England was such a sacred time in my life. Although I had no intention of it being an "escape" when I scheduled my semester abroad many, many months earlier, the weeks leading up to my departure found me desperately thankful for a time to get away, leave the current world behind and seek out some new distractions in "The City of Dreaming Spires." I was eager to explore the country I had heard so much about, and to throw myself into the study of "The Works of Jane Austen" and "Communication in Social Relationships" at Oxford.
|View of Oxford from the New College bell tower.|
|Outside the house where Jane Austen lived her final days.|
|Big Ben, London|
And there were the little things, the seemingly insignificant events that are still heavily pressed upon my mind - watching the crew team row down the Thames River early in the morning, drinking tea with a spot of milk in my don's kitchen while discussing how media has affected modern-day relationships, reading Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" in the meadow while the mist rises up off the canal, shopping at the weekly market, finding a good deal on bananas and coming home to find that all my flatmates had discovered the same deal.
|Park Meadows, Oxford.|
But England wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. Although beautiful in early Fall, towards the end it was a lot of dark, cold and rain. The sun started setting before 4pm and didn't rise until around 8am. My charming Oxford flat had a horrible heating system, which was not improved by the fact that the window above my bed was stuck open.
|Cool Oxford flat.|
|See the top window (decorated with paper snowflakes) that's stuck open a crack? That's mine.|
|Chatsworth, any "Pride and Prejudice" fans recognize this from the most recent movie version?|
|Winchester, shout-out to Sally, pictured center and avid blog reader!|
November 1, 20004
"I miss Jon. I've been listening to "Phantom of the Opera" all day and drinking Dr. Pepper. Today he asked me if I knew what was in 6 days. November 7 - Oh I remember all right."
And while the emails started back up again so did the arguing and disagreements, but they were a little different this time around. I had changed, Jon had changed. And although neither of us was perfect and neither of us had suddenly become this new ideal person, we were learning to empathize better, to give in in a few areas, and to be a little less self-centered. I'm sure we noticed the subtle changes in ourselves and in one another, but given the very little, sporadic communication that fall we had no way of knowing where exactly the other stood.
November 23, 2004
"Apparently I have to break up with a boy several times before I know it's real ... Wrote Jon an extremely long email... Anyway, I can't tell how he feels now. And I'm worried. I just want to see him but now he probably doesn't want to see me. I think I must have sounded extremely harsh in my email when all I really want is just to see him and have everything be alright..."
December 14, 2004
"I don't know if it's because I'm at the F.'s or because I only have 6 days to go, but I'm really starting to get homesick. I can't stop thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home. And I really miss Jon. I can't wait to see him! Oh hurry up December!"
|New College, Oxford.|