room though... Is that a sign I should stop trading sleep for QI?

Well, briefly, today I met a few other biomedics briefly. Then I've done some preparatory work for an individual Tutorial and I really liked it. I am getting excited about the course, but I do see the pile of work and stuff I need to do growing alarmingly quick...
Having drinks with my mum and then a Family dinner =)

So I'm off now!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


So a quick post before I go away again.

Fresher's has officially started and it's even more chaotic than I thought. Probably met a few people a couple of times without knowing..
By the way, really awkward if someone does remember your name and you don't theirs. I feel really bad if that happens.
Basically I helped my neighbours moving in a bit (I might have carried 4 bags =D ) and then there was this huge meeting at the JCR where everyone seemed to try and fit in aka impossible. Luckily the weather here is still mad so that we could move the the grass of the Hayward Squad (best place of Keble ^^)

Almost everyone had arrived but my very own bathroom-sharing neighbour, my 3rd course buddy and my Keble brother. My neighbour is called Hannah and is totally nice. My brother is Ed, doing arch  & anth and I'm proud he's my brother =)

We had a family pub meeting at the Lamb & Flag. Only problem though is that our parents just didn't show up, leaving us orphans.. When they finally did arrive though, they turned out to be the coolest parents ever. So I guess I'll forgive them that. My dad, Xan, totally is a legend around here. Everyone says that my mum is like really smart, so I'm gonna be fine =)
It was reaaaally crowded at the pub though, no space for moving. Still some bikers decided they definitely wanted to travel through the crowd -.- One guy even managed to pull an entire kart with stuff through..

Afterwards there was this dinner in the hall. And then I understood why my 3rd course buddy wasn't there yet. Andrei is actually coming from Washington DC. So yeah, pretty international here. I'm probably of a quite mainstream background.

Quick clothe change and then of to the Thirst bar. Too much people, too much crowd but really fun! Apparently some of the students have read my blog and recognised me, how cool is that =) I felt really flattered. The music guy, Richard, fell asleep after dinner and woke up when we got back. Hilarious! Well, I'm not gonna bore you with eeeeeverything.
Got back, watched QI, slept an hour or two and was asked to join for breakfast by my lovely neighbour Hannah but wasn't quite ready yet.. So went later.

Fire Saftey Introduction thingy talk. And now I've got a little time to get myself organised. (Which I WILL do sometime.) SOOO Happy Angus is my neighbour =) I totally lost a few papers with meetings with the Chaplain and all, and they had just been telling us how rude it is not to turn up. (Politeness is really important here, if someone bumps into you YOU are supposed to say sorry) -weird English..-
So Angus showed me the timetable and I'm at 4.15 PM luckily. Got my bike registered and my card activated. SOMEHOW the system was programmed to activate my card in 2012.. (I was looking really stupid trying to open a gate with the card and it gave this red puppet.. 3rd years had a good laugh)

PS: My mum gave me her phone cause she didn't have a purse. At some point I lost her in the crowd and never saw her for the whole night.. Thought about calling her, but no.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


As I was walking towards my bike, it needed to be covered with pidgeonshit..
Reaaallly pissed off by that -.-

Fish(es) & Freshers

So here's another post, just before it wil really start.

What's happened since thursday.. Well life gets more relaxed as I'm discovering the useful places and getting to know more people helping me out.
One of the 3rd year students I talked to was telling me a whole story about the fact that he always made sure he was away for the day when his room was cleaned. I dunno why, but it kinda makes sense when you think about it. It would be a little weird having a strange person vacuum cleaning under your desk while you're facebooking..
So I decided to do the cleaners this favour. Friday morning my room is scheduled to be cleaned. Therefore I decided to make use of the Fish Spa in the Clarendon Centre (shopping mall) where they actually have these boxes full of fish (one fish, three fishes but a lot of fish). The Garra Rufa. They nibble on you and are supposed to rejuvenate your skin by eating all the dead skincells. I heard of them quite often but never got interested enough to try it, nor the possibility.
So I went down town and got the Early Bird Special, basically that's a deal for which you pay 10 pounds and you can let the fish eat you from 9 till 11.
It is a really weird sensation. At first you feel like there's a million hands tickling (noo idea of the good translation of "kietelen") and the immediate reflex is to just pull away from the fish. After a while though it is actually incredible relaxing and it feels really nice! I brought a book with me, and I had a wonderful time while the fish were feasting on me =)
At a certain time (I guess I ran out of dead skincells) they started attacking my blisters and little cuts and all. And I can tell you, that HURTS! The mean little things made me bleed and stuff..

After spending the whole day scattered around Oxford leaving my room empty for cleaning, I must say I was a little disappointed when I got back and discovered there was no change at all..
Could have imagined though that the cleaning staff only works during term time..

Then I started my new addiction to QI (Quite Interesting). It is a really great and funny show! Everyone who hasn't seen it should at least watch one episode =)
So in the end I only went to bed at like 3 AM. Wouldn't have been a problem if I had remembered to close the blinds so that the sun wouldn't wake me at 8 AM...

And then yesterday. Other people start flocking in and invading my castle little by little. Up to the point that suddenly the door of my staircase was opened and my neighbour on the first floor has arrived. He's German and has a mustache.
That's a little short sighted. He is going to read PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economy) which is a veeery popular course here at Oxford.

At 7 PM all the freshers were gonna meet at the JCR (our common living room or Junior Common Room) for pizza and tv. When I entered we turned out to be like 4 freshers and a bunch of second year students all coming to look at us and all =P The other 2 were Canadian and American, so I am actually NOT really foreign around here. There was this guy who suddenly started to speak Dutch! (This really shocked me guys.. an Englishman actually voluntarily learned Dutch, the world is going to its end) Turns out he had been travelling all over the world, speaking 6 languages and all.
They were all really cool. We just hung out, and talked and had a nice evening =)

I actually wanted to go to bed quite early because I hadn't slept a lot (remember QI) but that was of no use ofcourse (the intentions are there though)
And the last thing I'm going to bore you with is this really annoying habit of mine. I always had a bed on the left side of the wall. Here my bed is placed against the right wall. This doesn't seem like anything serious, untill you find yourself constantly banging your head against the wall when you turn.. Unfortunately I am unconscious when I sleep so I can't overrule my instinct by saying that there's an obstructive element. So I'll either have to adapt and change my neuronal pathways or just be doomed to have a bump on my forehead for the coming 3 years. (I did some reading =))

That's it for now, I greet you from the reaally sunny continent of Britain and wish you all a great week!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Craaaaaazy English People & Booze..

Well, I took a shower just now and am starting to feel better.

How did I land up like that? Answer is simple: English people & booze.
After writing yesterday, I decided to do a bit of reading because I am seriously not on schedule with that. Problem is, it's actually too hot over here! Even while sitting in the shade I felt like I was being cooked on both sides.. Not very comfi.
With that failure to do something useful, I completely gave up for the day.

Then, at 18.10 sharp, Simon & Joe arrived to guide me to Saffron. Joe's a really cool guy, like Simon, so that was great =) Only my handicap became apparent during dinner. While everyone was talking and having 3 conversations at the same time and megging/trolling/rassing and do on, I felt so foreign! It is a really weird thing, to notice that even if you do speak the language, you still don't master it.
Dinner was veery good! Incredible how good Indian food can taste like =)

Then on to a pub, called The Swan & Castle just next to Oxford Castle. Got my first lessons in ale and must say that it's better than what it looks like. Met a lot of people, like I can't even count how many. And they were all REALLY AMAZINGLY COOL =D So yeah, had a great time talking with everyone. By the way, it's so cute when English try to speak French wit zizz rreallie funniee aksent. Anz zen zey akt az if it iz verrrriee goet!
There was actually one guy who really spoke good French, was quite amazed since he had no French blood in him. Then, another friend of Simon doing Classics (yeah, sounds boring and dull, but he trully is not in a paradoxal way) is actually going to study at a college here close by!
A lot of the people are going to Cambridge though, saying they want a new adventure and try something new. Fair enough, but why leave the most amazing city ? They'll only get disappointed.. 

But the story doesn't stop there. We went to Cellar to continue. Imagine that all those English people keep on ordering drinks and all, of HUGE proportions. It was crazy, no other word for it. But it was actually really fun. Long story short, had an amazing night and a look at the student life in Oxford.

Today it is totally too hot again. Unimaginable! I really feel  like I'm melting outside. So I haven't figured out yet what I'll do the rest of the day. Probably visit the Ashmolean Museum and try to get on with some reading. No, changed my mind. I'll settle for finally reading, and then later I'll try finishing the assignments I need to do before term starts.. Not really interesting, so probably won't hear from me for a couple of days. Need to reorganize a bit and get back on track.

Have fun, and lots of luck for all those who already started studying! (I really like saying that =))

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Little Basterd Invasion!

The past two days I have finally gotten over the "Oh my God I'm in Oxford" feeling.
Yesterday I spent doing research to find my fellow Biomed students, and the one I found on facebook do seem to be very nice. Reassuring, since we are only 40. At least the people with whom I'll spend the coming 3 years with are cool =)

I also went on a biking tour along the canal (I thought..) but got hopelessly lost and ended up on in a beautiful park, just next to the Botanical Gardens. I saw a squirrel, just wandering about and looking for nuts. I, thinking it was special, started to make a looooot of photos.After 15 minuntes or so, I decided to go on. Turns out, squirrels are just as special as joggers in the park.. They are literally everywhere! Very funny to see them busy trying to dig in their reserves for the winter =) They are not at all bothered by people walking by, allowing me to get pretty close to them.

Then, when I wanted to head into town for my mobile phone, and I was walking towards my bike, I suddenly remembered that my key of the bike was still in my room. As I was heading back towards my staircase, I fumbled in my pocket to get out the BBKK (Big Brother Keble Key, essential, life is not possible without it) to become aware of the fact that I had forgotten to lock my room, and left the keys on the outside of my room. What's the problem then? Well this is: There's another door between me and my room for which I need the BBKK. In short, I locked myself out..
Too embarassed by the situation, I started to look around for a student to help me out. Nope, everyone gone around 4 PM here.. So I needed to head to the porter's lodge and humbly explain the situation. Luckily a 3rd year student escorted me.

Today I got up, and thought I might try jogging in the University Park. All set and done, I went. Beautiful, lovely in the morning and very nice. Jogging just ain't my thing.. Next time I'll just take my book. When back, I took a shower and when I entered my room again (bathroom is in the room adjacent to mine) there suddenly was a window cleaner! So I quickly took some clothes and disappeared into the bathroom again.

All dressed, I headed into town to look for a giftjoke to buy for Simon (it's his b'day) And Boswells is THE place to be =) When I returned, I came across Marisa. She's a 2nd year Medicine student at Keble. She was just on her way to the market. " The market? You mean covered market? No, a REAL market!" They actually have a real market on wednesdays =) Marisa explained a lot and showed some nice spots, a lovely Fairtrade shop which is impossible to find if not a local and a good bike shop (deffo a must for me =P)
Just got back, now I think I'll just get my book out and read in the Hayward quad with a view on my room =) The first time I take my book here, but I'm predicting there's many more to come!

Tonight : dinner at Saffron (just love the name =)) followed by an evening out under the guidance of Simon & his friends.

That's it for the moment!

PS: I took photo's, as soon as I've figured out how to get them on this blog, you'll see them =)

Monday, 26 September 2011

My home =)

Hey everyone!

Another post already, now that I still have time I try to tell as much as possible. Tomorrow I want to make pics so that you can get an idea of what Oxford's like and a few nice spots I already discovered.

First of all, I visited the Bodleian Library with my folks and sis before they left. It is really an impressive building dating back from the 15th century. (completion in 1488, 60 years of construction, they kept running out of money..) Lots of history, and a beautiful setting. And I will be allowed to use books out of there to study =) It's really a must see. The tour started in the hospital of Harry Potter. Then we went into a Welcome room where Parliament came together during crisis in London (The Plague and stuff) and I got to sit in the accused spot. That's where students who misbehaved or didn't pay their tuition fees were summoned and punished. Basically, the accused sits in the middle in a kind of cage while the judges are far higher looking down upon the poor thing.. Above, there's the actual library. The books are chained so that no one takes them away. It's quite huge, and smells like wood everywhere. Just next to the Bodleian is the Radcliffe Camera (not named after Daniel, but after John Radcliffe) This part of the library is actually more pretty than that it's useful. A very good study area though.

After that I had to say goodbye and was left to enjoy Oxford on my own. In the afternoon I went to do some grocery shopping (to put in my own fridge!) and bought a kettle (you see, I'm adapting) Then my very cool diagonal neighbour Simon offered to show me Oxford. We saw a loooot of places. I really liked the meadows (forgot the name) and there's a beautiful path alongside the canal. I'm gonna explore that sometime. And actually, Oxford isn't huge at all. It's the nicest, charming city I know of. Simon, as a real Oxfordian Englishman, sometimes uttered real Oxfordian english slang. Luckily he is kind enough to explain them so that I won't look like a dork everywhere I go. Back in my room I made my first tea! In plastic cups, but hey, it was tea =) Then, Simon tipped me a very cosy and good Spanish restaurant.

Next day I got up quite early. The gardener was trying to get all the apples out of the apple tree, which proved to be quite difficult. It was hilarious to see =) Then the brushing man came. It's a whole morning ritual here to take care of the grass. Got up, bought my gown, mortarboard and black ribbon at Shepherd & Woodward (turns out I've got a huge head..) and visited the Museum of Natural History. That's really great! They've got these stuffed animals at the beginning with signs saying "Please Touch" Very soft furs of Shetland ponies or leopords. There's also this impressive collection of dinosaurs and fluorescent stones =) (Really cool to see =)) As I was strolling along High Street, I suddenly saw a cute little church, and there was a very good concert of Schubert, Liszt and Chopin. One of the most beautiful I have heard. ( I was the only listener under the age of 50, but it was well worth going)

I've discovered the one thing that is cheaper in England than in the Netherlands : McFluyrries are only 99 pennies. As a student I will make use of that fact =)

So, tomorrow I'm gonna set out on a touristic walk through Oxford, and maybe bike along the canal and take some pics. Also of my room ofcourse;)


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Yeeeey! I finally arrived and I live "on my own" =D

Hey everyone!

As I mentioned a few times, I wanted to keep up a blog so I don't loose all the contact with you.
I only was too busy with all other kinds of stuff to actually do it.
But now that I am finally here, there's plenty of time! (for 4 days I mean..)

So, the packing was crazy. I wanted to take far too much. But how are you going to be able to decide what to bring to your future life? Impossible..
After a lot of packing, testint (just bought a laptop) and repacking the car started to be filled. Halfway through, I noticed that a bag was still full self-made jam which had exploded during my adventure back from the vineyards.. Great start..
Finally everything was set & done around midnight.

At 4.30 in the morning we got up.. In the end everybody wanted to get a look of Oxford, so it would be a family trip. After looaaaads of difficulty to get everyone IN the car, we finally took off.
Sis & I went sleeping. Mum&Dad were driving.
Before I knew it, we were already at Calais, checking in. We stopped for a well deserved caffe latte and drove into the train. The train transport is incredibly fast! I hadn't noticed that the 2 other times with school..

When we went out of the tunnel, we were quite amazed. It was actually good weather, with the sun and everything! But we still needed to travel another 3 hours. ON THE LEFT. Sometimes quite scary..

Arriving at my college (Keble) I went to the porter to ask for the key. And O my god.. I was staring at the face of Ron Weasley! With the most british accent I EVER heard.. All my courage sank to the bottom of my socks (probably not an english expression)

When I first got into my room, I only saw my view. And it is HUGE & PRETTY =D I've got this couch on which 2 people could sleep, and a huge desk and a fridge and a looooot of space for books =) My room here is double the size of the room I got at my parents..
Ofcourse I had forgotten something, I wouldn't be me if I hadn't. But this time I really screwed up.. I left my wallet with ID, money, cards and stuff in the bag which I repacked the last minute..
Thank god I also have a French passport!
Again, it's not my fault. It's in the genes. My sister already lost her phone at the cafe in Calais.

After 3 hours or so I was settled, and we went into Oxford a little bit. It was already after 5 PM so shops and attractions were closed, but it stays an amazingly beautiful city. Then we had a lot of trouble finding a spot in a pub, they're literally full. You can't even get in. Everyone is drinking or eating on the tables, next to them, on the counter, in the air.. They are too popular.
Finally found a spot luckily and enjoyed the good pub food and drink. I had my first Pimm's, and I sense that there are many more to come =) They are reeaaaally good!

Today I am going to visit the Bodleian Library and then I think I might do some shopping (gown, kettle) I'm gonna take it easy, and probably continue the loads of reading I need to do.

That's my firt blog! I'm going to try to update it regularly. You all enjoy studying and partying! And I see you soon =)

Marielle @ Keble College