After what seemed like a never ending process, in reality it was years in the making, I arrived at Oxford University today to began my 14-day quarantine. In these COVID times, nothing is easy, but a nearly empty flight from Chicago to London was a welcomed benefit. How did I reserve an entire row to myself? I didn’t, there were only 75 people on the plane so it was nice and quiet and I could spread out.
After landing, I basically walked through security and customs, the airports are empty, to find a well dressed Britt holding a sign with my name on it. I found that somewhat satisfying after a nearly eight hour flight. So, off we went to beautiful Oxford. We talked about the sites, the people, the school, and history as my new home rolled past my widow.
I was last in Oxford about four years ago when James and I, we were dating at the time, rented a narrow boat and traveled south on the Oxford English Canal. If you are ever looking for a new adventure, I highly recommend trying one. It was fairly reasonably priced, and took us through some unforgettable country, small towns, and afforded us the opportunity to see real people away from the tourists. When in Oxford for the day, we toured the Oxford English Press and walked the streets of this center of learning and culture. I think I read somewhere that Oxford was founded when the Inca Empire was still in existence which, when you think about it, is somewhat mind blowing.
The whole ride to the Stonemason’s House, where I will be living as a St. Cross College Master’s candidate, was exciting. Maybe it was being able to breath fresh air on the car ride? Yes, I still had my mask on. Or maybe it was knowing that all my planning, all the tears, all the money and investment, all the stress, all the research and writing FINALLY paid off.
I’d like to think that was it, but it could be the five hours of sleep I’ve had over the past 48 hours. Regardless of why, I was happy and satisfied for the first time in a very long time, but then I had the sad realization that my Oxford adventure was coming to a screeching halt when the door closed to my small flat so I could self-isolate fourteen days. It’s ironic that I went from a 950 square foot row home, to my parent’s basement, to a room and bathroom that is about as big as a small one car garage.
(Now if one looks closely, they will see that my bed is not made and there is a sheet hanging off the bathroom door, good eye, and more on this later.)
After processing what was happening and where I was, I began to unpack and plan how I would arrange the items I brought with me. In true Cameron fashion, pun intended, more boxes will soon be here to further fill up my little room, but that is a storage challenge for another day. Today, I wanted to unpack and wash the sheets I pre-ordered and make my bed for a well deserved sleep. So, I went to the kitchen to fill the washer/dryer with a load, and that is when I saw the Indesit IWME 147, my new nemesis.
I like to think of myself as a moderately savvy person, but this washer/dryer combo may in fact hate me. I watched a YouTube video to understand the controls, I’ve accidentally restarted it three times so it has re-washed what I just dried, and for whatever reason I can’t get it to complete the drying cycle and unlock.
So, that is why my sheets are not on my bed, I have a duvet hanging on my bathroom door — as a side note, I never wanted a duvet, but it came with the set that I ordered through the college so I would have something to sleep on tonight, and as I type this my eyes are sticking to the back of my head from exhaustion and that tumble drying monster wont open up so I can rescue my fitted sheet! I’m sure there will be dozens and dozens of learning opportunities like this over the next few months, but for now my educational experience learning learning how to operate a washer/dryer in a foreign country.