His courage was almost appalling. “Would you like an adventure now,” [Peter] said casually to John, “or would you like to have your tea first?”
-J.M Barrie, Peter Pan
I write this to you now from Oxford, where I am on the cusp of beginning my final term of my master’s degree. Classes begin tomorrow! My course of study this term is Chaucer, a beautiful bookend to my undergraduate Chaucer class, which essentially changed the course of my academic life.
I flew out from DC Sunday night on a red-eye. The flight was record breaking in several regards:
1.) The only time I have ever heard flight attendants refer to turbulence as “extremely dangerous.”
2.) The most number of strangers (or people in general) I have ever heard vomit at one time. (I was not one of them, for the record, but it was pretty miserable)
Needless to say I did not sleep, but I also did not crash into the ocean, so there’s that. And I woke up at one point to a beautiful sunset over the horizon.
I arrived in London, read about half of the Catcher in the Rye while waiting in the line at the customs to cross the border, and then staggered onto the bus for Oxford. My third time around, pulling into Oxford felt like coming home. Aside from the city, which I adore, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones always adds an extra special element to these early days of term.
An added surprise this time around was the beautiful window seat and view from my room; a dream come true for my senior year.
Followed by this sunset:
This morning I took an early morning walk around the city, a time of refreshing stillness before the crowds roll in, and snapped a few pictures along the way.
Later that morning, I did some shopping to pick up supplies, and finalize everything for classes. One of the items on my shopping list was thumb tacks for the bulletin, board and I found these darling little turtle pins which make me think of my brother, Reid.
Having turtles hung all around the room now is a comforting sight.
This afternoon we had orientation for the both the our college library and the Bodleian library, the latter of which involved swearing an oath that we will not deface, remove, materials etc. AND (I’m not kidding on this one) “bring into the library or kindle any flame therein.” Which makes sense considering that this oath was written at a time when candles were the light source of choice. I still promise not to kindle any flames though. Incidentally this room was apparently used to film the infirmary in the Harry Potter movies. And doubtless many other more historically significant things than that.
Above is the view from one of the Bodleian orientation rooms, and below is the view from another orientation hall; a rather Hobbity view I think.
Tonight was the High Table Dinner, and the official opening to the term. The event is so named because the professors all sit at the High Table at the front. The evening holds much ceremony and etiquette, starting off with a prayer led in Latin.
These pictures aren’t great since I was trying to be discreet, but you get the idea.
So after all of that, our term officially has begun. Tomorrow we have our first class, as well as our first meeting as seniors. It’s hard to believe that my graduate studies are all about to come to an end, but I prefer to focus on the beginnings for the time being.