Well, the shopping in Norwich is much better, but I love the cosmopolitan feel of Oxford. I love living somewhere where there are ethnic quarters worthy of the name. I love having the thriving local music scene - practically non existent in Norwich, unfortunately. I like the idea of being able to pop to London to do stuff if I want (although I rarely do). And having been part of the University here and still attending OUSFG (a university society), Oxford still has an after-taste of intellectualism for me, the excitement of study and knowledge.
I feel at home in both cities in different ways. In both of them I know my way around all the little back streets and so on and where to get a good dinner which always makes me feel safe and in control. In Norwich though, I hark back to the home of my childhood, which is pretty much always where I'm visiting. I feel at home in a very nostalgic way here; I'm comfortable and get looked after and enjoy the pleasures of my younger days (or some of them anyway - we don't have a sandpit any more). In Oxford I feel independent and determined. Union St was the first place I ever lived in on my own and it feels like mine in a lot of ways. I feel at home in a more settled, adult way than I do in Norwich.
I don't think that I would ever end up going back to Norfolk to live unless there was some weird uprooting of my whole peer group - I've got too many friends in Oxford to want to leave. If for some reason I did have to leave Oxford though, Norwich would be a strong contender for a place to live.
2. I think would be fair to say that you have eclectic taste in music - anything from rock to pop to jazz to classical... What type of music is your favourite and why?
I think eclectic is fair :) I would have to say though that my favourite is classical. An orchestral piece like Beethoven's Violin Concerto can touch me in a way that I've never felt with any other type of music. It has a kind of aching perfection.
3. Home and garden seems to be important to you. Do you have a picture of your dream home in mind? What's it like? Where is it? And do you think you'll ever live there?
I don't exactly have a dream home in mind because I'd always want to have little projects to keep me occupied, so it'd never be quite perfect :) In terms of location, I absolutely adore my current house. My lottery winnings would be spent on buying the house I live in right now. I'd then do a loft conversion so that I could have a loft bedroom and turn the second bedroom into a big luxury bathroom. The current bathroom would then become a utility room and I'd rip out the entire kitchen including the flooring and re-do it. Then fresh carpet in the living room and main bedroom would finish it off. Oh and I'd hire in Alan Titchmarsh to design me a lovely garden :)
Unfortunately, the chances of me ever getting to buy my house are pretty slim; the landlord has no plans to sell it as the income is there to supplement their pensions. He has promised to give me first refusal though, so if he ever does I'll at least be in with a chance.
4. What are your best and worst aspects of your character? Tell us about them.
Hmmm. Tricky. I'm not sure what the best aspect of my character is really. Perhaps my determinedness. If I decide that I want to do something, or say I will then I find a way to follow through on it. On the other hand, it's the flip side of my occasional stubbornness so I don't know. I think that I'm also a good listener which I value. I think that my affectionateness is also a good quality.
My worst aspect is almost certainly that I'm a terrible liar. By which I mean that I'm good at it which is a bad thing. When I was a child I used to make up stories about toys that I had and things that I did. I had a wonderful long one about a set of dolls and dolls houses which were very beautiful and very valuable and hence had to be kept in the loft and only brought back for special occasions. These days, I'm not quite as bad as that but I do have to fight the instinct to embroider my anecdotes with extra exciting/cute/interesting details which aren't strictly accurate. I also find that when I make a mistake my first instinct is to fib about it and find a way to fix it myself rather than come clean. Mostly I catch myself but every now and then I find that I've let one slip through.
5. How would you describe LiveJournal to someone who is a bit of technophobe, and worried about thing like privacy on the internet?
Well, being a support geek I'd point them to the How do I control who can read my journal entries? What are security settings? FAQ :) It's as private as you want it to be on here - you only bare your soul to the world if you want to.
So why do I want to? My Mum often asks me that when my journal comes up - she just doesn't understand the concept at all. Partly, it's just that I like to be open. I like the idea that anyone could come along and read this and get an idea of what I'm like and what's going on in my world. I am fascinated by other people and their lives and I suppose this is a way of reciprocating for other interested people what I'm like. Sharing my life has given me the chance to meet some amazing people on here who've shared theirs with me and I feel lucky to have had the chance to get to know them.
I also love using my journal because the way that I deal with things which are bothering me is to talk about them. I'm just not a bottling up type of person. When I was doing my finals I bent Alex's ear ad infinitum about exactly which questions I was going to do on which papers and which areas of my course I was writing off tactically and so on. Now when there's something in my life that I need to make sense of, the act of forming it into a LiveJournal post itself helps me to get more of an understanding of what I think or feel as I try to find exactly the right word or turn of phrase to describe it. A case in point is the recent posts I've made about Nan. Just the act of writing this stuff down has helped me to deal with my feelings on the subject.
The other point here though is that the reason that this works for me is that it's a conversation. I've never been able to keep a private diary - it just feels strange and almost pretentious. If it's not going to be a great work to be published after my death then why bother? But writing on LJ doesn't suffer from that because, even though I wouldn't say I write for my audience I know that they're out there listening. It's not just going out into the void. I love to be able to get comments on my posts (the ones left on the post about Nan meant a great deal to me, for example) and as I take other perspectives on board and discuss new ways of seeing a situation that is also helping me to find new ways of thinking about/dealing with it and my emotions.
The golden rule is to remember that a public post is just that. It's available to the whole internet, so don't put anything up there that you're not happy for the world to know. In my case I'm pretty comfortable with the world knowing most of my stuff if it happens to be interested. I tend to take an "open government" attitude - unless there's a particular reason for restricting access to something I don't restrict access to it. That way I can get the broadest possible benefits as described above. I'm lucky in that I've never experienced any hostility online or because of something I've written online so I'm still able to reap the full benefits of putting myself out there. Opening up is a risk as well, but if you're thinking about what you're doing it doesn't have to be a big one and there are big benefits to be had.