Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Bittersweet Farewell

Tomorrow I leave Oxford. It seems unbelievable. Even writing it down doesn't make it feel any more valid in my head. It feels like I just have for some reason moved all my stuff into Jojo's room, but it will only be a matter of time until I move back to Western and everyone else will be there. However, this can never be for everyone has already left (well minus Karen and Maura). So here I am, sitting on the well-worn springy mess that is supposed to be a mattress in an unfamiliar room with my belongings and memories strewn about the floor in suitcases thinking about the adventure that is to come and the life that is coming to an end. I will miss Oxford, quite terribly at points. I love the Briton's fashion sense, all wild and crazy; I love the old buildings and trees, which make it feel like you have connected with history; I love the pound coins and the tax already included into the price that make paying for things so much easier; I love the pub atmospheres, something you cannot find a comparable substitute in the States; I love cheesy chips with salt, vinegar, and ketchup that fulfil your craving at 2am when walking from the Purple Turtle. These things I will miss, along with the friends I have developed through the program. Anna, Deidre, Carl, Charles, Aaron, Josh, Alvin, Chrissy, Tom, Nick, Newman, Francis and Penelope. I will miss working in tutorials with Lesley Brads and John Jackon. I know that these people have made a significant impact on my life and through them I have changed for the better. Oxford will always have a fond place in my heart.

Yet I titled this post 'A Bittersweet Farewell' and therefore I must be not totally unhappy with leaving, which is true. I cannot wait to get back home and drive in my car with the AC blasting and singing until my voice goes hoarse. I can't wait to hug my parents and watch regular TV, pet my cats and dogs, and hang out with my close friends. My mom already has my meals planned out. I will be having a Chipotle burrito when I get off the plane, and within the next few days I will have salmon, steak, Nuway, Yia Yias, breakfast, and a roast. Oh man, I have begun salivating just thinking about it. I cannot wait.

Well here's to you Oxford. You provided me with more experiences and personal growth than I could have ever imagined. You made things tough, but revealed so much beauty in this world. Cheers, Britain.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Beginning of Goodbye

Two weeks and counting - who can believe that?? It feels like ages ago that I stepped off of that Oxford Tube Airline bus from Heathrow with Kyle. I remember feeling so disoriented, wondering where Gloucester Green was and how on earth we were going to find the Warner's house. I was in a dream that day and I suppose I still am, but that dream is coming to an end. Soon it will be time to wake up, drag my two suitcases, duffel bag and backpack to the airport and fly back to America.

It is all very bittersweet, because I cannot wait to get back and see my friends and parent and be able to eat at places like Chipotle and Nuway. Yet, I am going to miss Oxford quite terribly, I feel. Number one, the weather is great - I don't know how I am going to manage in the 90s. Number two, the accents are fab. Number three - the atmosphere here is so wonderful, it's almost indescribable. I am going to miss the lovely roses blooming in the gardens, the ducks in the river, walking everywhere, the odd and quaint British stores, the kebab stands and wonderful cider, and the kids in the program. However, I will not miss the overcrowded streets of Oxford, my dirty house, the cobblestones that I so frequently trip over, or the outrageous prices.

I feel like I have grown so much here. Not only do I feel more self-assured but I feel stronger. I think the running is helping (I ran for 25 minutes straight yesterday!). Although I don't know for sure that I want to become a professor, I know that that would be a good possibility. I have come to grips with being alone, being self-sufficient, and balancing my schoolwork with playtime. I can now manoeuvre around cities by myself, stay in hostels, and travel abroad with only myself to rely upon. I know who I am now, not fully but this time abroad has greatly enhanced my relationship with myself. I don't need anyone to tell me what to think or how to act or what I should be because I have found that out on my own. It has only taken this time of growth to show me that and to become comfortable with myself, contradictions, mistakes and all. I think my time in Oxford has been very good for me, but I cannot wait to be home.