Saturday, 4 October 2014

A day in Oxford, England

We've now been living in Cambridge for one month.  And for one month, I have not left (other than a few bike rides out to some small surrounding towns) Cambridge.  It's crazy how in just one month, I've really found a sense of "home" here.  I have grown to love this place already.  So much, that a day trip to Oxford made me feel a sense of pride for my new home.  As many of you may know, Oxford and Cambridge are home to two of the most prestigous Universities.  The rivalry between the two University towns will always be ongoing.  I was excited to discover what Oxford was like and create my own (biast, obviously) opinion.  But far more importantly, the reason I woke up so crazy early in excitement to get here, was because I was meeting an old friend from Canada, Kara. :)

Kara has been living in Bristol for a number of years (5, maybe?), and is now living with her husband Zac in Cardiff, Wales.  Oxford seemed like a great half way point to meet up for the day.  It is such a great feeling to see a familiar face from home!  I've known Kara my entire life, as our families were great friends from church, and we also attended the same high school.  I remember Kara helping me fix my uniform on the first day of Grade Nine-  just like a big sister would do.  Being two years older, she was much more informed of the "cool" way to wear your uniform, haha.  Our day in Oxford flew by, as we shared many laughs and shared our experiences of moving to the UK.  It was nice to hear about her perspective of the small but unavoidable cultural differences between Canada and the UK.  Just like the first day of Grade 9, she gave me some great insight of things I can expect this year being a new-comer from a different country.

Naturally, leading up to this day I found myself doing some light research on the city of Oxford.  My housemate Emma also gave me a ton of suggestions of what to do/see, having grown up just outside of Oxford.  The city itself is much like Cambridge (but obviously not as nice!  There's my home pride coming out already...), and is a very beautiful, walkable city.  The colleges are scattered throughout the downtown, and are a breathtaking sight to see.  In fact, among many other famous films, it is here that Harry Potter was filmed.  The real "Hogwart's" is actually in Oxford, England!  How cool is that?  Also, Oxford is the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland.  The author came to Oxford to study mathematics, and it is here that he met Alice (the Dean's daughter), who inspired the famous story of Alice in Wonderland.  Kara and I didn't have a chance to expore many of these sights, but I did find this article that includes some photos that show inspirations for the story:

Overall, Oxford is rich in history and intersting stories.  It was a lovely place to meet an old friend for the day, and wander the picturesque streets.  We were lucky to have a full day of sunshine, so we were able to find some nice spots to sit, relax and enjoy eachothers company.  Although, I would have to say it doesn't beat the sights of Cambridge. :)

Inside one of the colleges.
This building was the hospital in Harry Potter.
The covered market.
Kara and I :)
Kara came bearing gifts!  She pulled this out of her purse and said, "here's a little something to remind you of Canada".  We laughed and both agreed that even though it literally is just plain macaroni with fake, liquid cheese, we can't deny enjoying a big buttery bowl of Kraft Dinner. :)