JWB Blogger Shares The Story Of Her Course With Oxford University Through Her Velvet Eyes
- IWB Post
- July 21, 2016
JWB’s Avantika Singhal was recently at Oxford University for a Summer Creative Writing course. Read her journey on campus, and emotional transition that she goes through during her stay in London, before she moves to the USA for her higher studies.
Last night, sleep eluded me successfully.
I twisted and turned in bed, and my anxiety rose. My only thought was –“Why am I doing this? Why am I going to a foreign country for 15 days, away from my family?”
My inner voice very confidently replied-“Because you love challenges.”
There are only rare occasions when my room is in an immaculate chaos, and this was one of the occasions. Things had been flung all around the room, ready to be put into my suitcase. (My suitcase is bigger than that bulldog of yours which you named Fluffy by the way)
If you look inside my suitcase, it is filled with the gentleness my mother used to put all the home cooked Indian food. You will also see my father’s strictness go into the heavy bag as he explained how I ought to use the Grand British Pound.
Other than that, I had lots of cozy clothes in my suitcase but the occasional formal one piece dress falling just above the knee always rose up and tempted me.
Probably, the hardest thing I had to do was to part from my parents, Papa being the easily sentimental and coaxed into foolish tears very fast. It would be like losing a piece of my heart as they would exit my room.
It was hard, and no one said it would be easy.
My mother was so incredibly excited at my return that she joked about having trumpets and garlands at the airport when I landed.
I already wrote a 42 line poem as it was given to us as part of the pre-meeting assignment. We had to choose from an array of pictures and write a poem based on that picture. I named my poem ‘Renovatio’. It translates to ‘rebirth’ in Latin.
My tutor, Mrs. Camilla already replied with a very friendly and positive email, saying that I had submitted my work on time.
Nevertheless, studying at Oxford University and staying on the campus of Christ Church was a privilege in itself and I was ready to enrich every moment with worthwhile experiences and cherished memories.
The journey before going was also very oppressive, what with the UK Visa coming in two days before actually embarking on the journey. It will be safe to disclose the fact that my mother jumped with excitement and shouted with euphoria as the postman came with all our visas and passports in his hands.
I didn’t see his facial expressions, but I am certain he was amused. VERY amused.
But, all is well that ends well.
In order to catch our flight to London, we had to travel for six hours to Delhi and boy; the bus ride was nothing but adventurous. Rain poured down, and thunder illuminated the sky throughout but thankfully, we made it to the airport in one piece and on time. Mom & Dad were getting worried, but I take credit for calming them down.
Throughout my school life, I was Negative Nelly but this time, I was having none of that negativity. Thus, phrases like “Believe in God, he is looking out for us.” And “Think positive and positive things will happen.” were effortlessly releasing from my mouth.
As we made it out of Heathrow airport after a 9-hour long flight, we were taken to our hotel that would be home to Mom Dad for eight days and me, only for one day as the very next day (3rd July) I would be going to Oxford to start my summer course.
The driver that took us to the hotel was just what we needed. Talkative. Friendly. Intelligent. He told us so much about London and its history, from the building infrastructure to the billionaires living in the country.
And of course, I had to butt in and mention Brexit!
I knew what to expect when travelling to London. I knew the people would be welcoming and accepting and what with the technological advances and broad-minded thinking, I would have no problem living there for two weeks.
Anyway, if you are even remotely interested in joining me on my Oxford Summer School expedition, please feel free to do so virtually, of course.
My father was getting so emotional that even when we all were not hungry, he insisted on having ice cream across the road with us- a farewell meal.
Travelling is also an art that is hard to master. That is what we all learned from this trip.