A retrospective note on Oxford finals (and why you, too, will survive them)

An introductory anecdote: last summer, holed up in my room in Florence as August came to an end, air conditioning blasting into my face, I found an Instagram account. It belonged to a student at Corpus Christi College, and they made embroidered stands, customised with different designs or quotes. One caught my eye: “What if something wonderful happens?”. After a couple of weeks of panicking at the prospect of a final year packed with work and stress ahead of me, which had been filled with “What if something terrible happens?”, this quote seemed both ironic and apt. I made a note about it and asked them to make me one over the Easter holidays. It took its place above my bedside table for the rest of my time at Oxford. And it turned out to be true. Continue reading

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Beginner’s misfortune

Look, today has been a Tuesday you couldn’t fix no matter what, and on Thursday I said I would make it a good one. I do this a lot. I plan things out in my mind and I will them to live up to expectations. Today was different, though, today I know where I went wrong and why Tuesday crumbled.

It started, I suppose, with the real mistake being the fact I spent the weekend packing for our journey, when I should have been reading Emilia Galotti, act 3, past its second scene.  Continue reading

On loss and lychees

One of the things I’ve made mine, in the 22 years I’ve inhabited this planet, has been my love of all things cold.  I won’t drink water unless it’s absolutely freezing, I keep every fruit in the house in the fridge – including bananas and avocados – and I love nothing more than a sudden spray of cold water when I am in the shower (I have the feeling this is connected to an article I read years ago about it being good for your circulation: it isn’t).

My taste for coldness extends to the environments surrounding me. Continue reading

21 questions {before I hit 21}

  1. Home is…?  I couldn’t really answer entirely and only in relation to my year abroad to this question! Home is Oxford, St Hilda’s College; home is Florence, in Italy, and my huge bed which I miss more than any other part of the house,  home is my old house down South in Puglia, where I grew up, and Cozze, the place I was a toddler and I loved to put logs in the fire, home is the houses in London where my cousins and I played as kids… and home is also, now, in some way, my postcard-covered little bedroom in Stuttgart-Ost, with its missing wooden panel in a corner and piles of books. Continue reading