I waited for this moment. Every unfavorable circumstance I faced was attributed to the fact that I wasn't at Oxford yet. From the smallest things like having no AC during the hottest days of the year in London (what a coincidence), to larger inconveniences such as riding the train nearly an hour a day to and from class... I found comfort in the fact that it was all temporary. I could imagine how crazy I looked to other pedestrians as I'd power walk around town saying quite loudly to myself "just three weeks, Timaira. Three!" Itching with anticipation, I'd reread course syllabi and daydream about my success in tutorials. But suddenly, I found myself in a whirlwind, incapable of distinguishing one day from another. As time approached for me to head for Oxford, I found myself packing away the love I grew for London—a place I didn't initially want to give a second chance.
I'd been to London before, in June of 2022. While it was only for a few days, the trip was enough of an introduction to London for me. There were other destinations in the European tour that swept me away, especially Switzerland, and I was so sure that I'd study there the following year. But in November, I discovered the Oxford program at IES Abroad. Of course, I'd heard of Oxford before, but I never thought too much of it in the context of it being an academic institution. I more so viewed as "that place that has its own dictionary" and conducts research. As I searched through all of the programs, I kept finding myself back on Oxford. So I applied. Needless to say, I was accepted. Even though I could write an entire memoir on the difficulties of Oxford course approvals at my home institution, I will save you from that (and myself from the PTSD). Anyway, I took the summer to prepare myself, and then finally ended up in London for the first part of my program.
It was almost nothing like I'd expected--hot weather, overcrowding, an almost "DC-esque" feel. Considering the fact that my home institution is in DC, I was disappointed that I left one situation to walk into another that mirrored it closely. I wanted a break from the city, and my brief visit the previous year led me to believe that London was a calmer, picturesque city that I could "lay low" in. Obviously, I was wrong. And to be quite honest, I closed my mind and found every reason to dislike London while I was there. There were things that I knew would be the case, such as missing my family's cooking and the great food options available back in Chicago, and the access to fresh ingredients and large kitchen spaces in DC. But when I actually started living through it, I amplified my dissatisfaction.
As time progressed, though, London had me swooning over its charm and quirkiness. The wave of dread I felt in the beginning when I had to take the train was gone, I found joy in strolling around campus hearing people with adorable accents curse like sailors, and I no longer was suffocated by the amount of people around. I fell in love.
But now it is time to go. As I take my first steps into Oxford, I am promising to not make the same mistake again. I will not take this major blessing for granted, because it so easily could've never happened. Oxford's intensity causes me to run at such a fast pace. But even though I am blindfolded, I am committed to the unknown... willing and ready to have an experience that'll be shared with the world.
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I am Timaira Mya Hinton, a lady of many passions and missions to fulfill. Defined by the carousel of my mind, I am embarking on the journey of life that is saturated with adventures, love, writing, violin, and (of course) the Sims.