I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now, letting it sit in my drafts folder until I could blow the virtual dust off of it and unearth it from my mental archives. Wales. I remember the hills flecked with trees and sheep, and the huge sky so big that it swallowed the distant hilltops, veiling them in distant clouds.
Originally, I hadn’t planned on going to Wales, but Marymount’s Honors Director came to England during the last week of our stay and offered to take the group somewhere. We voted on Wales, and so off we went, piling into a van outside of the Oxford train station in the early morning, laughing about inside jokes and cows and really, anything at all. It was a good three hour drive or so from Oxford across the countryside until the signs began to read in both Welsh and English – then we knew that we were getting close.
To begin, we went to Caerphilly Castle – the second largest castle in Britain.
We walked through the grounds, exploring the towers and rooms. Then we walked a short distance to the local Boots and bought sandwiches, which we ate picnic-style on the grounds across from the castle.
We then loaded into the van again for a short drive to a national park. In Wales, a park essentially means acres and acres of hills and forests with loads of sheep (and sometimes cows) wandering through them.
So, we hiked through sheep pastures (if you’ll notice, this is a common theme in my UK posts). And then, we squeezed back into the van and traveled back home to Oxford. It’s so odd to think that I called Oxford home over the summer, but I did. The other night, I actually started to get homesick for the little cafe on the second floor of the bike shop and the desk that I lived at in the RadCam and the side streets and excursions to the riverside. I missed studying with the lovely Michelle and traipsing back at night with a bag of groceries to cook some concoction of pasta and vegetables (with cheese – always with cheese). I missed spending a full day pouring myself into a tutorial paper and forcing myself to excel because I was so nervous about my tutorial meetings (a few weeks ago I found out that I got an A- in the overall tutorial).
That night, I was homesick for a place that I’d only called home for six weeks, and I know that it will happen again. It’s happened a bit with Spain, but less of a homesickness and more of a vague curiosity about the rest of the Camino, and the towns along the way. I know, of course, that I have fernweh, but I also find myself yearning to return to places I’ve been so that I can live there a little longer, and create a new normal. I suppose this means that I sometimes just want to change up my normal routine so that I can explore new places and new ways to work in the morning and ways home from school in the evening. But in the back of my mind, there’s a nagging impulse that I can do that here – that I can deviate from my normal hectic class schedule and try something different every so often.
It’s just so much easier when there’s a plane involved. It feels like an adventure, and I want to live my life like it is one.