I have arrived at Oxford! (All in one piece, too!)
The city is a lot smaller than I imagined, and also a lot more complicated. Although I didn’t get lost on my way from Heathrow to Oxford (mainly because there was a direct bus connection), I’ve been getting lost nearly every day so far… This is mainly because the city is not in grids (like all US cities) but it’s completely random in its layout.
This makes sense, since the city grew organically as many years past— unlike cities of newer countries (e.g. USA) or of completely renovates (e.g. Paris after Haussemann). But it really doesn’t help that some streets randomly change names even though you’re still on the same road going the same direction. Google Map directions are useless at this point. And so are my blistered feet. [Note to self & all other women: do not wear heels. ANYTHING with heels — even 1 inch. You WILL trip on the cobblestones.]
Oxford, and I think England (although I’ve only seen a bit of it from my bus ride), is extremely pastoral. You can ride a car on the freeway, and see a farm + cows + sheep + crows + horses every 10 seconds. I feel like I’m at a 시골! I love cows, and am hoping to be able to see them up close. 🙂
Adjusting is… strange. I am not as self-conscious and shy as I was when I first came to college, but at the same time I still am the same person. Maybe I just got better at hiding it? English people are very friendly and nice, even strangers! Unlike my experience in Korea, everyone is very willing to help me when I ask for directions or for recommendations of stores/places. Oxford is a very diverse place, even though it seems like there are only white people here (unlike Berkeley!). But just passing by people on the streets, I hear all sorts of languages every day. German and French are the main ones, but there are languages that I can’t even take a guess about! And today I hear an angry Italian man shouting and ranting in Italian of course, as he passed by the street below my window. It was extremely impressive.
Here’s what my day has been so far:
8a— wake up & prepare for the day
9— @ pret à manger, a café right next door
9:45— walk to class
11-12p— explore the city & try to get my head around where everything is
12-1:45p— lunch, homework/study, walk to class again
3:10p-whenever— try to be more adventurous & explore the city/sight-see, but most often gets lost.
6p— dinner. Then,
homework / chilling / trying to get over jet lag until I succumb to the inevitable.
I think I need to start making friends, but I’ve been trying to settle in and get some much-needed things done first: bank account, cell phone, getting the rest of my scholarship funds.
random remarks about the flight:
10 hrs is much too long to stay seated in one position.But I remind myself that if I lived in the 16th century, this journey may as well be 3-4 months (longer?) and much more dangerous & smelly.
It sucks to have to be squeezed between two men in economy class, especially when one of them is a dark, tall and handsome French man who definitely did not fit in his chair and was encroaching upon my personal space, BIG TIME. I don’t care how good-lookin’ you are— you should have paid more and sat where you would fit! I.E. –> Most uncomfortable ride ever.
I leave you with a few photos: