Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oxford Thinks in Centuries

It was really tough saying goodbye to my parents and especially my dog but before I was entirely ready (probably for the best) I had to go through security and leave them behind. Two checked bags, one backpack, a purse and lots of love. The Raleigh airport was crowded and it was hard to find a spot to sit, but luckily I ran into Justin, another member of our group whose flight had been cancelled and now he was on mine to Heathrow. The flight was packed, no empty seat, and I am glad that I had a window seat. I had the somewhat unfortunate flight partner who talked a lot, flirted with me, and tried to sleep on my shoulder. This and the fact that my seat would not lean back due to the largeness of the lady sitting behind me made for an uncomfortable 8 hour flight. However I did have an army personnel sitting behind me so that made me feel much for comfortable as odd as that sounds. I dozed on an off and walked around a lot, and when all the cabin lights turned off (finally) I was the most wondrous thing. We were high above the clouds and I looked out and right above the plane's left wing was the big dipper. Large and brilliant it was close enough that I felt that I could reach out and touch it. I have always loved the stars so this unsurprisingly took my breath away.
               Eight hours later we arrived safely in Heathrow. As I departed the plane I thanked the pilot's, told the army guy how thankful I was for his service, waited for Justin to get off and then started briskly walking. With Justin in tow ( the guy has no sense of direction, sorry bud) we made our way through baggage claim. I had my two  bags and Justin had four. FOUR! he got a cart and before I knew what the hell was happening we were tearing through the airport laughing at the whole situation. I know, I know, that did not help our American reputation but whatever. It was a good way to wake up and Justin's good nature and energy is contagious.
               We got through the security checks and met up with Cassie Howard, one of my best friends. We then proceeded through the airport to the buses. I must take a moment here to thank my mom and especially my dad who are both excellent travelers and always know what to do. I was privileged enough to have had them teach their secrets me over the years. I know must boast and say that I am a very good traveler and airports, and other transportation places do not overwhelm me as they do others. Anyway, I led them through to the buses and we hopped on the right one and in 40 minutes we were in Oxford with Dr. Schweitzer and Dr. Forsaith to great us!
               My room is small but cozy, perfect for doing work. I dont think I will be getting any posters to put up as I need to conserve my money and I have nowhere to put them at home. Regardless, I do like it. Although our toilet does not work, and I ended up blowing a plug the first time I tried to plug table-top in (It's a 17.5" laptop that I use for editing and post production so it's a machine and therefore fondly called the table-top).  
               After we got all settled in, Dr. Forsaith welcomed all 24 of us and then we went down to Oxford for the evening. We went to eat at Turf's Pub, one of the oldest in the City. I believe it is over a century old and you have to go through two tiny back ally's to reach it but it is well worth it.
               Friday morning was a rude awakening but I was happy to be getting on a schedule, it helps me get adjusted. Oddly enough I have never really had jet-lag but my stomach is on travel mode so I have not been eating as much as I should have but I cannot really do anything about it. We all enrolled in the school and got a tour. Might I just add that this campus is the most confusing thing. Ever. whoever designed this was on something. Up is down, and down is up, and there is construction everywhere which doesn't help at all. After enrolling, Dr. Forsaith had a slide show presentation which he calls Peter's PowerPoint's. I approve of the alliteration.  He talked to us about a manner of things, how thieves have come from all across Europe for the pickings during the Olympics so we should keep our stuff as safe as possible, and how you can (because we have some sort of partnership) apply for a Bodleian library card. This is Oxford University's main library that gets a copy of every book printed. INSANE! There is an oath formed in the 14th century that you have to take (basically saying that you won't be a biblio-terrorist) and lots of paperwork to get access to this wonderful place. In other words, I'm getting mine ASAP.

               We then got a tour around Oxford, including where Alice in Wonderland was written: The little door where the white rabbit disappeared into, and the tree where the chesire cat was supposed to ahve first appeared to little Alice. These places are real and it was really cool to see them and to think how many people here have been inspired by Oxford. J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll and many others. Maybe I will get some inspiration as well?

               After the tour we were waiting for the bus at the bus stop and I ended up sitting next to a fairly attractive guy. I tell you one thing, men in the UK are very well dressed; suits, uniforms, you name it. They are all sharp dressed men. Which makes me incredibly happy and I am having a fabulous time "window shopping" (insert smiley face). I digress though. This boy was reading about the crusades (A guy that reads something of note!) and I asked if he liked it and he said yes. We chatted a bit waiting for the bus and he said his name was Hal Stevenson and he is a 6th reform (12th grade) at Magdlen School. We exchanged numbers and he said he would be happy to show me and my friends around Oxford this coming weekend.

               The bus came and we went to the grocery store called The Co-operative, and while we were checking out the girls had been talking to another attractive guy and after he had left, I asked who he was they told me and said that they were disappointed that they did not get his number. In a rare moment of forwardness I huffed at them and ran out of the store and found him unlocking his bike. I introduced myself and said that my friends had wanted to see if he would be willing to show them around sometime. He laughed, asked if I was the brave one and ended up giving me his number. His name is Jimmie and he is American. Graduated from University of Virginia in 2009 and is now at a church in Oxford apprenticing to be a youth minister or something of the sorts. So in essence, I got a tour, enrolled in Oxford Brookes University, am surrounded by beauty, good weather, and got two guys' numbers on day two. Welcome to England!

I am a visual person so I will be posting pictures and such at the bottom of each of my posts. so here we go!

                                                                   Christ Church
                                                                  Bodlian Library

Tower of the Four Orders: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian
I got my picture with some extras from the new Sherlock Holmes movie!

                                                                Fun Mug I found!

Home sweet home

Spoons by Social class. Mom, this one is for you!

The side of Christ Church

At the White Horse Tavern

21st Century thinkers.

Gardens at Christ Church

The Bridge of Sighs apparently has moved to Oxford.


Waiting for the bus provides a good photo opp!

John attempting to be English

Gorgeous blue door I found

 On the bus to Oxford!

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