August 11, 2008

Time flies when you're having fun


Salisbury Cathedral.

It's tea time! (again!)

Matt decided to finish up my tea for me...

Me and Kyra, one of the assistants for the French students. Such a doll!

Friday night with Bea (Hungary) and Annemarie (Germany).

In Oxford, Matt and I ate at the Eagle and Child Pub for lunch. This is
where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to meet with their literary
group of friends. They called themselves the "Inklings," and they
met here often while teaching at Oxford to discuss literature,
theology, and philosophy. Matt and I love these authors.

A view of the pub from our table. As we were eating,
a man wearing a traditional Scottish kilt walked by
outside playing the bagpipes! How perfect!

My lunch at the Eagle and Child Pub---a sort-of chicken pot pie.

A picture of ourselves at the pub, to document the moment.
Can you tell by my over-abundance of photos of this event
that we were so excited to be at the watering hole of some of our
most favorite authors?

St. Magdalen's church in Oxford.

Under our umbrella, trying to stay as dry as we could!

The University of Oxford's church with the Divinity School in the background.

A lovely view.

Christ Church College of Oxford. This is probably
the most famous of Oxford's colleges. Some scenes from
a few of the "Harry Potter" movies were also filmed here.
(I know, I know...I'm a dork!)

The clouds and the rain didn't hinder the beauty of Oxford.

More of Christ Church College.

Matt and me at the end of our day in Oxford.

Today was sad for me because Matt left to go home. I took him to the bus station and he left at 8:00am. However, this time it wasn't nearly as hard saying goodbye because I will see Matt again in only 10 days. Can you believe it? I only have 10 days left here in England!!! I'm so thankful that Matt was able to come here and share in my experiences. He met some of the wonderful people that I've been blessed to become friends with. I'm afraid it was probably more enjoyable for me to have Matt here than it was for him to be here, only because he had to "tag along" with me as I did everything that goes along with this job, and I know he got bored sometimes. He helped me a lot with work, especially at the BBQs! I know the students really enjoyed getting to know him as well as other staff members. Today, I received so many comments from people expressing how much they liked Matt. I'm not surprised one bit! :)

We stayed very busy this past week and weekend. We took about 50 students to the park to play volleyball on Monday evening but we were lucky that on Tuesday evening, bad weather cancelled our activity, so we had the evening to ourselves. Wednesday, we did a half-day excursion to Stonehenge and Salisbury. Matt's been to Stonehenge before but not Salisbury. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time in Salisbury as it was only a half-day excursion, but we had a chance to wander through the famous Cathedral (built in the 1200's) and then have some tea. On Thursday evening, we took some students to the cinema and Friday evening was, of course, a BBQ!

Our excursion on Saturday was to Oxford and it was Matt's first time visiting the city. We had some lovely English weather to complement our excursion---lots and lots of rain and wind. After we arrived, I took students on a walking tour of the city, giving bits of history and commentary as we went along....."This is the Bodelian Library, which was started in 1602 and contains over 6 million books...blah...blah...blah." At least the students seemed interested in what I was telling them! The students spent most of the day exploring the city on their own, so Matt and I were able to be alone for the remainder of the day, which was wonderful. We began by searching for the Eagle and Child Pub. We wanted to eat lunch there since this is where some of our favourite authors (Lewis and Tolkien) used to spend their time. The pub was full of character as it dates from the 1600's. The food was delicious and the pub was relatively quiet, which made it all the more enjoyable.

We spent some time in the Ashmolean Museum (England's oldest public museum) where I was mesmerized by amazing Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts collected by past Oxford University archaeologists. We had tea in the museum's café and then we spent the afternoon wandering the rest of Oxford. At the end of the day, we found a bookshop nestled in the back alleyway of a street. I love buying books, and the older the better. There were so many amazing books in the shop, but I was able to maintain my self control. I was really drooling over a series of four books, written in French, costing 100 pounds each---books about the life of St. Marie Thérèse dating from the 1860's. I'm obviously not the least bit Catholic, but I really find the writings of this girl (she died at age 24) inspirational. Anyway, maybe someday I can come back and buy the books, if they're still there.

Matt then waited for me at our final stop, "The Alice Shop." Lewis Carroll, the author of the children's story "Alice in Wonderland," taught mathematics as Christ Church college (which is located just across the street from the shop) for many years. Carroll wrote the story for a real girl he knew named Alice. The Alice Shop used to be a general store where the real-life Alice shopped as a little girl. Now the shop sells every kind of Alice in Wonderland memorabilia imaginable. It's really an adorable shop!

On Sunday, Matt and I slept in, or as the English would say, "we had a lie-in." Then Jane took us out to lunch, her treat, to get a traditional English roast dinner. It was delicious! Jane is phenomenal and probably one of the most self-less and giving persons I have ever known.

Now I am trying to focus on enjoying my last 10 days here. I still can't believe the end is so near, but I knew the time would fly past, as it always does. It has been absolutely incredible here in England. I'm off to add onto the priceless memories I've made here, as I try to make the most of my remaining time here. So much to do, so little time! Ah, such is life.


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