Friday, October 22, 2010

Monopoly and Matriculation

Two events to report this week:

The first is our Monopoly night on Monday.  We decided as a flat that we had suffered all too much studying lately and needed a break.  So Monday was designated for Cambridge edition Monopoly and bona-fide British scones with clotted cream and jam.  Delicious.  I'm afraid to report that we never even got to the building houses point, mostly because we would get talking and forget to roll!  Courtney had by far the most money when we hit quarter to ten (our designated ending time) so she was the proud winner.  Reward: more scones? Pictures below:

Second event:  Matriculation! Basically, matriculation is a big, fancy event that can be described as the opposite of graduation; students are ceremoniously welcomed into the university instead of ushered ceremoniously out of it.  Following are several memorable characteristics of Emmanuel College's matriculation:
  • Mandatory dresscode:  To ensure the formal quality of the 2010 graduate student class matriculation photograph, we were asked to wear a black dress or suit with white shirt for women and a black suit with white shirt and black tie for men.  Black Cambridge gowns were also compulsory.  These gowns are kind of like standard graduation robes, except that they do not zip up in the front and they have long sleeve wings.  They also have red tassels for those special enough to have graduated from Cambridge as an undergraduate.  
  • Signing of the book:  The ritual act of Cambridge entrance involves signing a very official book in a very official way.  The Master of Emmanuel College was sitting at the foot of a very long table in a very long, narrow room.  We went into the room individually to shake hands with the Master, pass a few cordial words, and sign our fullest full name and mark the formal place of birth.  Know now, friends, that Ms. Amy has signed her life and soul away to Cambridge. 
  • Dinner:  Headtable, perpendicular tables, fine silver candelabras and centerpieces, candlelight "only" (supplemented slightly, but only slightly), fancy wines, six courses, gowns, Latin benedictions, general ultra-formality.  There is something about leaning back and looking down the rows of students, seeing the candlelit rows of black backs, the occasional gown hanging to the floor that gives one an awed sense of surreality - as if you suddenly might belong to the only heretofore imagined world of flying broomsticks, apparition and sorting hats.  The menu was as follows:
Roasted Autumn Pumpkin Soup 
with Toasted Orange Brioche
Pan Fried Fillet of Line Caught Mackerel
with Warm Truffle Potato Salad
Saddle of Lamb
with Apricot and Pine Nut Stuffing
Selection of Vegetables
Dauphinoise Potatoes
Hot Chocolate Fondant
with Walnut Ice Cream
Coffee and Mints    

Overall, the experience was quite enjoyable.  Acquaintances from the last formal dinner became more like friends and Lucy (my flatmate and fellow college member) and I met many others with whom we enjoyed interesting conversations.  I got to talk College Football with the College Fellow sitting across from us; while discoursing his academic history it came to light that he had done his undergraduate degree at Boise State.  Thankfully he didn't mind my football exclamation and in fact was more than willing to enter an immediate discussion about the BCS, Saturday's scores, Oregon's rise to dominance and Boise State's blue turf.  I guess that after being fully encompassed by European football, American Brits get a little desperate for the quarterbacks and tackles kind of football talk.  This fellow did make us aware, however, of the Oxford/Cambridge Rugby match coming up so it appears that I will still have a chance to attend a scream-your-throat-out-jump-up-and-down-all-night rivalry game this fall.  Probably good to be where I am, too, since I have a far better chance of supporting a winning team here this year!  Anyway, here are the only pictures of the setup I could justify.  Sorry some of them are dark and blurry:   

1 comment:

Paula said...

this is the stuff dreams are made of. SO excited for you to have this experience, amy. (signing your life away to cambridge . . . although i envy you the clotted cream, too!)

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