Friday, October 19, 2007

Newcomer's Club

There is a Newcomers Club at Oxford for wives and partners ( I just want to jump in here and say that I truly hate that word. Although I do see Avram and I as partners in our marriage, to me the word is just a politically correct way of making it normal to not get married, and I don't like it) of students at Oxford. They organize many activities, most of which don't really work for me, since they are explicitly not for babies or young children. They do have a playgroup every Friday morning, which is for children up to four.

I've known about this since before we came here, but because I was sick, or needed to do housework, or plain felt overwhelmed at going into Oxford without Avram that I hadn't attended until today. Actually, today I barely made it as well. I needed to catch the minibus, but I also needed to take a bath, but Avram had taken a bath also, and we have a seemingly small water heater, so the hot water ran out before my bath was full enough to take. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until I had gotten in, so I lay in my cold bath, turning on the water every few minutes to catch the new warm water until it ran cold again in an attempt to warm up my bath enough that I wanted to take it. This method was probably very self defeating, as I'm sure the water got colder in the bath faster than it warmed up in the heater, so my bath wasn't progressing at all. Finally Avram came in and told me that I had fifteen minutes until the minibus left, so to just stop dawdling and take the bath, which I did, while he prepped everything else, and walked me out to the minibus, so Lydia and I would arrive in time.

But the important fact here is that I did make it, and Lydia and I were finally off to Oxford by ourselves for the first time. We arrived at the playgroup, where it cost one pound to attend, to pay for the tea, coffee, and biscuits (cookies). Thankfully they also had orange juice, so I felt like I got my pound's worth. The only play groups that I've attended before now were at my BYU ward, and so I already knew basically everyone there. This was very different, because there were many small conversations instead of one large interactive one, so I didn't really know where to begin. There was another woman from the ward here who's also from Utah; her husband is getting an MBA (or is it a MBA?) and she has a two year old daughter, so I sort of siphoned off her socializing for most of the time there. I met three women whose husbands are here for MBAs.

These are really rather intimidating people to talk to, because typically a person doesn't go back for an MBA until after they've worked for a while, so they're usually much more settled in life. For example, two out of the three have houses they own that they're keeping while they're in school here. Avram and I are just lucky to have a free place to stash all of our small amount of junk. Also, one American I met husband is planning to apply to jobs all over Europe, so they're pretty open minded about their future. I felt rather like a homebody; I didn't tell her, but Avram and I look forward to the day we'll settle down in America. Also, she was telling me that she didn't attend the Newcomer's coffee mornings on Wednesday because her days were so busy and filled up with other things.

I'm just not that creative, I suppose. Usually I lounge around most of the day, clean if I'm motivated, and take Lydia outside to walk around the Manor grounds in the afternoon, after I nap while she does. Man, that sounds pretty pathetic even to me, and I write the stuff (as well as live it).

Really, England has just been a little overwhelming, while at the same time underwhelming so far. Overwhelming, because everything is different, although usually in just small ways scattered throughout life, and underwhelming because England is...England. History is here, Logres is here, King Arthur was (maybe) here, or at least his legends are. All of my favorite nineteenth century books take place here, except for Laura and Mary and Anne Shirley's. And yet, most of the time I just play with Lydia, eat, cook, walk around, etc, and don't do anything in my life that alludes to all of these amazing things. That's very underwhelming, really. I mean up until now the most British thing I've done every week is go grocery shopping.

Today in Oxford felt pretty foreign, though. After all, the building are all so old, and they're just everywhere, so it's not like I have to search out a different look or feeling.

All in all, I liked the playgroup today, and plan to attend it every week. Lydia seemed to like it too, especially the biscuits part. At the end we sang some songs, starting with Head and Shoulders, but it was to a different tune than we use in Primary. Lydia normally loves that song, and alternates between touching her head and toes, and ignoring all other body parts mentioned, but this time she just stood there. Amazing what a different tune can do (as well as a whole group of strangers).

Oh, I must take a minute and comment on Lydia. She's been learning so much vocabulary lately, or more accurately using so much vocabulary that she already knows and recognizes. This morning for the first time she said I love you (in her slurred way she says everything. It really helps to know what she's already saying when she says a word, because it's mostly unrecognizable otherwise). And she says bread, and peanut butter (her favorite food in the world, I think), plane, bird, shoes, walk, thirsty (yesterday was a first for this one, and the next), drink, milk, Mama and Daddy (and uses them correctly), belly button (really only the button part), baby (perhaps her favorite word), Doggie, bark, baa, quack, etc, etc, etc. She's always been scared of animals, but learning the word for Dog and what a dog does seems to have cured this fear, at least for dogs, or anything that looks vaguely dog-like, because she calls them dog too (to date, cats, pigs, horses...). I'm glad, I was worried she would carry that fear into childhood.

Anyway, I know I'm rambling now, but lately I haven't hardly posted at all because I've been wanting to say something funny, or tell a good story, and I've finally realized that I should just treat this more like a regular journal, and just record often my life's happenings and thoughts. Less exciting to read, perhaps, but a lot more effective for know what's happening in my life on a more regular basis.


  1. As President Hinckley once said, Life is not made up of just grand vistas but mostly the ordinary and actually, later, you really wished someone would have recorded the ordinary because you forget the little daily details.

  2. Well I love reading all your ordinary. It still sounds like fun meeting new people. I rarely even leave my street so dont meet new people much. I never thought I would turn into such a homebody as a mother. glad to hear that lydia is talking more. wish I could hear her!

    It sounds really interesting to go shopping there. i never buy sausage, but your disription of the ones you bought made me not want to!! ewww... and all that math to check the prices sounds confusing and time consuming!

  3. Sounds like your having a great time despite feeling like a fish out of water. Hans is now very responsive and has a tendency to want me to hold him and take him around and look at things or else he wails.

    I have to say Thora that today Heather was feeling down because she felt she wasn't doing anything useful. I remembered when you had made comments to that end and I expressed what I thought I remembered Avram saying to you. "You are useful dear, you're doing the most important thing you can do right now."

    We miss you both here in Utah. Tonight we talked about our favorite issue "Club" but this time it was Me and Heather trying to help Aedo and to tell him to not worry so much. Odd it seems that we always find a way to fill the needs that are created when they are left vacant by others.

    Well that's all I have to share now
    Hope everything is going well. Send my regards to Avram.