Where.do.i.begin?! It’s been an absolute whirlwind since I flew out on my red-eye Friday night. Before I delve into anything, small tip: weigh your luggage before you go. My dad apparently thinks he has the keen ability to lift a bag and magically estimate the weight. So he thought I was totally in the clear. Not so much. Save yourself the stressful, panicked process of ripping open your suitcases to re-distribute weight. Please.
Onto the good stuff. So I flew over with one of my closest friends from high school, Emily, and thank God we did. We were each other’s support system which was much-needed and really calmed my fears. When we arrived, her friend from Georgetown, Shea, was such a gent and not only paid the 22 plus pounds to meet us at the airport but then completely took over and carried my luggage for the rest of the journey (since I’m on surgeon’s orders to not lift anything over 20 pounds. And my mom’s orders – nothing over an ounce.) So his help was greatly appreciated!
When we hopped off the bus, we were dropped into a major street in the city of Oxford, High Street, which is gorgeous beyond words. It has amazing shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and the Bodleian Library is right off of it. We trecked to Mansfield College to stop at the porter’s lodge for my keys (passing by a lovely porter at Harris Manchester College who informed me that I was in fact at the totally wrong place). And from there it was a blur. I ran around Oxford with Emily and Shea trying to get as much essentials for my room as possible, including pillows, bedding, mattress covers, a hamper, a blow dryer, body wash, soap, lotion, ET CETERA. The list goes on (but I can say that it’s now almost completed! Hurray!) My feet are officially torn apart and my legs are consistently aching – my dorm (‘Dale’) is 15-20 minutes from Mansfield and about 30-35 from the main area of errand shopping. But I’m not complaining; some live another 20ish minutes from me at Dale! Yikes.
My room is pretty much all set up now. I love my bedding, and it’s starting to really feel like home. All in all, things are really falling into place. I figured out my pay-as-you-go sim card plan on my Blackberry so I can still BBM (free text) loved ones from home, including my mom. I purchased a Skype phone number and got credit so I can all mobile and landlines in the US unlimited each month. I’m truly content.
Besides the errands, it’s been a lot of meet and greets, orientation activities, pub and club events with the ‘freshers’ (the visiting students share orientation week with the arriving college freshmen). And it’s all been an absolute blast. Not to say it hasn’t been exhausting and definitely overwhelming. But I already feel like I’ve made some solid friends and I can’t help but melt every time a clerk in a shop calls me ‘love’ and ‘lovely’ or when 2nd year orientation leader (called “college parents”) spends the time to get to know me. And the culture here is just incredible. Everyone seems so friendly and boisterous and while I can’t make huge generalizations and I’m sure there will be exceptions, I’m so happy with the wonderful reception I’ve recieved so far.
I’m going to nab the opportunity to nap (getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night doesn’t quite make the cut) so I’ll leave this here. I will be posting pictures soon! And I will just say; there are truly no words to describe the absolute magic of this city. I feel like I’m living out of a storybook. I can’t believe I get to call this place home for a year. I’d say I’m a pretty lucky girl. ‘Till next time!