Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 'Shire

Current Location: Youth Hostel, Oxford, England.

I'm here. That's the good news. To be honest, there really isn't any bad news other then the fact that my eyes are worn out from being open for so long and I know I have a presentation to make tomorrow.

However, a good night's rest will fix that. Very soon.

In the meantime, I would like to recount my adventures for posterity. Bryan and I had our tearful goodbye (OK, I was crying and he was looking awkward), and I went through security without being violated by any of the airline folks.

Our Last Picture Together Before the Flight

Then, as I was sitting near the gate, I overhead some kids talking about taking courses in Oxford. I struck up a conversation and found out they were NCSU students who were doing the study abroad option in Oxford this summer. I met a few English majors and we chatted about favorite professors and what we would be studying in Oxford. They were all very jealous of the Pullman meet-up. I also met one of my new colleagues' former students. What's interesting is that this teacher and I had talked about the fact that me and this girl Becka were going to Oxford around the same time...and lo and behold...there she was, sitting by my feet outside gate C23 in the RDU terminal.

Becca and I

On the plane, I sat next to a very nice German woman named Claudia with whom I spent the next four hours discussing American versus German culture. She is a Biologist in RDU and was doing some business traveling but she spoke excellent English and we talked about everything from our countries' different education systems to gun control policies in the US.

At first I was nervous that I would be bored traveling alone but I had some good conversations with a range of individuals and the time went pretty fast. The biggest issue was when I did finally try to get some sleep on the plane. Hands down, international overnight airline travel is impossible. I got about two fitful hours of sleep and woke up in worst shape than before I went to sleep. I don't know what's so hard about making some seats go back just a little further...but I survived and made it to London.

After a really long wait to get through the passport check, I got my bag, put all my belongings on a handy dandy trolley (how HP of me!) and made my way to the bus terminal. I didn't have any issues getting myself on the right bus, getting off at the right stop and walking the couple blocks to the hostel (although I was almost taken out by a street sweeper on my way to the hostel).

Upon arrival I quickly found some classmates and took a nice walk around the neighborhood.

I'm in England! (requiste cheesy England photo)



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Jenny said...

Yay! I love your summer blogs! Love ya!