Oxford / Updates

with a little help from my friends

Rather stubbornly, I have determined this final week to be one of revelry, the past week having been, annoyingly, one of convalescence. I still have a persistent cough, though, and this evening, my housemate told me that another girl at the college broke a rib by coughing too hard, so now I’m on tenterhooks whenever my throat feels itchy.

Have a song I heard on HIMYM:

falling to the ground
I was anxious to be found

I turned around to love revealing,
What did I learn? It’s not that easy
When you get burned and go on burning loud

A few things have reminded me of gratitude recently. Friday night caught me sleeping off the tail end of my vicious cold; I went to bed at 9 pm to the sounds of everyone pre-drinking (I imagined, at least) and woke at 3 am to the sounds of returning merry-makers and a cold room, in spite of the closed window. It was a jarring wakefulness in the wee hours of morning. I was at a loss for moments before I watched a few episodes of HIMYM and then serendipitously, found online a dear friend I was supposed to Skype the next day and so spent the next two hours talking to her instead. There is always a reckless sort of honesty to these midnight conversations, I think. The idea, too, that we were both sitting in bed on opposite sides of the Atlantic, sleepless and pondering similar questions – that is humbling.

Also had a few snippets of conversations – phone calls and FB messages and emails and dinners – that were all very cheering in an otherwise grey week. It was the good part of distance this week, it really was. I’m never expecting it when it happens. Today I was asked if my heart was still in Canada or Oxford; in that moment, the truth was startling in its clarity: more and more here, each day.

This afternoon, at any rate, was a few exceedingly lovely hours spent with great company. Went into the Radcliffe Camera (one of the university libraries) for the first time – absolutely gorgeous, totally embodied the phrase “hallowed halls of learning”. The Bodleian (another library) is such a picturesque place to sit and chat, too. We saw a group of (Asian) tourists in the grounds below us through the window, snapping away (one of them on an iPad, ew), and I got so excited when they looked up and saw us and then waved.

(Obviously, I waved back.)

I don’t know if I’ve said this – I probably have – but I sometimes think of my family trip to Europe in 2009, and how we came on a tour of Oxford, and I sat on top of the tour bus as it weaved through strange, mysterious buildings, and waved maniacally down at students in their subfusc, my heart swelling in envy. Even then, it was honest awe; I didn’t even presume to hope that it would be me in their place a few years down.

And now my first term is counting down its days. Spent tonight swing-dancing in my college’s dining hall; adjourned to the bar for a few pints and general conversation (and a few shocking scenes of Jaws); proceeded to play (and lose at) monopoly on an iPad. A thoroughly enjoyable start to the end of term, I must say.

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