I love having a vacation practically every 7 weeks. True, it would be very nice to have paychecks to finance my vacations, but all the same it is nice to have some time off. I am in England right now visiting Zach at Oxford, before heading back to France for the weekend then on to Venice. Though the channel is not that wide, the differences between Paris and London are immediately obvious when you step off the train. Just driving through London I was struck by the utter order of it all. Sometimes in Paris I wonder if every single house, building and road were assembled regardless of the others than stapled together in a totally haphazard fashion. It is a magical eclectic jumble of beautiful objects. London flew by the bus window in a contrasting delightful blur of ordered streets, brightly painted doors, and well followed traffic signals. While I was waiting in line to buy my ticket to Oxford, a man came up and asked politely if he could cut al of us in the line to buy a ticket and catch a bus about to leave. Of course we let him, though I inwardly smiled as I thought that if we were in France he would probably be respected more for just cutting unnoticed than asking.
Oxford is truly one of the loveliest cities I have ever been in. Paris strikes one as something enchanting and captivating that takes your breath away. Oxford on the other hand is just quietly, but confidently, perfect. Zach has a huge paper due tomorrow, so I have had lots of time to explore on my own over the past couple days. I visited a couple years ago when my friend Bethany was studying abroad, so the first day was spent revisiting fond spots. I strolled around Christ Church Meadows, reveling in being surrounded by the un-manicured expanses of green. I saw some swans, property of the queen of course. If the queen also owns what the swans leave behind than I have officially stolen royal property. Zach and I attended formal dinner at University College with a friend of his and I so enjoyed the tradition and ceremony that exists for no other point (in my opinion) than merely to be there. Oxford is an elite bubble of academic excellence, but while you are there you forget that, and it really does seem natural that everyone can read Latin and can speak 4 languages. Every college has beautiful buildings, and while Zach insists that his is not one of the most attractive ones, I have still included some pictures.
Of course, my visited has been punctuated with many visits to Ben’s Cookies, quite possibly the greatest cookies on earth. I also took the recommendation from a friend and had tea and exquisite scones at The Rose. I sat and read my Oxford purchase of Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit. Who could visit Oxford and not purchase a book> Academia is contagious and I have gone on a Victorian literature kick while in Paris. Tonight I made dinner for Zach and a friend, and truly the best part of this visit is spending time with him. We commiserated about common European observations, mainly that Americans have our flaws, but we are efficient. We like deadlines, and problems get addressed and solved quickly. France and England operate in slower, and more paperwork intense, manner. Zach is still not in the possession of a package mailed almost a month ago and in Oxford for the past 3 weeks. Frustrating. Still, it is perhaps this same ideology that fosters vacations ever 8 weeks and long tea times on gray autumn afternoons.