Unfortunately, this isn't going to be an original post, merely a reposting of a letter I sent to the ANES crowd. However, it represents my return to online living. More later. Here it is:
I have been working since I left Provo, except for a brief stopover in Nauvoo, where my younger brother was wed to a lovely lady. That was a nice stop, because I'd never been to Nauvoo. The temple there is beautiful, although Nauvoo is a ghost-town. The Saints left, and nobody ever came back. As I planned, I got my job at M & P Restaurant, which is where I worked both before and after my mission. In fact, except for my jobs at BYU (such as cleaning toilets at DT—I'm so sad that I won't be able to see it come down) I have only ever worked at this restaurant. Which is okay. It is convenient to my house (being a mere 8 minutes bike ride), the pay is decent, and the work is not stressful. I laugh at the fact that I learned to read Hieroglyphic Egyptian, what the difference between form and rhetorical criticism, and who Naram-Sim was so that I can return home to Virginia in order to be a short-order cook. Brian can, I reckon, testify to the irony implicit in this. It isn't bad of course—I'm just in a holding pattern for Oxford anyway, but it still makes me smile. I have to work, too, since The Send Avram to Oxford Fund failed so miserably. Nobody seems to want to become my patron. Not that I'm surprised.
Actually, getting the money to go to Oxford has been one of the more difficult things occupying my attention this summer. I can get Federal Student Loans (and I need to) but they are more complicated to get attending a school in the United Kingdom than here in the States. For one thing, the much vaunted Oxford/Cambridge has its own difficulties. For those of you who are not aware, Oxford is arranged as a series of independent colleges, which come together to form the University. All well and good. However, this means that in order to get anything done, the student has to talk with the right office, whose identity isn't always readily apparent. I ran into trouble with this recently when I received an e-mail asking me where my transcript from BYU proving that I had graduated is. I had that sent out months ago, but it turns out, upon reflection, that I had it sent to the wrong place, to my department not my centre. This is a little bit frustrating. I'm hoping that I can have the department of Oriental Studies send my transcript to Yarnton Manor, otherwise I'm going to need to get BYU to send another one. Also, I've received three different costs of attendance from three different offices. It has been very frustrating in its own way. If any of my friends do go to a British school, make sure that you are aware of this lack of communication between different units.
The rest of my life continues to go well. I'm attempting to teach my sister Biblical Hebrew, which is an interesting exercise, not because I don't know, but because she is in high school, and so not real keen on studying a complicated language over the summer. It is helping me keep my hand in, but has its own difficulties. Lydia continues to grow. She can walk now, and is very busy, although she is also a very obedient child. Thora has taken to working a few hours at M & P with me, since Lydia is so well taken care of by her grandparents. Even more than me, I think that Thora feels like she is in a holding pattern, and she is looking forward to having her own house again.
Since my program at Yarnton Manor is only a year program I've been looking at schools for my doctorate, which also been interesting, because it feels like I just finished applying the first time. Some of the schools I'm applying to, such as Notre Dame and Michigan, are the same, but there a couple, like Wisconsin and Duke which are new. I am thinking about applying to Harvard, which is eating crow for me, but they have this really good Semitic Philology program, and you all know how much I love the linguistic aspects of our field. I really do love language.