Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Term in the Books

Yesterday I handed in my last assignment for Hilary Term 2014 (because yes, at Oxford, even the academic quarters have their own funny names from Christian feast days -- fall being 'Michaelmas,' winter 'Hilary,' and spring 'Trinity'). It was the same incongruously formal submission process as time, and with that bureaucratic move I'm now over a quarter of the way done with my Masters. It's scary how quickly the time feels like it's flown by.

(My view for much of the term, ensconced in a stack of books - not that there's much to complain about!)

(The view out the big window at Duke Humfrey's library)

Hilary Term was out of control, in the best and worst possible senses of the phrase. I loved the class I took this term, loved rowing at what felt like every possible hour of the day and night, loved making new friends and getting to know the amazing people in my life even better... but I also felt like I was on the edge of crashing and burning at any given moment. The past two weeks, especially, which were fraught with some additional emotional turmoil from outside sources, felt at times like a herculean test of time and stress management.

(low grade rebellion.)

But... I made it! Now I have a quiet six weeks in and around Oxford to recharge, read some books (for fun! what a concept!), get bored, and get ready to attack Trinity with a vengeance. I'm hoping to do a little traveling and will have the pleasure of hosting my brother and his wife for a week in April, but mainly I'll be just resting at home in Oxford. I'm really looking forward to it, especially since this has been the weather we've been having of late:

I'm swooning.

Now, if I could just find a horse to ride...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Last Reminder of the Season Gone By

My mom came to visit a few weeks ago, and she brought with her my mail from the States. Besides the wash of bills and tax forms (ugh), there were also a few gems--including a lovely thank you card from Niamh at Life of Riley!--and one big lumpy package from the USEF.

I knew what this package would be, but I still got choked up as I opened it. Inside were the last year-end awards to trickle in from the 2013 season: Ringo and Ky's Silver Stirrup Awards from the Performance Horse Registry (USEF's award program). It was another reminder of how wonderful last season truly was: Ringo came home New England regional champion at both 4th Level and PSG as well as nabbing 4th nationally at PSG, and Ky came reserve at Novice level eventing and third in Training level dressage.

(Pretty! I don't think I'll ever stop being a sucker for 15¢ worth of satin)

Gosh, I've been so lucky. It was a bittersweet moment to hang them up here in my room in Oxford, with Ray and Ky both off to lovely new homes 3,000 miles away, but also an excellent reminder of how fortunate I've been to have such wonderful opportunities to show and participate in this sport that I love so much for so long. Plus, it's a good incentive to get back to it someday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Visit from an Old Friend

Oh goodness, I've fallen horribly behind in my blogging of late - massive apologies!! The end of term has hit me with the force of a juggernaut, and I've been frantically trying to keep up. It's going to be another crazy sprint into the finish over the next week and change; fingers crossed I can get everything wrapped up in time!

Besides a mountain of schoolwork and a lot (and I really mean A LOT) of rowing, things have actually been pretty quiet here, all things considered... with one major exception, that my good friend and former roommate Leslie came to visit a few weeks ago! I hadn't seen Leslie in a year and it was great to catch up again; it's always so nice to meet people that you can just fall right back into talking to them like you've been seeing them every day even when it's actually been months and months.

I lived with Leslie during my short stint in Middleburg in 2012 and we first met through the USEA, so needless to say that horse gossip was the top priority of the trip. Now that I have a little more distance from it, I can finally realize how absolutely ridiculous horse chat is... but that doesn't mean that I don't still love every second of it!!

(Leslie and I back in the good ol days with Orlando and Ray)

It was also really fun to get to see Oxford afresh through Leslie's eyes. I tried to be the best tour guide I could (despite having to abandon her for a whole day while I was in class) and it was great to get to think about all these beautiful sights that I've started to take for granted in the same light I had when I first arrived. This is such a cool place.

 (Enjoying some British high tea)

(Eating in Pembroke hall! If only the food matched up to the view...)

(Checking out the All Souls chapel - so. freakin'. boss.)

I was sad Leslie had to leave after just a few day - Leslie I you're reading this: please come visit again soon!!
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