School Year Abroad: Reflection

I haven’t written a lot about my experience here over the past nine months. I’ve had a lot of great times! I’ve been extremely lucky to go for my Masters degree at Oxford Brookes University, and I feel even luckier to have met the people I’ve come into contact with. I’ve read some excellent fiction and I feel that I’ve really grown as a writer.

Now that I’ll be flying home in a few days, I think it would be easy to think that I haven’t done a lot and that there’s always more that I could be doing to better myself and to be more adventurous.

However, at the risk of waxing poetic, I’d like to look back on some of the things I’ve done here.

Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds. This is first on the list because it’s been a ‘To-Do’ since the first time I came here in 2015! I spent the day in Shakespeare’s hometown on a very rainy day, but I managed to pick up some deliciously tasty chocolate tea. A very cool trip.

Here I am looking through the Rollright Stones near the Cotswolds!

Ashmolean Rooftop Cafe. In one of my stay’s most memorable moments, we had a hen party for my dear friend Vicky at the Ashmolean Rooftop Cafe. High tea was scrumptious and almost too filling – after tea we went to the Varsity Club which is a rooftop bar that overlooks the city. It was cold outside but our hearts were warm. So happy for Vicky, and I was really glad to spend the day just for her!

The view from the Ashmolean Rooftop Cafe. Tea was delicious!

Ashmolean Museum (solo art trip) I visited the Ashmolean again about a week or so ago to draw in my sketchbook and get some inspiration. It was also a great way to take a breather from my portfolio and just absorb a whole lot of culture!

Oxford Botanic Gardens. One of my absolute favorite places in the city (if not my absolute favorite) is the Oxford Botanic Gardens. Beautiful, informative, and relaxing; I cannot recommend it highly enough!

On one of my frequent stops at Oxford Botanic Gardens’ greenhouses

Tintern Abbey/Cardiff. This was definitely a highlight, so much so that I made a short video about my experience seeing Tintern Abbey. You can watch the poetry video here. I also went to a museum in Cardiff and remembered how much I loved museums! There was a portrait of a young boy in a bath that moved me to tears. In that moment, I really saw the full spectrum of what art can do. Very cool.

Lots and LOTS of dumplings at Gloucester Green Market. Vicky and I ended up going almost weekly in the second semester of our time here to a vendor at Gloucester Green Market who sold delicious dumplings and steamed buns. I could hardly stand how tasty they were! I highly recommend going.

Cafes. Ah, what is a writer without their caffeine fix?! I really loved going to Queen’s Lane Coffee House and George Street Social with friends to talk craft and discuss our writing. (Special shout-out here to Sarah who basically changed the trajectory of my major project in one meeting by showing me that I should write what I want to write!!) Queen’s Lane Coffee House is the oldest coffee house in Europe, if you can believe it — They also have the best vanilla chai latte in the city (in my humble opinion!)

November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night). I was beyond lucky to meet up with my cousin for Guy Fawkes night! This was in November so we’re definitely way out of order now, LOL. But it was a very cool experience and seeing the bonfire ignite was something I’ll never forget!

Guy Fawkes Night (my silhouette in front of the bonfire)

Sis Visit ❤ When I flew back to Oxford after Christmas break, I was not alone!! My sister stayed with me for about a week and I have to say, it was everything I could have hoped for. I was so happy to host her and a friend – and we were even able to go into London for a day to see our cousin! Even better!

London trip!

First snow in Oxford. On the first of February, we woke up to snow! Vicky and I immediately ran out into the elements to take pictures and to embrace the chill. So glad we did, it was so beautiful out as you can see from the picture and really memorable.

Headington Hill Park by my flat!

Some other things I did worth mentioning: got to see not one but TWO shows at the theater in Oxford with Vicky, met up with a long distance friend in London (at long laaaaast!), sang an original song in the Fortune Singer’s concert and so much more… I want to give endless shout-outs to Sarah and Ella and other workshop friends for all their help in making me the writer I am today! And shout out to my professors for pushing me!

I don’t know if anyone made it to the bottom of this ridiculously long post, LOL. But thank you if you did! These memories are ones I will cherish forever, and I’m doing my best to appreciate the time I’ve had here. Cheers!

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