Today, there was sunshine. My foot has not really been bothering me too much, so I have been able to enjoy the outside. I left for class a little early and sauntered around University Park until it was time to go to class in earnest. Have I mentioned all the dogs there are in Oxford? In any case, there are a lot of them, and they are all very well behaved. I walked to the Park with a very friendly, but polite, Yorkie, and his owner. I saw several other dogs in the Park itself. One was muzzled, and a couple were on leashes, but for the most part the dogs here have a little more freedom than they do in public at home. Then again, at home, I am not around too many dogs, so maybe my perception is skewed. At any rate, most dogs here stay beside their owners and don’t bother people and are very happy to be petted. Most owners seem to be more responsible than many at home, also. It’s not so much that dogs are allowed to roam free here (though they are) so much as it is that people know the dogs have been trained properly and the owners will clean up after them. On my street at home, our neighbor dogs are also allowed to roam leashless, but their owners do not take any kind of responsibility for them and certainly have not taught them to behave around people. I like that here one can see many dogs without having to “manage” being around them or make allowances for their behavior. It’s a good feeling.
After class today, our professors took a few of us to lunch today to get to know us better. They’re doing this with everyone in our class, but not with everyone at once. Anyway, we went to Pizza Express, which is in a fabulously old building– I think the sign out from says 1193– that I have taken pictures of before (it’s pink). Inside, there are spots where the wall had designs painted on it in the Middle Ages, which they have since re-discovered and decided to preserve. Lunch itself was long, but delightful. We talked of shoes and ships and sealing wax, but not cabbages or kings. One of my classmates was kind enough to explain to me some of his current research on the emergent church. (I didn’t know what that was, either. So far I think it’s experimental, not-necessarily-denominational, small group worship that attempts to pull together tradition and contemporary forms of praise. I think. They had to explain it several times to me.) People told stories about themselves and each other and we just generally had a nice time. When asked, both professors claimed that their personal academic fears involve increasing calcification or atrophy, or somehow losing a sense of wonder at the world. They want to be sure to avoid the kind of scholastic pride that actually prevents a person from continuing to grow and to learn. I appreciated their willingness to speak so candidly. When they turned the question back on me, the subject was changed before I had to answer fully. I was glad because I’m not sure how I would answer that.
After lunch, my classmate Elena and I walked around town for a little bit. We climbed this tower that was built by the Saxons– the Saxons, people!!!! It was very exciting. I definitely felt a sense of awe as we climbed up, up, up, to the top. Awe and a little fear, because I sometimes get nervous around heights. This wasn’t terribly high, but the stairs were rickety enough that I was picturing myself falling down and dying. Probably it was just my imagination, though. It was a really lovely experience.
I’m home now, but I’m probably going to go out for “Ghost Tours” later this evening. If I take photos, I will be sure to post them later. For now, view today’s pictures at share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EcM3Llw5YsnaA
There will be some pictures in there from yesterday. The new ones begin where the old ones end. 🙂