Here are a few other general reflections on my first term in Oxford:
- It took me awhile to buy into the value of doing research (as an extensive and prolonged activity). Just when I had started to buy in, I had a conversation with a professor about how he saw his work effecting policy (or the world generally). Here was his response (Picture the speaker in a tweed jacket, a sweater vest, and a knit tie. He is also Norwegian and I have always wanted to ask him if his wife knits his ties.): "For those of us who write, once it has been written, much has been achieved. If it is read, that is certainly an advanatage." It was at that moment that I knew that I couldn't aspire to wear tweed jackets, sweater vests, and knit ties, and write books that people may/may not read (for multiple reasons).
- While there are things that I have not bought into, there are huge parts of me that have adjusted to the Oxford way. I find myself not getting worked up about things that would have previously been huge catastrophes in my life. I think this results from an awareness that in this country, there is little information to be gathered (aka no one knows the answer to your question); when you do find out information that is actionable, there is very little that you can actually do without someone's help (which won't be provided). So, time spent trying to preempt disaster is largely wasted because there are some things that are just unavoidable. In a city driven by knowledge, ignorance may be bliss.
- I may still be resisting saying British words like "keen", "epic", "brilliant", "cheers", "meant", "trousers", and "hiya", but I am starting to think them, which means that it is only a matter of time. After all, an idea becomes a thought, a thought becomes a word, or something like that.