Other than hanging out with the baby and my hubby and working, I don’t actually have a whole lot to do in my spare time here. My husband recently started smoking cigars (yes, he’s that bored), and I’ve been working on getting in shape through dieting, which actually requires less activity on my part. Less cooking, less social drinking, less dining out (vacations don’t count). Not that there’re that many places to go.

Now that my hubby’s spending hours on the patio puffing away and relaxing, I have been thrilled to start reading actual books again. Something I can’t do with the TV going or people chatting, etc. I’m too easily distracted. So I’ve really been enjoying that. But we agreed that I still need a hobby.

When I used to spend long quiet winters in the Antarctic, I used to bring a project each time or work on some kind of self-improvement. One year I wrote newspaper articles for the Orlando Sentinel. One season, I taught myself to paint. Another year I made jewelry for the art fair, etc. So projects can definitely keep you sane in isolated communities.

One of my favorite things to do is research. Before we do anything, I’m always reading blogs and books and reviews and recommendations. And if I could be a professional student, I would. So it occurred to me that I could take an online class. And being online, I could probably take it from anywhere.

I’d always thought it would be cool to go to Oxford (but never pursued it), so I started poking around their website, and sure enough, they have a lovely list of online courses you can take. I found one that I’m particularly interested in, Exploring Roman Britain, and registered for it. Sadly, I do have to pay non-EU tuition, but I’m still pretty excited about it! And it seems appropriate since we’ll be there in less than a year.

Now I think I’ll go buy myself a little Oxford sweatshirt, and if anyone ever says, “Hey, nice sweatshirt. Did you go to Oxford?” I can say, yes! Sort of. Actually that’s not as crazy as it sounds. I picked up a Harvard sweatshirt in the early ‘90s while visiting Boston. Every time I wore it someone would inevitably ask me if I was a student there. And every time I would have to say, no, just a tourist…until I finally felt like such an underachiever that I just stopped wearing it. So, hello, Oxford!!