2.5 months and I think I’m finally ready to utter those words. I left Oxford mid-September for a new job and life in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Closer to home but not home.
The absence of posts can be attributed to a crazy last month in Oxford full of finishing up the dissertation, last trips to London and last nights out with friends. And then a very quick transition, turnaround and move to Tennessee.
On Sept. 13 I caught a bus at dawn to Heathrow, looking out the window as two of my favorite people in Oxford – Taz and Jacob – waved goodbye from the sidewalk on St. Clement’s St. Oxford was getting colder with weather that reminded me of the week I arrived, exactly one year before.
One year spent in Oxford and I am forever changed.
My sister’s friend once told her that you have to mourn everything in life. I couldn’t agree more. For me, the mourning usually takes time to set in. And in the case of Oxford, it took several weeks before I even realized I had left. For good. I like to remember lots of things about it.
I remember zipping up my jacket against the cold before a long cycle home. I remember turning on my iPod for a leisurely walk to frequented places: Melissa’s house, St. Aldate’s, the Tonge building at Brookes, the Cowley Tesco and, of course, Starbucks on High St. I remember the nightly ritual of locking up my bike in the backyard and walking into my house on Iffley Road. I remember times in the Badgers Walk house with Lindsay and Johnna when Oxford was still new and scary. I remember the way Magdalen Bridge looked at night and after it rained. I remember the mojitos at Kazbar and days I spent alone to study and wander. I remember sitting with Taz and Kate in South Parks on what must have been the hottest day of the summer. I remember an evening in another park, wearing a white T-shirt and knowing for the first time that I may have a definitive date for leaving Oxford. I remember lying on a blanket outside on a clear night listening to Tess and Melissa and Pattie laugh until I realized this city had begun to feel like home.
I remember so much more. But have returned to the familiar in a country that I also love. It is busier. There are more cars. Bigger grocery stores and the whole twitter thing I’m trying to figure out (@andrealucado, just fyi). Life is faster here, and I can’t ride a bicycle to get around, but man things are convenient!
Despite the comforts of my homeland, I think a part of me remains on Iffley Road and in City centre and at St. Aldates. Oxford was a truly beautiful year and will remain in my mind as such.
So farewell for now and may I return sooner than expected.