So, I’ve been here in Cambridge for about 2 weeks now. It has definitely had it’s ups and downs but I’ve made it this far. There are a lot of things about this place that get me excited like the community, classes, and sight-seeing. And there are some things that have stressed me out beyond belief. But I will start off with the good.
The people here are WONDERFUL. Dr. Lumley has been extremely helpful. Whenever I have a question she is totally open to answer it. In fact everyone here is willing to talk to me about anything. There are 8 of us new students from America, so it has been nice knowing there are other people who are in the same boat as me. The students who have been here for months already, or even years, are darling. The community feel and Christ-focused atmosphere is a great blessing and comfort. There is chapel every weekday and Sunday service on every Sunday. Much to everyone’s convenience, the church is right across a narrow street from Luther Hall [the place I sleep and eat and stuff, yeah]. So the spiritual life here is great. Most of the people here are here to study theology [although there are some students who are Theater, History, or English majors who are making this work]. So it’s wonderful that the people here are serious in their faith.
I’m taking classes this semester that I’m excited about. The way school is done here is different, but not too different. You just need a good amount of self motivation. We typically meet once per week at the Westfield House per class. There, a tutor [professor really] will teach and have discussions with the group [the largest size class is 10 people]. Outside of class we are expected to do readings upon readings and research. Like I said, self motivation is key. As a student it is also recommended that I go to the Divinity Faculty to sit in on lectures for enrichment [faculty means college, much like in America we would have the college of business, they would call it the business faculty]. Anyways, the Divinity faculty is one of the thirty-two colleges of Cambridge University. The few that I have gone to so far have been really interesting. The professor comes in and starts lecturing until the hour is up and then everyone leaves. So there’s no personal interaction really. The Divinity Faculty is about a 25 minute walk away. Some students here have bikes [which impresses me because the roads are backwards here, I pray no one dies].
So far sight-seeing has been kept to a minimum for reason which I will explain later. But the amount that I have done has been beautiful. The City Centre of Cambridge is a unique place. There are pubs and stores, colleges and chapels, and there are people riding bikes. Everywhere. Like they say St. Paul, MN is a biking city. That’s nothing compared to the thousands of bikes here. It’s ridiculous. Pretty great. But ridiculous. The general atmosphere here has honestly felt like a dream and a Dr. Seuss book. Every building is carefully constructed and everything has it’s own cute little place in the world. The sidewalks and streets are generally narrow and the buildings are smaller. I feel like a giant sometimes. The American life value “bigger is better” keeps popping into my mind. Oh America… Like I said, it seems like everything has it’s place. There is a street nearby with a row of houses and each one of them looks like they were built to look just like they do now. There’s a bike there, a pathway here, and little bush over there and it looks like pure perfection. Sometimes it drives me nuts.
Now for misfortunes [which I share here to scare off those prospective students, just kidding, but really, things to look out for and might possibly expect].
My flight to London from Minneapolis was quite the experience. There was a mishap before the flight and it ended up with me riding a coolio cart thing through the airport and running onto the plane at practically the last second. But thank the Lord I made it. It all went smoothly from there, I took a bus to Cambridge and then got on a taxi to the Westfield House and was welcomed warmly by the people, la dee da. But in the course of the mishap, I was unable to check one of my suitcases. My parents had to mail it to me, which it didn’t come until two days ago, and the British postal service is frustrating to say the least. But I have clean clothes now! Hooray!
Another misfortune came about because my email must have been too complicated to spell or something. This resulted in 5 days with no Wifi, no communication with my family, no life pretty much [cuz yeah facebook… kidding, again]. My roommate let me use her Wifi to let my family and my fiance know that I wasn’t dead yet. So that was a blessing. But after those five days, ah! Wifi never felt so good.
Three days ago I got dreadfully ill. Like 24 hour fever and homesickness all in one. I missed all of my one class that day. I stared at a wall for so long. 5 hours too long. But by that time family and friends and fiance were finally awake for me to talk to. Technology is a wonderful thing. But not six-hour time differences. Jet lag was a struggle by the way. Sleeeeep. It took about a week to get back to normal.
The weather here is splendid. I guess any whether that doesn’t involve snow is wonderful to me. Right now it’s in the thirties [F], but it never gets below freezing. Over all I am enjoying myself. I expected there to be more of a culture shock, but living in a house of mostly Americans gives a large comfort bubble. Which is both good and bad. But there are many opportunities to burst out of it and do fun things in the town like Evensong and drinking legal alcohol at a pub [no worries, all in moderation of course]. Photos are below.
I think that’s enough rambling for one blog post. More rambles to come [with pictures of Luther Hall too]. In the meantime, God Bless you!