Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

This Column Is Ironic: America, **** Yeah!

Wolfram Alpha tells me that I’m currently 3,457 miles from my home in Scranton, Pennsylvania and that I’m 5,335 miles from that glorious Farm that you all inhabit right now. Needless to say, I should be living the Oxford life. And in a way, I definitely am. I think I had a pretty quintessential English weekend — or at least I tried to.

It all started on Friday morning. I woke up to watch Kate Middleton slip out of my grasp forever. (Speaking of, remember last week’s discourse on British accents? That definitely applies to Kate, who is a 9.5 by default. By my rules, that means her British accent makes her an 11! That’s goddess territory, honestly.) It’s just really frustrating. Prince William is almost bald before he’s 30, and he still gets one of the most beautiful women on the planet. They say “love is blind,” but I don’t think that counts when there’s an HRH title at stake. So while most of you were probably sound asleep in bed, I was drowning my sorrows with gin and tonics like a 40-year-old man. Some people suggested drinking every time you saw a funny hat or Elton John, but I don’t think anyone could have survived that game.

Then we can fast-forward to Saturday evening. Now, note that May 1 is largely celebrated here in Oxford. At 6 a.m. on May Morning, the Magdalen College choir sings from the top of Magdalen Tower as people flood High Street. It’s all very celebratory and fun, but who wants to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday? Short answer: you don’t. Oxford students generally just stay out partying, partying (yeah!) all night — so that’s what I did. From the college bar to the club to a sunrise on High Street, it was all a fantastic evening/night/morning. It was pure Oxford tradition in the best of ways.

And then we have Sunday. Well, Sunday was perhaps less exciting in terms of Oxford tradition, but still quite traditional nonetheless. I literally spent the entire day writing my tutorial paper. You know the stereotype about going abroad and doing no work? Yeah, that doesn’t hold when you do the Stanford in Oxford program. 2,500 words a week — and that’s just for your tutorial. This quarter, I’ll probably do quadruple the writing I’d do at Stanford. How disgusting is that? At least I’ll come back well versed in the ways of BS.

Ah, and so would complete my quintessential Oxford weekend, right? You’re wrong. Because when I wrapped up my tutorial paper at roughly 3:15 a.m. British Standard Time, I sat down on Twitter just for a quick moment to see what was going on in the world when I was greeted with a message from the New York Times: “President Obama to make unplanned announcement at 10:30 p.m.” It was only 15 minutes to wait. How could I not?

And so, the news that we are so familiar with at this point ended up coming across the wire. Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALS. I managed to stay awake until 5:45 a.m. while watching a live stream of CNN. Trust me, I was thrilled. Sunday evening was a time when everyone in the United States — even the most liberal human beings like myself — could count themselves as complete neoconservatives. I was so glad that I ended up working late so I could be a witness to history in real-time.

Yet I think Osama’s death certainly proves one thing for me: I cannot escape America. I’m here in England. I had the perfect Oxford weekend. I’ve been absolutely loving my time here and my adaptation to English culture (however similar it may be to our own), but that surge of pure American pride I felt on hearing President Obama’s speech on Sunday night showed me that while you can take the boy out of America, you cannot take the America out of the boy. I’ve loved my few weeks abroad thus far, but really, there’s no place like home.

 

Shane’s looking for fun drinking games to play at Oxford. Send him your suggestions at savitsky@stanford.edu.