After traveling Spain for 13 days, we arrived late one evening back in Oxford. Spain had been a wonderful, sunny trip full of new adventures and experiences. By the end of it, though, we were so ready to be in Oxford. Now that I’ve returned and everyone speaks English, there is enough wifi to upload a picture now and then, and I get to use a full-sized toothpaste tube, here are some of my reflections about coming back to Oxford.
1. There are ways that Oxford very much feels like home. We fully unpack our suitcases here and don’t feel like travelers. We have familiar routines and places, and that familiarity is comfortable in the best way.
2. At the same time, returning to Oxford from a long trip makes me miss our home in Abilene more. When I was weary after traveling I wanted my bed, my snuggly cats, the full-sized tube of toothpaste in the brand I like. (Less so on the toothpaste, but you get my drift.)
3. (Spoiled American alert:) I was surprised how dependent I am on virtual connection. We don’t have phones here, so, especially when traveling, I have grown accustomed to having no access during most of a day. If I carry my phone, I use it to take pictures, but those instagrams have to wait until the evening. If we get lost, we use a map or ask for directions. It’s actually been quite wonderful, and I plan on working to be less tied to my phone when we get home. However, I love having the option to iMessage with friends and family, to scroll through instagram to see what people are up to, or to upload pictures to the blog. Being here can be lonely at times, and those connections to people at home are important lifelines. Often in Spain we didn’t have that option — there was wifi, but not enough bandwidth to do much — and I missed it.
4. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: living and traveling with students is such a gift. They spoil our girls (like cleaning their sandy feet off with with their shirts) and they make life fun.