Monday, July 29, 2013

I found my heart in Oxford: part one

It started as innocuous as an early morning phone call to the taxi company—being car less in England has yet to dismay my travel plans. With my hair still in a bun, wet from my ‘night before’ travel routine I dress and wait the 10 minute eternity for a car to show up. There is a car honk and I say goodbye to my host.

“Have a great day in my old stomping ground,” he said as I wave and run out the door. I am too excited. It’s Oxford. I get to go to Oxford.

The drive to the bus station is short but filled with conversation. I’m overflowing with glee. “It’s a beautiful day,” I say. “I hope the weather holds,” I say. The cab drivers smiles and asks where I’m from and an obligatory conversation of why are you here begins.

“Where are you off to today?” the man asks in a strong Ukrainian accent.


“What’s in Oxford?”


“Oh? What kind of research?”

“I’m an artist—I’m researching the town for a comic book I’m working on.”

With that simple statement his interest peaks. There is a barrage of questions thrown in my direction. All of which I answer until we turn into the National Express Coachway terminal. We exchange coins, I give five pounds and he returns fifty pence and we say our goodbyes. My ticket is printed and I’m ready to hop on the bus, only, I’m entirely too early. I take a seat in the airport style coachway. Apparently it was remodelled just before I moved to England. Everything is still new and shiny. People seated in birch and steel, modern moulded semi-uncomfortable chairs.

Putting in my headphones, I turn on Spotify and bounce my black leather and fur lined boot to the beat. Looking at my phone a whole three minutes had passed.  I check into Foursquare and tweet out, “I’m going on an adventure—Bilbo style!” Friends tweet me back. The X5 with Cambridge on the side of the bus rolls in, I know the bus going in the opposite direction to Oxford is not far behind. From within my bright mustard yellow purse I withdraw a small mirror and red lip stain. A little girl with braided pigtails looks up at me. She came from nowhere. I smile. She points to her lips with adorable petite fingers. I laugh, “You want me to put lipstick on you?”

The little girl nods and her pigtails bounce. I laugh, “I don’t think your mom would like that.” She points to her lips more. I glance up to see my bus pull in. “I’m sorry sweetie, I’ve got to go. My bus is here.” And with all of the energy a toddler can have she bounded away towards her mum.

I step on the bus, feeling like that toddler, full of energy and a sense of wonder. I’m going to Oxford! Finding a seat, I settle in and send a text:

I’m on the bus! See you in a few hours!

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