Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Some Memories of Spires

I've been back in Colorado for just over two weeks now. The first couple weeks were pretty busy with Christmas celebrations and spending time with family. Now that things have slowed down and developed something of the normal rhythm of home, I think I'm starting to process the last four months. To be honest, it's still kinda beyond my grasp. The fact that it HAPPENED at all still blows me away. Against the odds I lived in England for a semester, studying at one of the world's top universities, making friends I can't imagine NOT being friends with now. People back home ask me 'what was your favorite part' or 'what will you miss most' and I'm stumped. All of it? What on earth actually WAS it that made my term in Oxford so amazing?

When I think about that 15 weeks, it's like photographs or short videos playing in my head. Walking along the Thames. Admiring the architecture in Oxford. Bus rides through the English countryside. Walking my feet off in London. Dinner at pubs with friends. My flatmate bursting into my room. Foggy mornings. Stacks of books on my desk. Discussions with my tutors. Bonfires and fireworks. Laughs and giggles. Dinner at the Bywaters. Hammering out essays. Speed reading entire books. Harry Potter film watching, house sorting quizzes, and my friends shouting spells at each other and waving their phones around and laughing. Carrying on worldview discussions in between sessions. Studying at the Bodleian. Getting to know my new friends. Learning I can research and write a 2000+ word essay and make it good in three days if necessary.

Maybe it's like asking what the point of something is. As Mr. Bywater would say, maybe there's not one point. Maybe there's not a favorite part or a one thing I'll miss most. Maybe I'll never know what exactly about Oxford makes me smile and feel wistful every time I think about it. Maybe an experience isn't summed up in one thing. Maybe it's all the little things working in concert that make an experience amazing. Maybe some things are felt so deeply in the heart the mind has difficulty finding words to express them.

Huh. Happy tears. Humany-wumany.

Anyway. Find below my attempt at summing up four months of crazy adventures in three minutes.

"Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!" --Joseph B. Wirthlin
"True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories." --Florence King

"There are few greater temptations on earth than to stay permanently in Oxford in meditation and read all the books in the Bodleian." --Hilaire Belloc

"He hath Oxford seen, for beauty,
And healthiness ne'er saw a better
If God himself on earth abode would
The Oxford, sure, would for his
     dwelling take."
--Daniel Rogers

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