I'm getting so bored of doing religious history...or religious history of the early modern era to be exact. None of the essay titles for my 18th Century Britain module (which I was reluctant to do in the first place) interested me so I did religion just 'cos I already knew quite a bit about it anyway. Now on my research I found a statistical paper, in which the writer tries to determine a formula for the rate of religious conversion at varying times throughout history. What kinda put me off reading some of it was the way the writer compared religious conversion to a disease or an "epidemic". Now I know this guy (it was a guy) was just being logical and trying to illustrate how rapid it could happen but if a very fervent believer (Fundamentalist) was reading that he would be absolutely insulted.
In case you don't know, I'm a Christian and while most of society has a grudge against Catholics for various historic or conspiratorial reasons my beef is with the Fundamentalists for being so narrow minded and treating the Bible like some all-knowing encyclopedia. It's old, translated many times, at least some of it's going to be corrupted. In fact the 4 disciples featured in the New Testament provide different views and slightly different accounts of Jesus' actions-proof alone that time can change an outlook.
But anyway, on the opposite side of religious history, there are those publications done by religious people who see great religious developments (apart from those with dire consequences) as wonderful victories on behalf of God. The outright bias isn't that good either but that kind of thing is more pleasant to read.
Now for something completely different: BANG!
Well, not bang, I was just copying Monty Python. Late Sunday evening (just 2 days ago) the fire alarm suddenly went off. At first I was grumbling 'cos I thought some moron had left something frying in a kitchen somewhere. But no, the wardens had set it off to make sure everyone was out of the building. (Who the hell's gonna stay inside with that noise going off?) The flat above mine had a funny smell for a few days, but then on Sunday morning it had gotten stronger and the inmates-I mean inhabitants started to feel light-headed. They reported it and a porter found a gas leak. But he didn't consider it a risk. Couple of hours later the second porter disagreed and yelled at the first porter for being so silly. Soon after the fire alarm went off.
As annoying as it was, they opened Alexandra Hall for us to hang around in until it was safe to go back inside, so I could explore an older, nicer Hall. I also befriended a lovely young man called Gabriel. We explored Alexandra together, he told me the story of the gas leak and also told me what he would do to Aberystwyth if he was Vice-Chancellor. Basically, he feels that the current VC (or anyone in the Uni) is not ambitious enough in building work (providing enough space for lectures and study) or creating social environments and communities.
Once everyone was allowed back into Pumlumon and Caerleon at something like 10ish (I didn't have my watch so I'm not sure), Gabriel showed me his room with the sloping roof and a detailed brochure of what inspired all his dramatic imaginings: the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pennsylvania. My God the building is fantastic. And the reason he had that was because last year he was on a student exchange there-it's unlike my year abroad in that it's completely voluntary (ie. not a required part of any course). I also showed him my room :P. But since they had to temporarily get rid of the gas problem by switching off the gas we have no hot water and no heating. Considering my heater never seems to be on and my room's always warm enough (so maybe it is on without me noticing?) that didn't bother me. And to do the washing up Jamie and I have resorted to the primitive method of boiling water (in the modern kettle) and pouring that into the sink. Now, they said they'd fix the problem Monday morning but after lunch an email was sent out to say that we still had no hot water and heating and they didn't know when we'd get it back. They obviously can't tell the source of the leak.
Now that creates 2 problems for me. One is that I can't properly wash my face-I might have to also rely on the kettle for that in the next few days (I'm 20 years old and still have to deal with acne-this is my 10th year of having it). The other is having no hot water in the shower. This morning was the quickest shower I ever had. I had to do it in bursts though. I wet my hair and body, switched off the water, then ran shampoo through my hair (didn't bother with conditioner today) and finally rubbed soap on neck, chest, back and armpits. Ran water again. I switched it off and found the soap had been rinsed away from everywhere except my armpits and not all of the shampoo had been rinsed out. Shivering, I did not want to switch on the water again. So I got out of the shower and rinsed tap water into my hair. Then I had to scoop handfuls of water to rinse away the remaining soap.
Another interesting thing about Sunday was meeting a host of new students at the students' lunch. Because there were so many people eating there (including Church Wardens and their families) the lunch was really a buffet, which I didn't particularly like but the potato wedges kept me happy. And the huge quantities of desserts. Now one young man I met was Edward. We ended up discussing student accommodation (I can't believe he chose Brynderw-it's the worst Hall in the Uni: no laundry facilities, no walls so no sound proofing, it looks ugly) and he said that what he really wanted was to live with a Christian family as a lodger. Now that struck me as odd, simply because it's not very common to do that any more. But it also struck me-and I told him so-that it shows how devout he is and he did say he thought himself devout. Edward really is a friendly, soft-looking, honest, hard-working, non-drinking Christian young man. Now I knew men like him existed but they're so few that I found it odd talking to him. He was like a mythical figure come to life.