Many of you have been asking about how I’ve been enjoying Oxford so far and what I’ve been doing, so I figured I’d set up a blog to tell you about it. Normally I don’t use this blog space for this kind of thing, but let’s face it– normally i don’t use my blog space at all. 🙂 This way you can read about it at your own convenience and I don’t have to worry about boring uninterested parties. Pictures for while I’m in Oxford are posted at: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EcM3Llw5YsnSg, though I may have to update which site that is whenever I post new pictures. Hopefully that will work ok for everyone. It’s much easier to post them there than to post them here. If you know of a better service, please let me know. Most of the pictures have descriptions beyond their file names that describe whatever other neat things I would tell you about that picture if you & I were looking at them together. Unfortunately, shutterfly does not have a way for you to post comments in return, but feel free to email them to me.
Oxford so far has been pretty wonderful. The flight was delightful, aside from its length. I have been terribly homesick, but that’s getting better. Yesterday, our group took a walking tour of Oxford that was really enjoyable. I love how pedestrian-friendly Oxford is. Doubtless Oxford is not alone in this, but I like it all the same. I love the vibe of the town, too. Everyone (almost) is busy doing something, and it’s clear that you’re expected to be doing something also. Even people reading in a park seem to be reading purposefully. And yet, in spite of all this busy-ness, people really are very cordial and friendly. If you interrupt them at their work (as I have done, more than once already, I’m afraid), they’re plenty kind and helpful. I have not been made to feel like a nuisance by anyone and I have been happily helped by quite a few. These are all generalizations, of course. There are beggars and panhandlers here just like anywhere else, and there are jerks everywhere. But so far I am enjoying the feel of the city.
After our group tour, I went shopping and bought dinner and a rain coat. It rained almost all day yesterday, which left me very very cold. After dinner, I wandered around town a bit, but ended up getting lost. I ended up in a nearby town (or was it just another neighborhood? it’s difficult to tell, here.) called New Merton (I think), where someone was kind enough to point me back in the right direction. I was not wearing the right shoes for getting lost in and ended up with a huge bloody blister.
Today, we walked over to where our class is meeting (Linacre College) for the first time. It’s a lovely walk, but I was unable to enjoy it as my portion of the group was abandoned at a stoplight and spent fifteen minutes or so trying to figure out where we were going. After that, we had a typical first-day-of-class meeting, plus an introductory discussion on the tension between individuals and community. I am making an effort not to speak in class because I don’t want to make others feel like they can’t speak (which unfortunately has happened in the past). I discovered today that if I wait long enough, someone else will probably say the gist of what I wanted to say anyhow. We’ll see how long my new-found commitment to silence lasts. I have started every semester saying that to myself, and I’ve yet to truly implement that policy successfully.
After class, I had lunch and then walked around town a little, looking for appropriate walking shoes. During my walk, my body decided that it did not like walking, despite nearly 27 years of proof to the contrary, and my feet quit on me. I have an unpleasant tearing/burning/bruised/ouching pain on the side of my left foot. I took some aspirin for it finally and my friend (the Wonderful Jennifer Nissen, by which appellation she must henceforth be known) is getting me some foot brace or ace bandage or something from the pharmacy down the street. And by the way, I love the pharmacies here. You can ask the clerks for advice and they give it to you, and yet they’re not at all nosy. Wonderful! (But not as wonderful as Jennifer). Anyway, so at the moment, I can’t really walk, but I haven’t done my grocery shopping yet today, so I may end up having yogurt (which was supposed to be breakfast, and was breakfast this morning) for dinner and going to bed early. Hopefully the aspirin will kick in and the bandage will help and I’ll be up and around in a couple of hours. Crazy feet.
This is enough for now. I’ll try to post something more intelligent (or interesting) and less whiny later, maybe about what I’ve been reading for class. I hope you enjoy the pictures.