As I sit here writing this, I absolutely cannot believe that this incredible study abroad experience is coming to a close. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on my couch in Colorado Springs stress crying over whether or not I should buy a London Pass and dreading the 9 hour flight. And then I got to London, all alone and trying to conquer one of the oldest and most amazing cities I have ever seen and I was terrified. Terrified of getting lost, of losing my belongings in the Tube, scared of my Oxford homework, and most of all scared I wouldn’t make any friends on this trip or that my fellow students wouldn’t like me. Boy was I wrong…
When we arrived here in Oxford we were lead through an exhausting whirlwind of orientation, tutorial prep, and other things… of course we always made time for some Pimms 😉 I still remember that first evening at the Turf tavern where I sat with Alec, Rachel, and Madi and we had the most spirited and intellectual conversation about how Harry Potter is the great epic classic of our generation. I remember sitting back in my chair and smiling to myself thinking, “Yes. I’ve found my people.”
From there we fell into a routine of hopping from cafes to different branches of the Bodleian Library (I’ll miss your architectural beauty but not your wifi, Bod) to eating far, far too many baguettes (please reference my last blog post). And there were definitely many good times, but there were some not so great times as well. Oxford at times felt confining, and let me tell you I cannot wait to walk down the sidewalk in Old Town and have strangers smile and look like they don’t want to kill me, and have people be happy when I pet their dogs instead of them looking like it’s a capital offense against the crown. Some of the stress and occasionally even boredom was broken up by lovely trips to Windsor and London, and of course a little clubbing at Atik on the side. (Of course I had to include a photo of my hero Queen Elizabeth II because anyone who’s spoken to me on this trip knows I’m obsessed with her).
We got to go see four amazing Shakespeare plays, and we all had different opinions on which of the unique performances was our favorite. (King Lear in Stratford-Upon-Avon marked the only bright spot in my horrible sick day that I spent in the Stratford McDonalds so it was automatically my favorite). We had the opportunity to go back to London, my favorite city, twice on this trip and I went back a third time to explore it on my own. Also, please appreciate just how incredible our recreation of the Abbey Road cover was… we killed it ladies!
By the time the last two weeks rolled around we had all grown incredibly close, and about the time I found myself getting dressed up in Regency clothing and laughing with my friends I realized that this goodbye was going to be a very painful one. A group of us even decided to venture to the seaside town of Brighton because we can’t get enough of long bus and train rides apparently, but let me tell you it was WORTH IT. I don’t know why I was expecting the ocean to be gray and melancholy (maybe because much of the UK is), but when we got there I swore I’d been transported to a California beach town. We hung out on the pier, drank the worst margaritas of our lives, and took our shoes off to get in the ocean (spoiler alert: the rocks on the beach make it feel like your walking on tiny knives so it’s not for the faint of heart!). Anyway, Brighton turned out to be the most refreshing, unexpected, and beloved place we visited on this whole trip!
And last but certainly not least I have to touch on Oxford. I fell in love with countless libraries, trees, bumping races, and unexpected experiences. For example: on our last day of adventuring before our Bod cards expired, Rachel, Kira, and I toured multiple colleges and realized that Trinity College is actually shockingly small. However, our biggest adventure came inside our own college when we unknowingly wandered into the president of the college’s private residence! Her door was open because she thought we were the caterers, but thankfully she was the nicest woman I’ve met since arriving in this country and she talked to us for a while. Also, props to her for letting us pet her adorable dog Penny! Anyway, I’ve gotten way off track. I am so thankful for the opportunity to study at this historic university and this is definitely as close as I’ll ever get to going to Hogwarts!
Anyway, there is very little time before we leave this country and I’m feeling very emotional. I’m exhausted from the sheer amount of writing we’ve done in such a short amount of time. I’m overjoyed at the thought of seeing my family (and almost more importantly my cat) when I get home. I’m devastated at the thought of not living a short walk from actual Harry Potter filming locations and an hour from London by train. And I’m very very sad that I will not get to see my crazy, wonderful new friends on a daily basis. Plus I’m always filled with that strange, sad nostalgia that comes when it’s time to leave a vacation; however, this time it is so much worse because in these few short weeks we created a life here. I love you all so much.
Alec and Isaac: Thank you for always being willing to talk literature with me and for bringing your unique takes on Shakespeare to every class. I learned so much from both of you.
Ronnie and Tiffany: Thanks for the little things like spirited conversations in pubs and for dancing the night away in clubs (haha accidental rhyming). You both have such wonderful personalities and I’m so glad I got to share this experience with you!
Lauren and Amanda: I’m so glad that I got to go on the Brighton trip with you guys! We didn’t spend a lot of time together before we went, so I am so glad that I got to know you better and spend a wonderful beach day with you!
Han: Thank you for being your amazing, kind, beautiful self. You’ve taught me so much and I will be forever jealous that you got to do your tutorial on Harry Potter! Also, thanks for somehow managing to get great candid photos of me without me even having to ask, you’re a blessing.
Kira and Anna: You guys are so freaking adorable and you never fail to make me laugh. Like honestly you brightened my day every time I talked to you. Kira, thanks for suffering with me in the Trinity Library and for being there to witness the amazing, “cheers” moment. We will always have that haha 😉 And Anna, you’re probably one of the funniest people I know, and I am so thankful that you’re my friend.
Madi and Reagan: Thank you for being the most incredible roommates I could have ever asked for. Madi, I’m so glad that you’re my friend and you best believe I’ll be dragging you to Sundance with me next semester. If I write any more about you I’m going to start crying, but just know that I love you! And Reagan, thanks for the late night therapy sessions and for having the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Also thanks for being the best trip dad we could have ever hoped for!
Rachel: Ugh, girl you are so incredible and I’m so thankful I get to call you my friend. Your calm strength and amazing personality kept me sane on this trip and honestly you’re the best, I want to be you when I grow up. You’re going to do incredible things I absolutely know it.
Cole: Queen, I’m crying in the club writing this. I love you so much words can’t express it. You are so fantastic and you always know just what to say or do to make me smile even at the times when I felt like crying. Thank you for being my fellow baguette addict and for being my biggest fan in everything I did here. I can’t wait to party with you in FoCo and I love you so freaking much bb.
And finally Aparna: Thank you so much for putting up with our crazy personalities, our dramatics, and our insanity. You deserve a medal. Also thank you for being the best teacher and friend to all of us on this trip, you are incredible and I am so glad that I got to know you so well during this trip.
Alright, I’m emotional. No really I’m actually crying right now. I don’t want to leave but the time has come and I’m so glad that I got to share this once in a lifetime experience with such incredible people. And no matter what, we’ll always have Oxford. ❤
Friends and Windsor Castle
P.S. Chozen Noodles, I’ll miss you most of all ❤