About every month I visit Cambridge for the weekend to see friends and usually play lots of Counterstrike. It’s always a whirlwind visit because I try to meet up with as many people as possible during the two and a half days I’m there; on Saturday I think I overloaded on tea and hot chocolate (but not coffee, of course) because I have three different ‘coffee’ meetings. Even then, I hardly get to see even half of the people I want to but it’s still enormous fun.
The frequent visits and the fact that I lived there for three years means that I’m constantly mixing up Cambridge and Oxford in my speech. It only takes a few hours in Cambridge before I starting thinking it’s home again. That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying Oxford; to be honest, I’m very happy that I still like both cities so much.
Since visiting a bunch of my friends around the country, I’ve come to the somewhat depressing conclusion that I am the only person left who is still living in college halls (or dorms). Everyone else is living in shared houses. While halls have some advantages, such as being moderately affordable, central and putting you close to lots of friends, they are also intensely irritating. Imagine, if you will, having someone bang on your door at 9am, and then barge inside (despite it being locked) to shout at you for the kitchen being in a non-perfect state. Our cleaners have been known to do this on occasion, and there are plenty of other little annoyances that follow from living in accommodation where you are merely tolerated, like some particularly ugly endangered species of insect. The fact that we pay rent and are graduates seems to be entirely forgotten.
It’s not that bad, of course. If it was, then I would’ve moved out already. As it is, the annoyances merely serve to provide a low level of background irritation, rather like the noise I get from the coaches that drive past my window every seven minutes.
So I’m looking for a place to live next year in Oxford where I’ll be able to have a lounge, clean the kitchen when I want and not have my Internet usage monitored. Such a place seems like heaven to me right now, which is partly why I enjoy getting out of Oxford and visiting friends.
(Oh, and another thing – one unfortunate side-effect of keeping this weblog is that people have begun to accost me and demand why I don’t visit them when I travel to some city where they live. To which I respond: why don’t you get off your lazy asses and visit me in Oxford, eh? Then we’ll talk… nah, I love you all really).