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February 21, 2009

A Tempestuous Week

'Twas week 5 in the term and all through the town
Students were studying as can always be found.
Mid term brings about it a hump and a woe,
Many do find it its own kind of low.
And I just beginning my second'ry tutorial,
Thought the weeks of one paper deserved a memorial;
For, though without experience, I take it as true
That paper writing is to childbirth; now I'll deliver two!
Yet need breeds invention, as is also said;
I have hope in four weeks to still have my head.
And week five held more than paper paranoia,
For I had the chance to stand in Shakespeare's foyer.
(If you say to me, "that last rhyme doesn't work,"
I'll say to you, "pretend you're from New York!")
In this room, upon the wall
Was painted a reminder, to one and to all;
"wish not for riches" it said, to the point,
"for riches are treacherous and with you not joint."

I'd really like to finish this poem, but I'm actually still in the midst of my labors. Therefore, the rest of what made this week tempestuous will have to go to posterity via bullet-points.

--We went to Stratford and watched the Tempest. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to studying the play later in the term. The redemption in the play was particularly intriguing, so I'm happy I have a couple of weeks to think about it before I actually write anything. Also, if you ever go to the gift shop by Shakespeare's birth place, look at the 'Love Mug'. The way Shakespeare portrays love is absolutely fantastic anyway, and this mug has a compilation of quotations from his plays - if you're funny bone is shaped at all like mine, you're in for a treat.

--I had two separate dialogues with Jewish people which were very interesting. I've not spoken to a Jew for probably 10 years, and these conversations had a lot of substance. One thing in particular that I'm happy I learned was an interpretation of the story of Abraham's plea for Sodom in Genesis 18. The moral of the story according to the Jews is that God was teaching Abraham the ability of a group of people to redeem/save the people around them. Maybe that is a common Christian interpretation of the story as well, but in most of my experience, the OT stories aren't thought of along these lines. I think I'm going to be able to study part of the Bible with some of these people I have met, and I think that this will clarify a lot of things I don't even know I misunderstand!

--One other quick story that I thought was amusing. You perhaps have heard that the English are very respectful of others' privacy. In day to day life this is apparent in little things: you walk down the street, and accidentally bump into an English person, and they apologize; also, the customer service is terrible, supposedly because customers certainly don't want someone in their face asking a bunch of questions. The other day I encountered an example of this which was, I thought, a bit over the top. It was evening and I was walking to my flat. A man coming the opposite direction apparently didn't notice me until I was about fifteen feet in front of him. As we passed, he started apologizing. I didn't understand what he was saying, because I had no idea what his apology referred to. Apparently, he was talking to himself before he saw me and felt bad about it, "Um. No hard feelings, sir."

JoyLynn Yoder
Fellow, Hilary Term '09

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