Sunday the weather was gorgeous, so after church (and after somehow dropping my toothbrush out of the bathroom window so that it sailed downstairs, past the kitchen window -- to the surprise of my housemates -- and landed in the garden), we had a spot of picnicking, and instigated a new game of Human Cluedo, resulting in the deaths of two out of three guys present (in the cafe with a hat, and in the park with a fork). After eating enough cake for three kids' birthday parties, we returned to church for the evening service, and I was given a bicycle by a lady who didn't want it any more. She insisted she didn't want me to buy her anything to say thank you, so I'm being sneaky and made her a bracelet to take to her this evening.
The rest of the week was a blur of procrastination and a small amount of studying for my Austen and the Brontes exam, which was on Friday, with a brief interlude of curry and Apprentice night, with lots of friends and lots more tea. It seems to me that exams are disproportionate to the amount of work and stress that goes into them: weeks of studying, days of anxiety and hair falling out, all for two hours in an angular room and answering two questions--out of the twenty possible ones you studied for. It doesn't seem fair to me, and I'm sure neither Austen nor any of the Brontes would be pleased to know what their novels have become subject to. However, I have now finished my second year at uni, and I don't have any exams next year (my final year), so sucks to be you, everyone else!
Wagamama with housemate occurred, with loads of noodles, green tea, and chilli cheesecake (if you haven't sampled it... do! now.) We accidentally went shopping and spent too much money. Purchased some Benefit mascara under strict instructions from aforementioned housemate... I'm quite impressed thus far, I have to say. Even if it did cost a week's rent (no, not quite!).
Which, of course, brings me to last night's ball. I went with that housemate and our friend from accross the park, who kindly drove us, and, for that matter, invited us, as it was HER church's ball, not ours. Nevertheless, we looked beautiful, and even arrived on time. I was slightly concerned that her car might turn into a pumpkin at midnight, but it was fine... and both shoes remained firmly on my feet. All five inches of them... I was still only just the same height as everyone else though. Luckily being five foot two doesn't stop you dancing all night.
There was an awkward moment when the band played a slow song and "take the hand of that special person" occured, when my friends and I (all the single ladies) were sitting down at a table. It felt like being a 12-year-old bystander at the school disco once more, when the parting of the Red Sea divides the couples and the singles. And yet, it didn't actually bother me. That must have been the first time ever (apart from my smug, being-in-a-couple days). 'Being content in my singleness' is something I struggle with a lot, but I think I might have cracked it at last. Hooray! I finished reading a book called Mirror Mirror by Graham Beynon, this week, which has been really helpful about things like this, reminding me that my identity is rooted in Christ, and not anything superficial--look it up on Amazon... I can't seem to put the link in this (anyone know why?). Also Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes has proved invaluable to me recently.
This week I've been reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Leguin, after watching the film The Jane Austen Book Club, thinking I should give science fiction a go (I've been experimenting with genre... trying to figure out who I am as a writer/reader), but I didn't take to it, really, and couldn't quite finish it. I found the names too much of a barrier, and my brain switches off as soon as anything scientific comes a long... the clue was in the title really, I should have known. I've also been reading Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray, and thus far I'm loving it. I especially love "there is nothing so real as words", I really relate to that--words are so powerful (as I argued in my last Shakespeare essay).
But it's not just about rhetoric; words are so powerful in conjuring emotion too. I laugh, cry and fall in love far more freely in books than I do in real life (well... I do all of those things often in real life too). We all love Lizzy Bennet and hate Mr Collins, and those are genuine emotions that are being kindled... yet Austen never pretends to us that her characters are real. Look at Northanger Abbey, she keeps stepping into the plot herself, as the author, and telling us why she has Catherine do certain things... yet we treat them as true life, almost, nonetheless.