Abroad in Oxford: Here at last

Sleep bound.

Hi again! I’m writing from my bedroom in Morrison Hall, in Harris Manchester College, at the University of Oxford, in Oxford, England. So glad to be here, but I’m very, very tired.

The trip here went smoothly and about as uneventfully as possible. We departed from Dulles at 7 p.m. and landed in London at about 7  a.m. (2 a.m. Eastern time). Most of us agreed that we couldn’t sleep much on the plane, and now all of us are sporadically dozing off and just sitting around whenever we get the chance. Basically, we’re all operating on anywhere from zero to three hours of sleep while trying to make the most of our first day at Oxford.

Once here, we drove about 90 minutes to our campus. We saw plenty of sheep and rolling hillside and pasture along the way. Oxford itself is pretty urban without seeming like a metropolis. Almost all of the buildings are 100 or more years old and built compactly right next to each other. There’s decent traffic, but it’s easy to corss the streets. The city is full of tourists and visitors, but our campus is relaxing, peaceful and cozy.

Today, some of us explored the city, while others stayed back and played croquet on the lawn. I spent most of the day walking around the city with a few other students on the trip. We wandered through the ancient academic buildings and their courtyards, perused some of the shops throughout the market downtown and familiarized ourselves with our home for the next two weeks. The highlights of the day were watching a bit of a cricket match between Oxford and Cambridge and finding a pub that is hundreds of years old through alleyways and back streets near our college.

We didn’t understand cricket at all, so while it was entertaining, we didn’t feel compelled to stay in the park for too long. We found the pub randomly after we left the cricket match. There was a small sign in this alleyway that said Turf Tavern, so we followed the sign and the path behind it to the pub, which proclaimed itself to be founded in 1381. It was a really cool location, a sunken area between two streets–well hidden yet pretty popular. We’ll definitely be back there a few times over this trip.

photo1The college takes care of our meals, and we ate lunch and dinner in a dining hall that looks like a smaller version of the one in Hogwarts. The CNU students sat together at one long table and they cook one main dish for us. At lunch, we had roast chicken, some salmon pastry and a salad with tuna. For dinner, we had hamburgers and French fries with creme brulee for dessert. Our entrée was definitely catered to a stereotypical American diet.

After dinner and a short group meeting, we were at our leisure to do what we want. We have class tomorrow, and most of us will be catching up on sleep (my roommate is currently passed out while still wearing his shoes). Some are playing a last game of croquet and others are finishing up the readings we have. Overall, we’re all taking it easy after an exciting day. The travelling was easy and the day was chill, but regardless, it’s all tiring. Hopefully a solid night’s rest will get us adjusted. We’re here, and we’re already just about finished with day one of our trip. There’s so much to be excited for, but for now, we rest.

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