It’s been four weeks now since my shoddy arrival in Oxford. I feel I have gotten down a better feel for what it’s like to live in a city that was established in 912CE, that sort of fights and meshes with the post-capitalist modern techno nightmare our world is today. I mean, do you prefer Sainsbury or Tesco? I personally think both have some good stuff, but it’s like asking if I like King Soopers or Safeway better.
I have fallen into a familiar routine of university life. Wake up, get ready, have some sort of breakfast, walk to lecture/tutorial, walk home, do readings, chores, rinse, repeat. Although every three days throw in a trip to a castle, bath, or London. In my last blog I talked about the foreign and familiar, and now I think I understand why. I am here as a student (which I understand quite well), but also a tourist (which I am rarely so, if ever). For example, I will be weaving through crowds of people to make it to my destination on time, but will suddenly stumble upon an unfamiliar and beautiful sight and… snap:
A picture is born, and I can feel some locals’ disapproving eyes when they realize I’m not one of them. At CSU, I would occasionally pull out my phone to take a picture of a pretty tree or flower, but certainly not of Eddy or Clark (who would?). I go to Sainsbury to buy necessities and cooking ingredients on sale, yet I also wander high street to find the perfect stash (as we were told merch is called here) for my loved ones at home. So here I am four weeks in as both an academic and a (filthy) tourist. It’s a strange place to be, and yet there is some enjoyment to it, as I can blend in if I try, while also enjoying the gorgeous university buildings that most of the public doesn’t get access to, and taking amazing trips to Roman Baths. Here’s a cool picture from that:
It has been a surreal experience. And I will be taking away a lot of mixed feelings and shiny souvenirs on the plan with me in ten days. Yet we’ll see what the remainder of the time brings to me, and I will appreciate the slower and more meaningful moments in the sea of chaos. Speaking of, here is a rose I came across on a rainy day, to remind me that sometimes it’s the little things: