03 June 2014

Oxford Interlude

It was a quiet, cheerful morning. At the top floor of my building in Christ Church College I was getting ready to head out. I loaded my bag with the essentials - meaning a journal and book, and made my way down four floors of stairs. Upon exiting the building I was facing the college walls and building that are older than my home country. Tightening my scarf a little more around my neck, I walked through the quad and a narrow passage, which led to the college library. Walking alongside the tall, ornate building toward the back gate of the college. The porter says good morning to me as I exit the gate and turn left to walk toward High Street.

The sidewalk immediately outside the gate is cluttered with resting bicycles. It always is. I shuffle my way past them and breath deep the chilled air and the silence of the street. As I walk I put my hands in my pockets because the chilly air seems to multiply when surrounded by stone buildings. I look around me and just smile to myself. It's an automatic response I cannot contain and it happens frequently. The beauty and solemnity of the city captures my heart. There is no other place I have been to that has done so much.

I get to High Street and all is bustling. I turn left and walk. People are making their way somewhere. Buses stop and let off passengers who live outside of the city centre. I reach a pedestrian crossing near The Mitre (where C.S. Lewis frequented for lunch or supper) and wait to cross the street. Once I cross the street I dash into one of the elusive entrances to the Covered Market because it has suddenly begun to rain.

There is a small French Cafe down the first lane of the Covered Market and I make my way to it. I peak inside the glass case to see if they have any left. They have one. I order the last Almond Croissant to takeaway and walk around the market munching on the best croissant I've ever tasted.

Mornings like these were my routine, and I daydream back to them. I miss walking everywhere. I miss finding a tiny side street to explore each day. I miss browsing in a myriad of bookshops. I miss the casual cheerfulness of the English. I miss Oxford.

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