A week ago, I was getting on the bus to go to the airport...one difference between here and there is that the time seems to have gone much slower. It feels like months since I've been in Oxford, and yet somehow like I was there just yesterday.
So how's the adjusting? Number one difference is that there is not a whole lot of people here. It's a little bit of a shock to go from 40 friends to just family. I'm reverting to my more introverted self, I suppose, which is nice in someways and not so nice in others. I was happily surprised to learn in Oxford that a different place without any expectations of my personality creates an opportunity for becoming more outgoing even though I'm not usually. Coming back here, it's almost like my subconscious knows that everyone here knows me as a strong introvert, so that's it's been behaving. However, it's great to have a little quiet too...since there aren't friends all the time here, I don't feel like I'm missing out on something if I just decide to hole up in my room and read for several hours for fun. (I've just finished Persuasion by Jane Austen, and The Danger Box by Blue Balliet...both so wonderful!)
There are many things I miss about Oxford. First and foremost, the people! But secondly,
* Walking. I can walk into town, but it's not much more than a 20 minute walk, and everywhere I can walk to kind of has to involve spending money, of which I have diddly-squat.
*Gas hobs. I never realized how quick they are! I am having to relearn how to make fried eggs on an electric stove.
*Cheap GOOD shortbread cookies. Seriously USA, why do you have to make these things so expensive?
* Pound coins. I love those things.
*Academic talk on every subject imaginable.
*Food group, and along with that, believe it or not, the Kitchen Dance. It was such fun to cook with a bunch of people in the kitchen, singing along to the iPod, or just belting out Christmas carols. (O Holy Night and The Twelve Days of Christmas in particular!)
*Movie nights, whether Hornblower or Foyle's War, or some obscure, deep film, I miss all gathering in the living room and squashing on couches in blankets. Also, that tin of chocolates...the brazilian dreams or whatever they were were the best. Red wrapper with yellow on the tips.
And many many more things. But at the same time, home has been great. I didn't realize how much I missed my family until I arrived and it felt like I never left. I also have the great blessing of coming from a family who has traveled, and one that is used to family members leaving and going somewhere new and then coming back. They know how to support those of us who have gone 'there and back again,' and that has made it a great homecoming. They don't mind hearing tons of stories about Oxford, or my friends there. It's hard to help people understand exactly what it was like, but I'm lucky to have people that genuinely want to try to understand. I think for the first month of being back, I am going to have to get out my Oxford 'scarf' of memories quite often, to make sure that it's still there, that I still remember, and to reassure myself of its existence, but I foresee that in the future I will gradually be able to let it rest comfortably in a pocket in my heart, where I know that it's there and can take it out when I need it, but can just let it be what it is. That's my hope anyway.
Oh yes... MERRY CHRISTMAS! God is with us, isn't that fantastic?
here's a link to a paper by a philosophy prof from Messiah, which has to do with the significance of the incarnation in relation to atonement theory. It made me think a lot when I read it, and though it's not exactly 'Christmas-y,' perhaps a few will find it interesting: http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/Philosophical%20Theology/Atonement/Atone.htm
The most recent version of the paper is the first link, I believe.
Over and out,