The Quad at Regent's Park
I am blogging today from the Emack & Bolio's on Center St. in Jamaica Plain. I'm surrounded by other folks my age, all mostly on laptop computers, working away diligently on whatever projects we are working on. This is a cool place; there is good coffee, good sugar-free ice cream, and cool music that I don't ordinarily listen to. I come here sometimes when I have writer's block...there are no domestic distractions and I am good at tuning out the people around me. What is odd is the anti-conversationalism that occurs here...this time of day E&B is always full of people like me typing away working hard...there is free wi-fi internet access and I suspect that a handful of the people here come here for the free internet access. Talking to one another occurs in hushed tones and if a conversation gets too lively, looks of disapproval are swift and sure.
I leave for Oxford in a week. My tuition and room and board are paid. I've been in touch with Dr. Sheppy and the Bursar. I do need to bring black-tie for 'formal hall' on June 6th...and I will be borrowing an academic gown for other Fridays. I am sure that Dr. Sheppy finds my enthusiasm for what are probably tired rituals of college life at Oxford to be a bit odd, but I don't care. I may never have the opportunity to experience this sort of academic life again, and the little taste of it I will get during my six weeks there I will have to savor for the rest of my life.
One of the things I will be doing while in Oxford, aside from my research, will be to really examine whether or not it would be feasible for Darrick and I to live in the UK. The language is roughly the same, but aside from that the culture is greatly different from what we know here in the US. There are greater class distinctions, particularly in academic circles. It is more expensive in many ways. We would still be able to have legal recognition of our marriage, though the details of that would be slightly different. We would have to find work, certainly possible. We would have to go through a very careful series of steps to bring the cats directly into the UK without quarantine, if they were still with us when we travelled. All these things would require careful planning and careful deliberation. But I hope to come home with a better sense of the possibility. I love my position at Boston University, so we are in no rush to move...but we both love the UK, and it would certainly be a grand adventure while we were both young enough to accomplish it.