Saturday, July 5, 2014

A London Confession

I'm back again! I'm blogging an obnoxious amount, but I'll have you know that I took about 500 pictures today and the struggle to not post them all is so real. Today I was able to visit my dream city for the first time that I can remember. I've developed this notion that I'm a city girl. City life intrigues me. The hole in the wall restaurants, the local boutiques, the history that comes from a hub like New York City or London or Madrid- I want to experience it all long term, not just in a week long vacation. That being said, I had very high expectations for London. I was looking at it as some place I wanted to live one day, my potential home. And you know what? As brilliant as it was, I don't see myself there. Granted, I was on a bus for most of the day, driving past everything in a coach while trying to snap decent pictures and straining to hear the tour guide at the front of the bus and struggling to keep my eyes open because I should have gotten a lot more sleep last night, but here's the thing. I think, and I say this hesitantly, that I may possibly potentially love Oxford more. London is fabulous for sure, but Oxford feels like the perfect mix between big city and small town. It has bustling streets, tons of markets, loads of people, and several high rises of its own, but it feels quaint. Almost every building is old. They all seem to be straight out of the sixteenth century or before! There are bright colors and loud music and large parks. I feel more at home in Oxford then I did in London. Granted, today was rather dreary in a very British way, on and off rain, heavy gray clouds blocking out the glorious sun we've been enjoying, so London looked overall rather morose. And I'll go back several times over the next few weeks to see plays and take more tours, these times on bike and on foot, so all of this judgment is subject to change. But staying in Oxford is making me excited. I know it's only been six days (we're establishing that I'm quick to jump to conclusions, right?), but I feel like I could belong in this city. I feel like this could be home.

That being said, here are two things I learned about Oxford, the highlight of London, and a gazillion million pictures.
1. Everything closes in Oxford at 7. When we got back from London, I waited for a bit and then went into town to attempt to buy an Oxford pullover and a flash drive, and everything was closed. I mean it. Every single store. Some shops even said they had late summer hours that went until 7. Wait, what?
2. It gets cold here. I brought a pair of jeans and like two sweaters, but if it hadn't been for my mother, I wouldn't have packed them. I packed all shorts and dresses and was so excited, but it's pretty chilly. From noon until 4, which is when our free time is, the weather is perfect- light breezes, bright sun that isn't beasty hot, basically it's just really enjoyable. You don't feel like you're melting every time you step outside, which is a glorious feeling in July. But when we go outside for classes or make a run into town at night, I find myself wishing I was in pants and a sweater. Hence my hunt for an Oxford pullover.
3. Guys, I FOUND THE SHAKE SHACK IN LONDON. REPEAT, I FOUND THE SHAKE SHACK IN LONDON. I visited a city I've been dreaming about for months, I saw a thousand touristy sites I've only imagined (including the changing of the guard), I took a nap, I'm living in Oxford for a month, but I can honestly say the most exciting part of today was finding the London Shake Shack, which was in Covent Garden, which is the only place we were allowed to roam by ourselves today. I was so excited. It was heavenly.

Sincerely, mad

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