Oxford and last jamborees

Well, it’s odd to sit here right now and think that my parents will be with me in two days. Where did the 8 months go? I truly don’t understand how they went by so quickly, but I am hugely thankful that they were so full of friendship, exploration and amazing experiences.

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Last week, I had the great privelege of being able to connect with my high school friend, Kittie, in Dublin! She and her parents had wanted to see the Emerald Isle, and knowing I was here, they planned a trip. So, last Wednesday, I went down to Dublin to spend the day with my dear chum. We had a blast viewing old paintings in the Chester Beatty Library, walking the streets of Temple Bar, eating at The Fumbally Cafe and befriending a pigeon in St. Stephen’s Green. I felt so refreshed after that time of catching up. If you want to read about (and see more pictures) from our day, you can actually visit Kittie’s blog here. If you like poetry, you’ll also be able to read some of my work (regarding the pigeon).

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On Thursday afternoon, I caught up with Krystyn over coffee, then left for Belfast with Fiona. Early the next morning, we headed to Belfast International to catch our flight to Birmingham. The train ride from Birmingham to Oxford was simply stunning. We sat comfortably while passing verdant grassy fields dotted by brilliant patches of yellow gorse.

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When we finally arrived at quarter past eleven, we connected with Logan, a friend of mine from high school. As a masters student at Oxford, he was able to give us a personal tour of many of the colleges, and teach us the rich religious and educational history of Oxford. He was able to give us access to a very elite library which is part of a college accepting only eight students annually!

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Fiona and I were thrilled to visit C.S. Lewis’ college, Magdalene College, which had stunningly kept grounds. We then visited the equally beautiful, but slightly more exotic botanic gardens. We saw rice, papyrus, orchids, cacti and many other lovely plants.

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After a cream tea, we had a ball learning to punt under Logan’s faithful instruction. It was difficult at first, but Fiona and I eventually got the hang of it and propelled and steered the boat with finesse. For dinner, we ate at a pub called “Eagle & Child,” often patronized by Lewis, Tolkien and their literary group “The Inklings.” We went more for this reason than the food. The latter was fine, but what I eventually ended up ordering was my 6th choice…the restaurant was out of ingredients for the first five meals I requested! Afterwards, we enjoying playing Settlers of Catan, a new favorite game of mine.

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On Saturday, I started the day early with a run along the Oxford Canal. Logan had told me about a meadow at the end of it where C.S. Lewis and Tolkien often walked together. It was thrilling to be where they once were! Fiona and I did some shopping, visited covered markets, went to a food festival, toured a castle and went to an evensong service at Magdalene.

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Sunday broke with steady rain, which gradually developed into sun. This change in forecast was much appreciated as Logan, Fiona and I were attending “Love Oxford 2015” – a biannual church event put on by all the evangelical churches in the city. It was a fabulous time of worship, testimony and solid teaching. How blessed we were to be in Oxford on that particular Sunday!

I would highly recommend visiting Oxford if you ever get the chance 🙂

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