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Life in Oxford: Week One

September 7, 2011

Well, I’ve been in Oxford, England for exactly one week. I did a terrible job of recording the first week; I’d like to say I was too busy experiencing things to post, but really I just got lazy. As it is. So, here’s a short narrative and some thoughts on being here and other things.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2011, I hugged my parents many times before boarding a coach bus and chattering with Caroline all the way to DFW airport. The bus is when it began to really sink in: I was to live in England for three and a half months. We got to the airport, checked in, and wandered around for several hours while we waited for our flight. Jordan and I split one great pizza (my choice) and one mediocre pizza (his choice) (told you so, Jordan) and then we all gathered at the gate to sit. And wait. And sit and wait. But it was so exciting and so fun, and so full of anticipation. I forgive you for picking bad pizza, Jordan :).

The plane ride was long. I adore planes, though. I love being in the sky with a hundred other people who, for a tiny moment in time, are all doing the same thing as you, going the same place, experiencing the same plane meal, though for many different reasons. Some of them go on to other cities. Some of them go home to their families after business trips. Some of them are on business trips and have just left their families. Some of them are moving across the world and will never see their old homes again. Regardless of all that, for nine hours in the sky, you are all similar. It’s lovely.

As God and the goodwill of others on our trip would have it, myself, Zack, Caroline, and Blaine were seated together in that order in the middle section of four seats. How. Great.

British Airways was unlike any other flying experience I’ve ever had. I don’t remember it being that nice when I flew to Italy. What a sharp contrast with American Airlines! Each seat is pre-set with a blanket, pillow, headphones, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. We had a beverage in early evening, and then dinner was served. For plane food, it was delicious. The meal was followed by tea and coffee. In the morning, I woke up to a lovely breakfast and the plane landed about an hour after I finished it.

The plane landed. In London. London, England. With me on it. I landed in London, England. To live for three and a half months.

The ride to the house was beautiful and it reminded me of Virginia in regards to topography. But the buildings were certainly built before buildings in Virginia were. They’re incredible. I won’t even try to describe how it feels to stand in them, but it’s pretty cool. They’re old. Important people did important things in these buildings. I love thinking about that.

Caroline and I are in one room on the top floor of house 10, and Gabby and Paige are in another. The boys are on the first floor. Classrooms are on the ground floor. I love living with the guys and sharing the kitchen and sharing the house.

The first day we were here, Ron split us up into groups, took us into city, showed us around, and left us. We wandered for a while, grocery shopped, went home, then went to the Eagle and Child pub, where CS Lewis hung out and did a lot of his writing. Wow.

So that was a long story. The next few days were a blur. We explored Oxford a lot, did a lot of shopping—grocery shopping, toiletries shopping, clothes shopping, and a ton of window shopping—and spent a lot of time together as a group. We walked to a gorgeous pub called the Trout that was about three miles away, all had dinner (and I had a grenadine cordial! Yum.) and then Zack and I took a walk back alone. Instead of walking back the way we came, we walked to the city center and went to a pub called the Turf Tavern to talk and hang out. We’ve been back a few times.

Classes are great, mom. I’m studying hard and my professors are awesome. I’ll post pictures next time, I promise.

I don’t spend much time in class. I love that about here. I love the pace of life, the farmers’ market, the politeness, the fact that tax is included in prices of things, and the walking. I love everything.

This is a grand adventure. Our lives are, indeed, many grand adventures being lived out together. Airplanes always remind me of this fact. Jesus always reminds me of this fact. And now, each time I look out my bedroom window, I am reminded of this fact. I love being in Oxford.

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