Thank-you all for your kind notes and your sympathy. My foot still won’t let me walk on it properly, but I’m sure it will be fine with time. There is a wonderful pharmacy/makeup store (Boots, if that means anything to any of you) where I have found some mostly-effective painkillers and other helpful things. It’s like a mini-Sephora and an Eckerd’s all in one (500 year old) building. Very handy. And thanks for the advice on foot care. Keep it coming. It’s really helpful. I plan on following all of it.
First, I woke up today at 5:30 this morning when my room was light. It does seem to get lighter about an hour earlier than at home, and dark about an hour later. That’s ok, it just makes it hard to sleep. 🙂 Anyway, since I’m all gimpy for the time being, I left the house a little early to make sure that 1. I got to class on time and 2. I wasn’t gimping around in front my classmates. I am so upset at myself for not taking care of myself properly to begin with, and so angry in general that I can’t walk as well I as I usually can that I would be uncomfortable walking with people I know. I don’t want their pity, I want their mobility. 🙂 But I had a lovely walk with some nice stops to rest my foot and look around. I took pictures as I went and have posted them, along with some others, here:
It has rained all day again, which I suppose is normal for here. I like the rain, but I wish I had prepared better for it. Never having lived any place that’s this rainy, all I can say is that I grossly underestimated how wet things would be. I still like the rain plenty, it’s just something that one needs to be prepared for. You know what, though? I am surprised at how dirty this place is. I would think that the water would wash away all the leaf litter and such, but no, the dirt just seems to get dirtier AND there’s mud. Not very much though. Compared to the thick red clay that cakes over everything in Abilene when it rains, I would say there’s none at all. In any case, it’s rainy and dirty. I like it though. Everything looks softer and the world is more private. It provides a person with an excuse for inner reflection. I have gotten some nice writing done today as a result. There is plenty of “scope for the imagination” for me as I sit in my attic bedroom, facing the mist outside and listening to the muted bells of (I think) St. Giles’. Not to mention that the near-superfluity of verdure is in part due to this constant rain. So while the rain is somewhat inconvenient, I am grateful for it.
The other thing I noticed today as I was limping around, doing my shopping, is how many other people were similarly disabled. My pulled foot muscle is, of course, not really an affliction, and only temporary, but there were many people out there with me who were also limping for one reason or another. A few of these looked exactly like how I’ve always imagined an Oxford professor would look– tweed suit, thinning flyaway hair, glasses slipping down on one’s nose– with the addition of a cane. One charming old gentleman was bent nearly in half, grumbling to himself and carrying a school satchel/valise/briefcase-type thing. He was clearly deep in thought and took his time crossing a busy intersection. I crossed with him because his pace was just about the same as mine. I also passed a pair of woman, one old and one middle-aged. The older woman was sitting in an electric wheelchair with a basket in front and the middle-aged woman was holding an umbrella (“brelly,” here) over her. They were talking about what to get from the market. I was in their way, but they were plenty polite about it as I moved over and they passed me. And there were others. I was grateful that I was not the only person unable to keep up with the typical Oxford pace, though to be honest, I was having trouble keeping up even when both of my feet were working. It’s odd, but I really felt like I was less in the way limping around than I was when I was striding.
The other thing I noticed today that I love about Oxford is all the music. I passed by Italian workmen who were remodeling the inside of a building, and one man was just singing his heart out. As I was tromping past the shoe store for the third time (it took me a while to decide that I really was going to buy the shoes after all), three young men were marching up the street, arms linked, singing some college song at the top of their lungs. The man at the pasty shop sings to himself as he cooks. Old women hum and old men whistle. And then, of course, there are the organs in the churches, the thumping beat coming from delivery vans, and the hourly bells. Maybe people sing like this in America and we’re all just spread out too much to notice it, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. I think our singing is largely confined to the shower or, occassionally, church and pep rallies. What do you think? Is this true? If so, why don’t we sing more? What does it mean?
I know all this talk about feet and walking is getting a little boring, but it’s really influenced what I’ve been able to do and what I’ve seen or noticed in the past few days. Don’t worry, things will get more interesting. Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I hope you all are doing well.
Lots of love…