Liv in Oxford

Visiting Student at St. Edmund Hall for the 2013-2014 school year, via NYU. Studying English.

Though my first essay is due on Wednesday and I probably should have stayed in Oxford to prepare for it (and get off Tumblr now), I went to London to visit my best friends at NYU London. 

We didn’t do anything really touristy, since I’d been to London before and we were all tired. So we went out for a late lunch/brunch/tea, came home and talked, watched The Hours - I’d read the book but hadn’t seen the movie - and had breakfast the next day before I left. 

It was frustrating being in Florida and New York for a month and a half while three of my best friends from my core NYU group were already settling down in England. They visited Stonehenge and Greenwich and Salisbury and Copenhagen before I came, but I bought plane tickets to Morocco with them in a few weeks. I’m really excited for that. Didn’t fully realize that £170 pounds = $300 until after I got the charge on my credit card (and told Lindsay, panicked, that there’d been a mistake.)

Being back in NYU territory felt good; to get into buildings I just flashed my purple ID, and talked unselfconsciously in an American accent. Their section of the city is nice and collegiate, right near UCL (where Julia will be next semester and so where I will be returning often), and the academic building is “old Victorian” style. Sometimes I think that NYU’s goal in study abroad programs is to transplant itself into a section of the city that most represents its ideal. NYU London is in Bloomsbury, a “fashionable residential area" from the 17th/18th centuries; NYU Paris comprised of a "charming complex of 19th-century buildings"; NYU Prague "steps away from the Old Town Centre." And so on.

As much as I enjoyed what seemed like “classic London,” I was glad I’d chosen Oxford, where I don’t take a subway and can walk anywhere in 15 minutes. I like that I am part of a college, that I can play soccer (football!) and study in a cozy library. I like that avoiding smokers isn’t part of my day, in the way that it would be in London and New York. 

We talked about our “ideal” travel. Lindsey realized she likes stability more than she thought, and didn’t have fun on the Copenhagen trip, which was rushed. I know I don’t like to jump around from place to place, which is why I chose Oxford for the entire year. We have similar conceptions of home - they miss New York and feel like they will just have enough time to get used to London before they have to leave. Even though we don’t have to learn a new language here, things are slightly different, and life feels 20 degrees off-center. Not in a bad way - it’s one I can imagine getting more and more used to, the longer I stay here, but it’s definitely an adjustment. Though I’m so, so happy here, I think I’m always on my guard when I’m away from home (even in New York). I could imagine living here when I’m older, but it would be more of an effort than settling in the US. 

Even though I’ve been away from my mom for a week now, I started to miss her a lot when I got to London, and had an anxious urge to check on her. It’s weird, because I wasn’t any further away than I had been a few hours before, but the distance felt different. Maybe cities make me feel lonely and small. 

I was glad to come back, to eat dinner at Teddy Hall (despite how woefully little variety there is, though the students claim the food is “much better” than the other colleges — everything is relative?), to play goalie for a school again, to be back in bed. 

  • 14 October 2013
  • 2