Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The beginning!

July 3rd, 2010                                                            Trinity College, Oxford University                       
Here I am! Welcome to Oxford, city of everything-I’ve-ever-dreamed-of! And it truly is, everything I’ve ever dreamed of, with it’s old buildings that have history between each and every brick, to the cobblestones over which have crossed so many famous feet. Oxford is truly a place I can call home. When I look up, something that I find too few people actually do often enough, I see nothing but blue skies and turrets that stand out so bold against them. These turrets are carved in intricate designs and some even have gargoyles clinging to their edges! Each step I take, I am imagining myself during Elizabeth’s time or the time of Mary Tudor, wearing my beautiful gown and walking through the streets here on my way to a ball or a high tea. Yes, this is indeed the life I wish for myself and I see it as a plausible future for myself, expatriate that I already am.
The train ride here was oh so much more preferable than a bus ride, and I found that it was quite easy to maneuver, albeit quite expensive as well. Don’t roll your eyes, I know I’m cheap and life (especially experiences) costs money. Outside the windows passed flocks of sheep and cows, dotting the hillside as frequent as hedges, although, with their spots and dots, quite in contrast to the hedge’s green hue.  In my mind, I walked up narrow paths to the manors I was just barely able to glimpse on top of the livestock-covered hills. These were the manors of Austen, Bronte and others and I was just a pane of glass and a couple miles per hour away! Being in transit is something of a wonder, not knowing where you are going to end up and having been in a whirl to leave where you came from. It’s almost as if it is an alternate universe or life, nothing belongs to you and you are so completely displaced at each point between points A and B.
Oxford station came up and off I got, dragging my large suitcase (which is, in fact, smaller and one fewer than everyone else’s, as I suspected it would be and as it always is) off the train and attempted to find lunch. There hadn’t been any on the plane and not at Temple Meads either, so when I found Marks and Spencer I was quite happy because a) I was hungry and b) I have fond memories of M&S from my last trip to the UK, when I went to see Katie in Edinburgh. I slipped into the small station-sized store and picked out some of their wonderfully cheap and delicious prepared foods. Maneuvering my large (but not too large) suitcase through the checkout line was a bit of a challenge, but I managed. There was, oddly enough, nowhere to sit outside the station so I towed my suitcase to a curb and sat down to eat my lunch. Everything here, even the prepared foods, is so fresh and I could feel the energy I needed seeping into my body. I was going to need it, because I had no idea how far away Trinity was from the train station, or even where it was, for that matter.  It turns out it isn’t that far away (perhaps a 20 minute walk?) but it seemed like forever uphill with this suitcase. I stopped ever couple meters to change would-be blistered hands.
Oxford is so lovely. Trinity is especially lovely, although I have not seen everything yet. My roommate was not here when I arrive but she had left me a note to choose a desk since she had chosen the bedroom. Luckily, she’d left me with the one I’d have chosen on my own. I went to set up my computer, ready to blog and low and behold, no internet. Well, after travelling and being exhausted, that just did it for me. I was so angry, I had no idea what to do. I’ll tell you what I did do though, I put away my clothes and unpacked everything. My room has cute drawers that are built into the wall underneath my window (of windows I have two) which looks out onto the Durham quad, between the chapel clock tower and my staircase, staircase 17. We truly do live on staircases, as you go up, there are about two rooms on each landing. Most of the rooms here, I gather, are singles but mine is a double with a common room. Our toilet…er….loo and showers are located in what we fondly refer to as, The Chamber Of Secrets because of it’s dungeon-esque qualities. My room does, however, have a sink. I haven’t been here a day and I’ve already gone up to my room only to realize that I need to use the loo. Good for my youth!
We’re off to a pub now, everyone’s arrived but I haven’t really met anyone. We’re to assemble at the porters lodge in about ten minutes to leave. I’m a bit nervous, because I haven’t met everyone but I suppose everyone else might be too, unless they all know each other already, having flown in together to Heathrow? I’m glad they thought of this activity though and it will get me off on a good be-social foot. Pictures of everything to follow!