Life in Oxford {1}

Those of you who know me (and my camera) in person know that it is big and bulky, and impossible to carry around all the time. Lately, I’ve been out in the city for hours and hours at a time, which means that its not very convenient to have my DSLR with me. {A note for certain people who may or may not read this – Anthony, this is why I didn’t have it today. Say no more.}

I’ve been taking a lot more photos with my phone camera, which is pretty horrible, but I’m learning to deal with it. I’m going occasionally post a set of these snapshots, like I am doing now, because they better summarize what I do with my days here than my professional photographs.

Here. Welcome to my life in Oxford (minus the part where I actually do go to class, etc).

The Thames via Christchurch Meadows
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Tea before church services
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Swimming in the river!! (Because 70 degrees and sunny is warm enough here to bust out the shorts and swimsuits)
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Magdalen
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ASD at Magdalen
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More of Magdalen
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Magdalen
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Magdalen
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Magdalen
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Magdalen (guess where I went today??)
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Guess where?
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Another at Magdalen
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Night and Day by Woolf – at teatime.

Stratford-upon-Avon

To be quite honest, I don’t know how to begin this post. Should I tell you about flying into London and busing to Oxford? I won’t waste time discussing the orientation sessions I’ve sat in all week – as necessary as they are, I want to instead show you the highlights of these last few days.

After finishing the last orientation session this evening, I walked along the centre of Oxford towards Trinity College, where just hours earlier, I’d been inducted as a member. I scanned myself into the bright blue gates and lost myself among the buildings, eventually finding the library doors. College members only. Walking into the musty stacks on tiptoe, I attempted to not disturb the many students studying for finals (this is impossible with wet shoes).

I taught myself the catalogue system and soon found part of my reading list. Very soon I was out in the rain again with books pressed to my chest and an umbrella held tight. I suspect that this will not be the last time this occurs, given the weather in England thus far. Yesterday’s rain, however, was less gloomy. The reason for this, in all probability, was because our group went to Stratford-upon-Avon. Read: We went to a place where its perfectly normal to geek out about Shakespeare – an English major’s shrine.

While I delve into my books this weekend, I shall leave you all with photographs of yesterday’s excursion.

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Royal Shakespeare Theatre
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Shakespeare’s grave
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Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried
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Halls Croft – the house of Shakespeare’s daughter and son-in-law
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Wisteria
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The gardens of Halls Croft

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I left my heart in Espana

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Somehow it is always difficult to summon the words to adequately describe a trip, an experience, a life-changing event. Perhaps that’s why I take photographs, to capture the moments, the colors, the vibrant life of a place and time. Yet because this was a class trip, an English class trip, I have a journal chock full of details and moments that are helping me to reconstruct that week. It is impossible to remember everything that happened, it is impossible for anyone to remember everything about a trip. The key is in reconstructing the moments that I want to treasure and giving them room to come alive in my memory and on paper.
But for now, here are a few pictures to start the sharing process.

Ghost Towers (pt. 1)

– A short history lesson –

During World War II, Philadelphia was a major center for fuel and weapons manufacturing. By going up the Delaware Bay, the Axis powers could have taken the city with it’s valuable commodities. The United States, in anticipation of such an attack, built 11 watchtowers, an equal distance apart, in order to spot and fire on any enemy ships in the Bay.
The towers were never needed, as an attack up the Bay was never enacted by the Axis powers.
Now they stand along the shore as monuments to an era past. Empty, ghost towers, still watching for enemy ships.

During my vacation I had the chance to climb up one that has been turned into an observation tower. The view was breathtaking. More pictures to come.