In the meantime, I can tell you about the trip a bit. The weather was fairly nice -- a bit rainy, but not too cold. We arrived at Oxford utterly exhausted from the overnight trip and no sleeping, only to find that our room wouldn't be available for hours and hours. We managed to make it to the dining room and order breakfast, but I was crying into my tea. I think one of the wait staff must have told the front desk lady about the poor crying American girl, because she came up about fifteen minutes later and said that she'd managed to switch our room so we could go up and get some sleep now. I was so grateful, even if they did all think that I was truly pathetic.
The breakfasts were consistently delicious there -- I want fried mushrooms and grilled tomatoes with my eggs and toast every morning, please. Mark and Ulrika, Kev's colleagues, took great care of us while we were there, and were just tremendously warm and welcoming. We had a very nice time, and when we finally left for Cambridge, we were sorry to leave Oxford behind.
In Cambridge, we arrived to find that they'd put us up in a VERY grand suite in one of the colleges. A huge living area, a massive bedroom with appropriately massive four-poster canopied bed that looked like it belonged in a medieval castle. All a bit chilly at first, but once we got the heater and fake fire going, it cosied up pretty well. Overall, I'm afraid we didn't get a chance to be as impressed with Cambridge -- Kev was busy with meetings/interviews all day, and I was either resting in the room or working on the computer during the day. And the second night we were there, I got really ill, and ended up going to the hospital in the middle of the night, which was no fun. (I'm fine now.) So I feel like Cambridge maybe didn't get a fair shake from us, but what can you do? It did seem pretty, what little we saw of it from the bus during the day.
Friday morning, Kev and I took the train into London -- he went on to Heathrow to head home and prep for classes, and I went to my 'cousin' Elaine's lovely flat (near the Bermondsey tube stop, Jubilee line, in central London). Oh -- first I met her and Angie and their friends for lunch near her work; good seafood risotto. Mostly I rested Friday, still recovering from illness. Saturday I can't quite remember -- we must have gone out for a meal or two?
Sunday I met Farah and she took me to wander about Spitalfields Market and then out for curry lunch with some sf folks in Brick Lane. I had a good Ceylon prawn curry for lunch (not as good as my mother's, but not bad at all), and got to finally meet Niall Harrison, reviews editor for SH. I guiltily remembered that I owed him a review, but he was very nice about it. Farah very generously offered to let us rent us her house in Reading as incentive for our moving to England -- a tempting offer!
Sunday evening, I went with Elaine et. al. to see a film that some of the local Sri Lankan uncles had made. Interesting. It made me wonder what kind of film my dad would make, if he were to make one.
Monday took the bus back to Oxford to meet with Clare Morgan, who heads the writing program there. We had a good meeting, and it's clear that if we go, she'd be happy to have me do some teaching for them, which is nice to know. Sadly, the available pay is pretty minimal, so it wouldn't actually make much difference to our finances. But it would be a good way to get in contact with the writing community there, and of course, I do love teaching. Had great food Monday, btw -- everything from tea and scones at the Randolph Hotel to a really good cajun chicken baguette from the place near the bus terminal, to the nummy dinner Elaine cooked for me that night -- sort of a Moroccan chicken with couscous, plus some steamed mussels and salad and cheesecake. All good. I think I'd eat well in England...
And then Tuesday I came home.