Now that I am back in the US, I wanted to reflect back on my six weeks at Oxford. What an amazing summer! I am so happy that I went on the Shackouls Honors College Summer Study trip, and I thought I would unpack some of my favorite memories of my time studying at Oxford and exploring the nearby areas.
My tutorial was conducted in the usual style of Oxford students. I studied C.S. Lewis under Dr. Michael Ward. We met once a week, during which time I would read the essay I had written over the week.
Dr. Ward would critique the essay and share some of his knowledge of Lewis’ work, and then set out my essay prompt for the next week.
The first week Dr. Ward’s understanding of Surprised by Joy literally left me speechless and if all I learned the whole of my tutorials came from that first week, I could consider it worth it. If you have recently read Surprised by Joy, I would love to talk with you about it.
I gained such a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Ward, especially after the last tutorial. The assignment for the last tutorial was to read his book analyzing the Chronicles of Narnia. If you ever get the chance to read Planet Narnia, give yourself plenty of time and prepare to have your mind blown. I accumulated several books on Lewis while I was in Oxford which were really exceptional; C. S. Lewis: A Life and Planet Narnia.
More important than souvenirs, the memories I collected from my Oxford trip are so fulfilling; I look over the pictures and happy tears come to my eyes. I am happy; not only because of the wonderful opportunity to see such a fantastic part of the world but also because of the experiences and friendships I found along the way.
I remember going to Stratford to visit Shakespeare’s hometown and dodging rain by standing under the eaves of hundreds of years old store-fronts.
I remember our WISC supper clubs hosted at various friends flats, and making brownies as pasta boiled in both flats across the hall from one another.
I remember Jade crying in front of the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile in Paris out of sheer happiness to be near the place Audrey Hepburn had been.
Clayton literally scaring us to death with his demon faces and noises the night we all got together to watch the College World Series championship game.
Jenni lisping about going to the Hogwarts studio because of her complete excitement.
Steven and Natalie keeping us all from getting lost in Paris with their careful knowledge of the Metro.
The time I got lost in London for about fifteen minutes without a cell phone.
When we walked the lane C.S. Lewis took during his steps of conversion at Magdalen College and followed it up with tea and biscuits.
The pride I had in giving exact change in pounds and pence.
Seeing little kids riding their scooters everywhere. I think it must be impossible to be a child in the UK and not have a scooter.
Pimms at the Summer Eights. I could go on and on. So many memories.
Of course I brought back tshirts and postcards and European candy. I found some little bit of memorabilia for each of my family, and even more for myself. But the best things I brought back are the memories that I created studying and exploring the UK.