Cavernous, dimly lit wooden panelled rooms. A smothering silence broken only by the flipping of a page, a cough. This is the story you might expect to hear from someone returning from a visit in Oxford, but certainly not the story I came back with. My story takes place in raucous pubs listening to folk music, and getting up early, nursing a headache the next morning at breakfast in the college hall. Between cultural excursions to the various museums and historical buildings, I spent my time soaking up the student culture in one of the oldest universities in the world.
In my six night blitz through Oxford I attended a college ball, watched the “Imps” – the university’s improv troupe, failed miserably at punting, went to a formal hall for dinner, sat in on a lecture, and made more close friends than I had thought possible in such a short time. Anyone with the spare cash can book a plane ticket to visit a new city or country, but I am deeply grateful for the people who whole-heartedly took me in and helped me peek behind the curtain into their everyday lives at Oxford. To those who enriched this week, who made it feel endless even as it flickered by much too fast; to those who spared a moment from studying for exams to join me for lunch, who indulged my curiosity (and shared in my subsequent regret) as I drank my first, second, and third “crossedkeys” – thank you. I may not have come back with a suitcase full of varsity swag, or a punter’s hat (which, at £3, was quite the steal), but I have a head full of treasured memories, and a few pictures which I can only hope capture even one sliver of the fun I had during that week.
A special thank-you to Charlotte, for her inexhaustible patience, willingness to sacrifice her floorspace, and her unfailing friendship. You were the key that opened the door to Oxford, for which I am so very grateful.