Monday, August 17, 2009

Home in Oregon!

I arrived home yesterday. I was pretty tired as I didn't sleep much on the plane and didn't sleep much at my hotel at Heathrow. I think I figured out that I probably hadn't slept more than about 60 min. at a time over a 38 hour stretch. Not a good thing when you have cancer, when your need for restorative sleep is greatest.

I landed about noon at PDX, then we picked up Eddie at 2pm and was at my house by 3:45pm, after grabbing a bite to eat. I unpacked quickly, took a shower and brushed my teeth, and went immediately into my pj's. I laid around for a couple of hours, dozing off, and then fell asleep about 6:30pm. I woke up about 8:45pm and was awake about an hour, resting, and went back to sleep. Through the night, I woke up perhaps three times (from 10pm to 7am), but I feel mostly rested and normal.

My impressions of Oxford? Well, I certainly like it better than London, where there are way too many people rushing around. I'll go on the record as officially strongly disliking big cities. Oxford seems more manageable especially when you get away from central Oxford and there aren't as many people. My colleague, Tom, and his family live a little bit north of the central part of the city. I think it took about 20 min or so to walk to his house. Coincidentally, his family just moved to Kingston Road, a fact his 6-year-old son found interesting. We also discovered that Tom and I share the same birthday - he's exactly one year older than me. But I digress.

Central Oxford is very busy - with buses going by all the time (buses take off from Oxford to Heathrow every 30 min) and people walking all over the place on the sidewalks. Sidewalks are relatively small, with barely enough room for two people. I think that, over time, I would start to feel claustrophobic. I do, however, like the walk-ability of the place.

Oxford's colleges are scattered around the town - that system is quite interesting, but I am still not entirely clear on it. It was cool to see the old stone buildings and there's an old castle there as well. You can see the gardens of various colleges - and I glimpsed the botanical garden that Cat, Eddie, and I toured around four years ago.

Something that really struck me when I lived in London four years ago and I was reminded of this trip was just how commercial England is. The stereotype of America is how materialistic and capitalistic we are; however, I find England to be much more capitalistic than we are. There are ads absolutely everywhere - it's a very commercial place. And, the differences between the haves and have-nots seem pronounced as well. I think what America is guilty of is the fact that what we have is BIG - bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger stores. But the selling and marketing of things is so much more over there. I also find it to be dirty over there.

I do like the pubs, though, and hanging out in these old buildings and talking with colleagues. In moderation, though, of course! Pub food is pretty greasy and there isn't a lot of flavor. I found a cafe that had healthy salads and sandwiches that were quite nice.

Anyway, it's time for me to start my day. I'll write a post later and share some of my pics!


Carver said...

I'm glad your trip went well. I visited Oxford in 1974 but I fear I don't remember much.

Liz Kreger said...

Welcome home, Dee. Sounds like you had quite a whirlwind trip. I've never been to England, so your observations are very interesting. I'd love to see London, but then, I like cities. The history alone would keep me enthralled.

I was just wondering whether you liked the food when I got to that part. LOL. I'd heard it was pretty dismal.

Dee said...

Hi you two,
Thanks for visiting - I hope to post photos soon. Not sure that my photos would jog your memory, Carver, since I didn't take very many of them!

Liz, you would absolutely love it, then, if you like cities. I always feel claustrophobic, though. Too many people, too much rushing around. I hope you can visit someday!