Friday, September 01, 2006

4am and it hits--I am going to Oxford!

Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I have been afflicted with this sense of modesty when it comes talking about my admission into the Ox. It could look like to some that it is false and that I am trying to get more attention by being humble, or maybe after reading this blog you may think that it comes from self-doubt and my inability to not talk about it is really an admission that I am scared of playing with the intellectual big boys.

Well, those reasons are fucking wrong.

The real reason is that I am petrified of jinxing myself.

I am an easily excitable person. Ask me for a restaurant recc and I will say that the food there is “amazing”, ask me what I think of a person and I will say that “she is my bestie”. I have a tendency to get caught up in the excitement and use a lot of hyperbole. At first this can be annoying because it’s like being around a PR girl all the time but, like most people you eventually grow to love it because life is always exciting for me and I like to share my excitement with other people—I mean, just ask my co-workers at the Agency and they’ll tell you how I used to walk around the office serenading everyone with my renditions of Ella Fitzgerald. You know slaves used to sing in order to keep their sanity—well, the same went for me, I created my own creative outlet.

But by having this easily excitable personality comes a downfall, I am a firm believer that the “evil eye” is watching over me, ready to take away my happiness, so I end up sweeping the truly special things under the rug. Last year I bragged how I found the most amazing apartment, with the most amazing best friend in the entire world and employed by the most amazing agency, and within three weeks I was in the hospital with meningitis, crying at my desk daily, and trying to explain to my roommate that if he clogs a toilet, it should be him that uses the plunger. The evil eye has it out for me.

Like, I haven’t even told the alumnae magazine yet about me getting into school! This was a fucking secret. I am not blowing my escape. I mean, I even went as far to make appointments with doctors so that I could get a clean bill of health, you know, to ward off the cancer causing evil eye. I am covering my ass on this one, and part of that is not discussing it.

But when you choose to ignore a moment and not talk about it, it’s easy to forget that it exists. Much like me heading off to Oxford in the fall. It has been very easy for me to say “I am going to Oxford” when I didn’t know the dates of the term or when I was supposed to arrive. Like, it didn’t feel real—just something that I was going to do in the future without any commitment that I am actually going to do it, like saying that I am going to get married or going to have kids. Someday I will, but I can’t tell you when that someday will be.

However, I’ve just been jolted to reality in receiving my “induction” packet. And it motherfuckingly hit: I am going to a foreign country, 5,000 miles away from my family and friends and the only life that I have ever known—a stereotypical NYC/LI gal and throwing myself into the place that the term “old skool” refers to. I will be donning my sub fusc to take exams and have sherry before dinner and go to parties called bops.

What the fuck did I get myself into?

As if the culture shock isn’t even more astounding, I am further reminded that I am no longer in Jew York—the first day of orientation is on Yom Kippur. What school in the NYC would ever have the first day of orientation for new students on one of the most holy Jewish holidays? I might as well draw a star of david on my forehead at this point.

It just served as another reminder that I am going to a place that is completely different than anything that I have ever known. But there is an excitement in having the ability to reinvent yourself—learning from the mistakes and lessons from the past and applying them to your new circumstances. The people there are going to think I am just naturally wise instead of realizing that I have put myself in every crazy hair brained scheme imaginable all in the name of experience—and yes, I really did work as a dominatrix for a night because I was curious.

But what is even cooler, is that the Jewish community there, well from what I saw from the pics on the Jewish Student Society’s homepage, is something that I have never seen before. As a Jewish single gal in NYC, I realize that finding a nice Jewish boy is a “challenge”. So much so, that the veto power skews for the guy. Work in finance, law, or medicine and no matter how nebbishy you look, how many genital warts scars you had lasered off, fat, ugly bald, short, acne scars and you will have a half way hot gal on your arm to take home to mom for shabbos dinner. The more zeros in your salary, the hotter the girl. A direct relationship in stats speak.

It’s rough being a single Jew gal in this city. It’s a fierce competition among the participants to snag the best guy—including sabotaging each other by telling one another that those jeans don’t make our ass look big, when in fact it makes it look tremendous. We work out and munch on salad, wear our ivy education on our sleeve while highlighting our nurturing instinct, because lets face it, there is an element of truth to the premise of Jewtopia (a Christian guy wanting to marry a Jewish girl so he never has to make another decision again). We work in order to be attractive to the Jewish male species.

But over there it’s different. The power is skewed, and for once, in my favor.

The men were HOTT. Yes, I am using the word HOTT (two t’s and in caps for added emphasis) to describe the members of my tribe. Which is usually not an adjective that is thrown around to describe my people. We are known as funny, smart, good with money, a bit Japy, but as a whole you would never use the word HOT to describe Jews. Maybe Brazillians, maybe Israelis even, but definitely not the Jewish population as a whole. But what makes me excited is not that the Jews pictured were hot, but that the girls were BUSTED. I can’t even say that they “weren’t that pretty” or any other euphemism to say that someone’s face reminds you of the elephant man, a lot of these girls were unfortunate looking. And I’m not.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be a contender in capturing the prey and not have to take the left over scraps from the lionesses who’ve feasted first?

And maybe, just maybe, I might be able to have a normal relationship with a guy who shares a lot of my quirks, is smart, and hopefully hasn’t been with men? But I think being with men thing is less a religious thing than it is a Shannon thing. I need to break myself out of the habit of sharing the same taste in men that my crushes do.

So, yes, I am excited but also freaking out. The smoking has commenced. The late night phone calls and insomnia has begun. And my obsessive streak kicking in by me pouring over the college website and memorizing what exactly sub fusc is.

But to share with you readers my moment of irony—remember a while back how I bragged that I got my grade in my stats class because I talked to the professor, after I failed the tests, never showed up for class, nor did any of the homework? Yea, well, the evil eye actually has reared its ugly head. It seems that I need to buy a stats text book and “review” chapters 1-6, material that I should already be familiar with for my required statistics course.

Why do I think at Oxford that it will take a lot more than just dinner and out drinking my professor?

It’s funny, as soon as I got my homework assignment, I stopped romanticizing my undergrad experience. Think about it, often times we look back to the times where we were comfortable with this fondness, idealizing it because in many ways it is simpler than our present life. Undergrad is fun. Drinking all the time, your friends within a fifteen minute walk, omelets catered to your liking after a rough night drinking. In wanting to hold onto a memory, I also created a fallacy in a sense at the same time. The reality: I enjoyed college because I was drunk all the time and I had friends and my wifey to escape into. As much fun as it was, it was also an incredibly unhealthy, physically and emotionally time for me. There was a semester that I couldn’t even get out of bed because I was so depressed—instead I stayed in my room and drank jugs of Carlo Rossi wine.

We don’t remember that shit, now do we? Or rather, we choose not to remember that shit, now don’t we?

But I am incredibly excited. It’s like I feel like I am given an opportunity to take the lessons I learned thus far and apply it to this amazing experience—so I can actually take full advantage of it and not spend it drunk and doubtful about myself. It’s very symbolic for me, it’s like I am revisiting my fourteen year old self, the healthy, kinda mouthy, dark brown haired girl that somehow whose identity got muddled. It’s almost as if now I can find her, spare her the pain and frustrations of the next ten years, and let her reap the rewards of this new experience. If you think about it, we go through shit, and then somehow end up full circle from where we began. But just this time, a bit wiser having gone around the block a few times.

So yea, this is where I stand on Oxford. It’s fucking hitting me. I am off to grad school in three and half weeks. I am having a going away party in a few weeks. And I am leaving a lot behind by the month’s end. Bittersweet is too clichéd a word to describe what I am feeling right now.

And it’s almost 4am as I finish typing this. This stream of consciousness enabled by my inability to sleep due to mole removal #2. This one was on my back an I am sore sore sore. But off to VA on Sat for a few days to visit the wifey and my gay platonic soulmate.


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Nina said...

hey dude, in terms of sub fusc.. do yourself a favour and bring a flattering pair of black pants, black shoes (not stilettos) and a good white shirt...or you'll look like a complete fool like i did during Matriculation.. and hey, if i survived the ox culture shock, so will you. see you in a few weeks!

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

which college? because your college is where its all at, join your Graduate Common Room. Depending on your degree and college, it could end up being 'having a few beers and spending some time in the Bod' or it could be a real bitch.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger B to the... said...

Yo, what's the big deal with finding a nice Jewish boy? Isn't that some form of rasism? Just glad I don't have any stupid restrictions and can date any mutt on the street.

At 2:40 AM, Blogger Hæ★ said...

I will give you advice, the only truth: that it is not easy.

It is not easy.

You will scream into the phone late at night or early in the morning. You will cry.

You'll have to discover new streets, faces, ways of talking and looking at yourself and others.

And gradually, carefully, you'll find your self and your way again, and it will be exquisite.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

At 2:41 AM, Blogger Hæ★ said...

PS: The introduction BS is a bitch. Just wait for classes.


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