This is a picture of one of the greatest perks of my college--a bike garage (the equivalent of covered parking in the middle of town in the states). And since I haven't devised a way to take a picture of myself on my bike, here is a picture of a stranger on a bike ahead of me....I look kind of like that minus the skinny jeans.
I think my comments tend to highlight what is unusual, frustrating, or just bizarre about my life here so far, and I don't at all want to portray (or cultivate) a cynical outlook on my experience. The reality is that it is certainly a blessing and a privilege to be placed here and amidst the confusing, disorienting, and hilarious moments, there are times every day that are beautiful, breath-taking, and quite amazing. Here are a few:
1. Beautiful October days. It has been incredible here so far, I think it has been sunny every day except one. I probably should be trying to bottle this up for the long dark winter ahead, but am thoroughly enjoying it while it lasts. However, the weather changes RAPIDLY. And since I have always had a habit of dressing for the previous day (time I was outside) this has gotten me into some serious problems. I am often bundled up and sweating or in a t-shirt and shivering.
2. Crisp mornings and evenings. I suppose this is related to the previous, but I love how brisk it is and the way the sun hits the buildings at dawn and dusk.
3. All British people are funny. Literally. Every single one. There is often an American delay in understanding the humour, but their jokes are dry as the desert and quite witty.
4. Formal Hall. The meal is truly an all night affair. I suppose it could swing from my favourite to least favourite thing depending on my company. I am getting a crash course in conversation skills!
5. Bikes. Exercise plus transportation. And, there is always an available parking spot if you are creative...which I was especially thankful for as I saw a guy trying to convince a police officer to not give him a ticket for parking his car illegally. I may miss the protection of a vehicle once the rain starts, but I won't miss parking tickets for blocking fire hydrants.
6. Hummous and Falafel everything. I have had a burger, baguette, and wrap (with cous cous). Ok, so maybe Oxford has affected me a little bit...(And I use a "diary" now. I could never make myself use any kind of planner before, but I would literally be unable to function without one here...Although, they are still open to user error. I showed up to a lecture that didn't exist today.)
7. Being on a budget. Seriously, this one isn't sarcastic. I love the discipline of staying tight financially. AND, I think in the long run the budget will be good for me in more ways than one. For example, my budget keeps my eyes from getting bigger than my stomach, or my stomach from getting bigger than it is now. The pastries here would be tempt-ing otherwise.
More favourites to come...