Journey to Oxford

The flight left at 5:55 pm in Boston and arrived at 5:55 am in England. When I arrived at the airport I didn’t feel tired. I also wasn’t hungry, even though I ate nothing on my flight. After getting through customs I waited for a while for my luggage. The suitcase I brought with me was my mom’s that she lent me for this trip since it was rather large. Waiting for my luggage was the worst as I kept fearing it would be lost, after an eternity of waiting it came out but, of course, it was the last one. I then made my way to the bus station where there were so many unfamiliar things and people. After waiting outside in the freezing cold, I got onto an hour-long bus ride that took me to Oxford, England. The bus wasn’t that bad, there weren’t a lot of people and I got a row to myself. I listened to music as we passed the rolling hills. As we got close to Oxford, I was always checking if it was my time to get off. 

When I finally got off the bus it was already 9:30 am. I made my way to my hotel, pulling my overweight suitcase along. I wasn’t able to get into my room at the hotel, but I was able to drop my bags off. To kill time I decided to explore Oxford a bit. I started at the Westgate Mall, which was close to my hotel. Nothing was open since it wasn’t yet even 10 am, so from there I walked along the streets and ended up at University Church. I walked around the church taking in the gothic architecture; it had stained glass along the sides of the walls, it was built with a gray stone, it had many gothic pointed arches, and the ceiling had these wonderful wooden arches all along it. After sitting in the pews for a few minutes I decided to count on my walk. I spent most of my time that day in the part where the older Oxford colleges are. I was amazed at the sights of the historical buildings. As I walked around I stopped at a famous bookstore in Oxford called Blackwells. The building had so many floors just filled with books. I stopped on the second floor at the cafe, since I was getting tired. I took a break for an hour or two, just sitting around and scrolling on my phone.

Around noon I decided to grab lunch. I ended up at a pub called Wig and Pen that a friend had recommended to me. It was a pub chain that’s all over England, the place was really large. I sat at a high top right near the bar as I was too tired to look anywhere else. I wasn’t used to the way the food ordering was set up with each table having a number and going up to the bar to order. I ordered a chicken and bacon sandwich but I only ended up eating fries, as I realized I still had no appetite. After lunch, I went back to my hotel to see if my room was ready, and when I got there it was.

I spend three hours hanging around my room and napping before grabbing dinner in the pouring rain. As it was quite busy in many restaurants I ended up at a Shake Shack, which is an American fast food place. As I tried to figure out how to order on a table, I found that this place was rather new to Oxford. Waiting around for my order should have been an easy thing, but I was on hyper vigilance in this unfamiliar place. It also didn’t help that the place was so crowded as people were taking refuge from the rain. When I got my cheeseburger and fries, I found that it wasn’t anything amazing and it was odd to be somewhere that was supposedly American. After the first bite of my burger, I decided that I didn’t like it. So I just ate most of my fries. I sat around for an hour or thirty minutes just killing time, but the more I sat the more time didn’t feel like it was moving. This Shake Shack made it seem like I was in a void or something. After a bit, I ran back to the hotel around 6:30 pm, where I jumped into the shower to wash off the long day of travel. After being up for over 24 hours I was finally able to go to bed.  

The first day abroad was a whirlwind of emotions; I was tired and always on high alert, but I didn’t want those feelings to stop me from spending my first day seeing such a beautiful place. I may have been dead on my feet, but I was determined to understand and see where I was going to be for this semester. I also wanted to get to Oxford a few days early so I would be acclimated to the time difference by the time classes and everything started. I wanted to be able to start the semester and meet new people with my full attention.

Amelia S is studying Studio Art concentration Graphic Design and is studying abroad at St Clare’s Oxford. 

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