I haven’t written in awhile because things have been busy! I moved into my host sister’s apartment which is a nice change of pace. I have had the experience of living in a house with a family and having a roommate and also the experience of living with a 28 year old in an apartment. My host sister’s name is Katie and she is so fun and funny. She is also very kind, generous and considerate. She has a rabbit and a lizard that keep me company while she is working long hours for the ambulance service (which is a free public service here). Overall I like having time and space to myself. I also think Rodney the rabbit is really funny and cute. The only drawbacks of living with Katie are that I don’t have internet and the apartment, which isn’t too bad since I can walk a few blocks to my old house and use the internet, but it is inconvenient. There is also no dishwasher and no dryer.

Spring break was nice, my sister visited and we went to Oxford to visit my sister’s friends Mikki and Brian. They went to college with Bretta (my sister) and Brian is now getting his MBA at Oxford. We went on a photo scavenger hunt with students in Brian’s college at Oxford and played trivial pursuit with them. Playing trivial pursuit with Oxford graduate students is TRICKY! I was out of my element and afraid to say a wrong answer. I got a small tour of the city which is very old and picturesque. I was amazed to see Mikki and Brian’s cottage that is about a twenty minute walk from the city center. It is only accessable by highway so Mikki and Brian ride their bikes on the paths and roads to the city. I loved the house with its old fireplace and thatched roof! The main part was built in the 1700’s with the add ons from the 1800’s and 1900s. I had a lot of fun over break with my sister and in Oxford.

The week before break I saw Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw. You might want to do a google search of the plot of the play, but here are my reactions: I hated the first half and how they portrayed the Salvation Army as individuals idealistically focused on saving souls rather than a pragmatic solution to poverty and hunger. I also thought it was too polarized, Major Barbara (who is a woman, by the way) was virtuous and her father, a weapons manufacturer as evil. The second act was far more interesting and I began to understand why Shaw set up the first act in the way he did. I liked how it explored morality, money, family, religion and ethics. I left feeling a little unsettled about how Major Barbara’s character evolved. It’s helpful to understand that Shaw is a radical socialist who velieved in fabianism, the redistribution of wealth and property, namely the abolition of property and redistribution of resources. He called for radical change in how individuals are voted into parliament and how the people are represented. He believed that the rich should be taxed more in order to redistribute money and support social programs, which in all honesty is something I disagree with. He supported women’s rights and wrote plays that reflected this. Shaw wanted theater that wrote about what mattered with social problems carefully constructed. He liked plays that get people to think and leave the audience feeling unsettled. Major Barbara is Shaw’s most controversial play, arguing that violent revolution is the only solution. The actress who played Barbara seemed melodramatic and was upstaged by the man who played Undershaft, which caused the audience to root for him.

I also saw Days of Significance about the Iraq war and questions the definition of a war hero and the responsibility of a soldier. It was very sad and vulgar but also thought provoking. It was put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company so the acting was very strong.

Originally published 4/1/08