Thursday, August 4, 2011
Final Post: I am home!
After being home for almost a week it is easier to reflect on the things I miss most about our trip. Going from a bustling Oxford to a low key Spokane, WA was somewhat of a shock to me. Although I am able to eat healthier here (no more KFC around the corner), and cook, and work out, and drive wherever I want Spokane just doesn’t compare to Oxford. In Oxford I could walk around and see a city that was based on more than businesses and people, there was history. My younger sister and I were discussing what makes a city in the US a real city in the first place and the stark truth is money. A place jam packed with new stores and restaurants will bring people so more businesses will open and the chain continues. It was different in Oxford, as it is different in many places outside the US. Most, or all, of the United States’ famous cities are famous for the services they provide to the people living there but in Oxford I got to witness centuries of history unite a city and a university.
There was also more to do in Oxford. I really enjoyed being 19 and having full access to the city. Even in Seattle, despite the 2-3 clubs that allow 18 and overs, I feel like I’m banned from an entire portion of the city’s culture. I feel young in Seattle and in Oxford I felt equal to everyone else. It wasn’t just the ability to buy alcohol; it was the chance to be a part of a pub culture I had never witnessed before. At UW if we want to party it has to be a frat, but in Oxford there were no frat parties and the drinking culture was different. It wasn’t how late you stayed out or how many drinks you had, it was about unwinding with friends until you felt ready to go home. Most pubs closed at 11 and I never once heard a group of young adults say, “So what are we doing after this?”
I do like being home too though. I like my big house with all its privacy in the middle of the woods and I like my mother doting on me every day. I like watching TV and catching up on all the series I DVR’ed when I left for Oxford and I like catching up with friends from high school and presenting the Oxford University t-shirts I bought for them. Mostly I like being here and NOT doing anything. In Oxford I felt like I had to squeeze in so many activities everyday and I was constantly going going going but here I can finally sit and relax for half a second. At this moment I am sitting in my bed wearing footie pajamas and I plan on staying here most of the day. I like being able to sit with my family and do nothing or go to the mall and just walk around aimlessly with my friends. This all may sound dreadfully boring to most of you but for the remainder of August, until I move back to Seattle, I am officially off the grid.
As for all my Oxford adventures go, I miss them, but I think this program made me appreciate life more, I know that sounds cheesy but it is true. Last year in Seattle I was constantly worried about what I was doing and if it was the right thing to do but I think Oxford has shown me how to live a little more and worry a little less. I know for sure I will be travelling again soon, being abroad gives you a new lens to look through when you get home and that perspective is priceless. I’ve travelled a lot in my life but this trip to Oxford was my first independent journey and that made a lot of difference.