A wave of jealousy swept me up and down the streets of Oxford.
Who are these young people, dressed in their exam robes, carrying backpacks and riding bicycles in and out of these historic colleges with their strange traditions like throwing hot pennies at children?
Who are these kids who get to walk up and down the stairs I saw in Harry Potter, and sit outside in vine-covered courtyards to study their books?
Who are these young adults eating lunch and ice cream next to us in a room from 1360?
Like a small child I whine, “it’s not fair!!!!”
Walking down streets paved with stones and rounded rocks (must be a bumpy bike ride – serves them right!), past fountains filled with waterlilies, and into historic Christ Church College, we met the witty and crazy smart verger who took us right into the cathedral for our own mini lecture. Not the best auditory learner, this time I soaked up every word, determined to take this snippet of an opportunity to feel like a student at Oxford.
At Lincoln College, the steward told us strange (and well, mean) stories of college traditions, cue the hot pennies and ivy-poisoned free beer. The “town vs gown” feuds of students and townspeople, rotten egg and tomato throwing, mobs and gates and murder…bizarre and real! And these young whipper snappers get to go to school here, a part of this history and learning and place!
Oh the jealousy! Oh the beauty and history of the place! I had one moment of fiendish pride when a girl asked me for directions. But, alas, I was only a fellow visitor, not a student. My student days have passed, and Oxford is no option.