Monday, January 21, 2008

By the Sweat of Thy Brow...

Avram has a job interview! Everyone should pray for him, because it's the first interview he's had, although he's applied to lots and lots of places here. It's for a data entry job for the Oxford University Press, and the interview is this Friday. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, because I know just having an interview doesn't necessarily mean anything, but it would be so wonderful if Avram got the job. Then our financial worries would be over, because we originally counted on him getting a job here, which isn't that weird to expect; at BYU, there were always jobs to be had, if you were willing (true, they might be food service or custodial, but I've done both, and they're not that bad). At Oxford, it is apparently too much to expect to get a job. For one thing, there isn't a central campus really; all of the 39 colleges are self contained, and then the departments, where classes are held, are separate as well. All of downtown Oxford is sprinkled with various and sundry collegiate pieces, none of which are centralized organizationally even. And they don't hire students for support staff anyway.

I think it's because up until very recently, say post WWII, that people who weren't upper class came to Oxford as well. That means for the last 700 years or so students here didn't need to work for their living, because if they could afford to go to college, they could afford a lot, and wouldn't need to work a day in their life, let alone while at school. If this seems odd, reflect on the fact that Avram's college, Queen's College, didn't let women in until twenty years ago. Oxford is not a place for radical change. Even today, although students come from all walks of life, it is still not customary for students in England to work while in school. As an American, this is all very odd to me, and I find I prefer a school environment that encourages students working. For one thing, then the jobs that are available have student friendly hours. Here, if you apply for a job, they want a lot of hours out of you (one problem with finding a job here; Avram can't work all the hours they want, usually).

Because of generous gifts and loans from family members, and because of much frugal pence pinching, we've survived thus far, but it would be very nice to not always buy the cornflakes, just because they're only 39 pence, or to get to have enough money to eat past March 1st (we will anyway, once our tax refund back, don't worry, we're not going to starve). Today I found the mother of all mortars and pestles, where the mortar was probably a full eight to ten inches across, and the pestle was like. Well, the mind fails, it was so large. A massive, massive carrot, maybe. Anyway, it was made out of granite, and you're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up right here. I'm bringing it up, because if he got this job, then I could buy this mortar and pestle for my souvenir, and my life would be complete. Whatever wasn't complete, I could just take, and grind up in my mortar, after all. (It was 15 pounds, which isn't bad, for here).

So everyone pray for Avram.

In a side note, they told us to plan for living expenses of 600 pounds a month, not including rent. In our original estimations we calculated for this amount, being good obedient people. Being frugal (okay, fine, cheap), non-drinking Mormons, we only use about 300 pounds a month, so at least we're way under budget in our extremities.

In an Avram related note, first, if you haven't been checking already, Avram has resumed posting, so check his blog out. Second, he's done applying to colleges, so we're just in the waiting stage now.

As names go, currently Avram doesn't want Aurelia at all, which makes my heart bleed, and other appropriately dramatic sentiments. On the other hand, he'd really like to name her Jane, and I'll only consent to Jane for a middle name, so I guess we're in the same boat.


  1. We'll pray for Avram--even put his name on the prayer roll--temple opens tomorrow. I assume when you say your mortar and pestle is 15 lbs you are talking money and not weight. How about naming your daughter Charlotte or Carlotta or, for a plain, but nice name, Ellen. How about choosing before we leave our mission? We bought a personalized gift for all of the granddaughters. Mikelle was not yet named so we didn't get her one but we are thinking of going back and getting one for her and if we knew your daughter's name, we could get one for her too. But the time is far spent, there is little remaining.

  2. I pray that he gets the job! And living in a tight budget is never fun.. this is actually the first time our married life that we have a little more money. I remember all those college years when cory worked part time and we just scraped by. Of course then we bought a house o that takes up most the money again. I never really thought about all the other students maybe not having to worry about money, ahhh can you iomagine just being born into a wealthy family and never having to work unless you wanted to??

    I personally love the name Jane. And think its appropriate for england as well. and come on thora, you loved jane austen right?? :) I hope you can find a name that resignates with both of you soon. since I am personally sure I am havinga boy again i have been going through boy names and cory hates them all.. I really like Elliot, Edmond, Edward, Miles, and Ezekeil. cory likes Aurthor. Lets hope its a girl for me...

  3. What the devil would one do with a mortar and pestle that large? I guess grind wheat? But heavens, if you have time for that, I must be doing something drastically wrong. :)

    We're praying for Avraim too. I, too, remember those years of scraping by (I think now, 10 years later, we've finally overcome them!) and it's no fun, and I'm very impressed with your penny-pinching prowess.