Take a ticket from who you can,
And then drive that train.
-“Railway” by Dispatch
And I have much farther to go
Everything is new and so unpredictable.
-“Much Farther to Go” by Rosie Thomas
Tonight I had dinner with the Bylands, because Sarah was in town and Hannah was back from Oxford. After dinner we watched a slide-show of Hannah and her friend Emily’s trip around the Continent. Like Sarah and I two years ago, after her time at Oxford she took three weeks to tour the Continent. Hannah and Emily took a different route, visited cities we didn’t, but it was amazing to see where our paths did cross. We sat on the same bench outside the town wall in Rothenberg, Germany, watching the sunset and journaling. We stood on the same bridge in Venice, walked through San Marco’s insane plaza. We ate lunch near the same tree in the park by the lake in Geneva and walked down the Champs d’Elysee in Paris.
Afterward, we went to Starbucks to catch up and share our reminisces over tea and mango juice. It was a perfect trio: two sisters, two medievalists, two travel-companions, all overlapping. We understood what it was like being an American in the Oxford system and excelling in it, of what sorts of adventures you have when you’re back-packing across a continent in three weeks (being hit-on in Italy, pushing yourself to impress a terrifying tutor).
I had been apprehensive about my decision to move to Europe for three years. Hannah’s return could not have come with better timing. Reliving my trip through hearing about hers, remembering the UK, seeing pictures of familiar places, have reignited my wanderlust. I can’t wait to go, to be back in my Gothic element of cobblestones and castles, to walk into a pub that will have Strongbow, to buy my groceries from Sainsbury’s and a lunch from Boots. To live in the library and speak in Middle and Old English. And after that, to return to sunny Spain with baguettes and orange juice and a style of architecture I can’t describe but makes me smile in recollection. Not to mention the friends I’ll have in Oxford, the Lake District, Sweden, Germany, and Portugal that I intend to visit. We talked about how I could go to Oxford for my DPhil, and be a Junior Dean at CMRS or SCIO, or I can go to TASIS in Switzerland and teach. The possibilities are endless.