Skip to main content

Here in Hanover

Notes From Oxford: Part 1

Nov 10, 2016 05:41PM, Published by Victoria Pipas, Categories: Life+Leisure, Today City+School, Travel, Education


Victoria Pipas 5th from Left Top Row



Victoria Pipas, a college student at Middleury College, is spending the year abroad. She has written for our publication for many years and we just love her. This is Part 1 of her journey so far.

We’ve all seen Hogwarts on the screen and fancied ourselves a Harry, Hermione, or Ron. Many of us have wished for an owl to arrive bearing a letter of acceptance to the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And anyone who has read Shelley, Hopkins, Tolkien, Lewis, Wilde, or any of the other authors from the long list of those who have roamed Oxford’s streets, halls, bookshops, and pubs will immediately feel the electric current of the ages running through the walls of the old stone buildings here. So when I arrive at Lincoln College in Oxford, I am immediately swept up in a rush of fluttering robes, stacks of books, history, and magic.

After being dropped off by bus in the city center, I pull my two large suitcases—laden with all the books I couldn’t bear to leave at home—down several cobbled streets to the front grove of Lincoln College. I am given a key to Room 4 on Staircase 2, which turns out to be two flights of narrow, wooden steps winding upwards to the top floor. Pigeons roost on my two windowsills, and I can hear the organ scholar practicing from the college chapel each afternoon. It already feels like home.

The first week, also known as “Fresher’s week,” is a blur of orientation pamphlets, library inductions (yes, more than one), hidden nooks and crannies to be discovered, and afternoon welfare tea. As an English student here, I am proud to be officially inducted into the world-famous Bodleian Library, where I will later find myself searching the endless stacks for particular books on Renaissance prose or Old English translation. Above the doorway of one entrance to the library is an open book with a Greek inscription that reads: “They found Him sitting among Doctors,” meaning teachers. For me, a voracious student but not a particularly religious one, this phrase signifies the spiritual gravity that we experience in places of enlightened teaching. Here I am standing in the doorway.

The weeks since my arrival have offered unexpected delights as well as moments of intense contemplation. Some of the most pleasurable experiences have been my weekly excursions with the Oxford University Walking Club, a group that might be better understood by Americans as a hiking or outing club. Each Saturday or Sunday, the group convenes and sets out for its destination, sometimes by train and sometimes by a quick walk down to the Thames Path along the river. We walk for upwards of 10 miles, experiencing the British countryside at an ambling pace. I love walking through cow pastures and tiny stone villages, as well as picking wild blackberries along the thorny borders of the country paths.

While Oxford is by no means an overwhelming city, I have never lived in any city for an extended period of time and have come to realize how necessary and therapeutic nature is in my life. These weekly Walking Club trips offer maximal exposure to the outdoors as well as allowing me to tour by foot places I probably wouldn’t reach on my own. On one walk, we end at the gravesite of Agatha Christie in the cemetery of a church that was built over 1000 years ago. Time is counted in increments of centuries on this side of the pond, and relics of times past often intermingle with modern structures. Another walk leads us past the foundation of a chapel destroyed during Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries and churches. The ruins sit adjacent to a playground full of shrieking children.

Back at the college, the magic of Oxford unfolds itself day by day. Formal hall each night is candlelit; everyone wears robes; professors and graduate students sit at High Table; and a prayer is read in Latin before the meal begins. If you imagine the bulk of British food to consist of meat and potatoes, you’ve hit the mark. You’ll be hard pressed to find a piece of fresh lettuce or an exotic spice in our hall, though the peas and carrots are gleaming with butter; the guinea fowl is perfectly roasted; and the Yorkshire pudding is puffed and golden. Every dinner is a three-course affair, usually topped off afterwards by a pint in the college bar, known as Deep Hall.

With only about 300 of each, undergraduates and graduates, the Lincoln community is small enough to soon feel like a family. I’m invited to participate in the rituals and traditions of this ancient place. Matriculation Day early in the term begins with a short Latin ceremony conducted by the Vice-Chancellor in the Sheldonian Theatre and soon devolves into an afternoon of drinking and frolicking on the meadows of Christ Church College, all the while posing for photos. Students wear their sub fusc attire, complete with a black ribbon or tie around the neck. Although technically not matriculating at Oxford, I join in the festivities and even purchase the complete set of robes. Who knows? They might make a good Halloween costume back in the states. Below, the LitSquad, as we call ourselves in the group chat, poses for a photo; we are the English student freshers, a small group of 10 ladies.

Half of Michaelmas term has already slipped by, and I’ve realized that each day here is precious. But for now, cheers to passages yet unexplored and doors yet unopened. It’s fit to be a bloody good ride.

 

 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Here in Hanover's free newsletter to catch every headline



Travel City+School Education


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Creative Lives Summer CAMPS

    07/24/2017
    09:00AM — 04:30PM

    Creative LIves Summer Camps help children thrive in mind, body and creative spirit! We will be wo...


  • Kids' Night!

    07/24/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Monday is family night at the Latham House Tavern - Every Monday kids 12 & under eat for ½ off! A...


  • Woodblock Printing

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    This basic introduction to woodcut printing will use both wood blocks and soft-cut linoleum block...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Creative Lives Summer CAMPS

    07/25/2017
    09:00AM — 04:30PM

    Creative LIves Summer Camps help children thrive in mind, body and creative spirit! We will be wo...


  • Taco Tuesday

    07/25/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Every Tuesday is Taco night at the Latham House Tavern! Our house Tavern Tacos on special, Margar...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/25/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/25/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Creative Lives Summer CAMPS

    07/26/2017
    09:00AM — 04:30PM

    Creative LIves Summer Camps help children thrive in mind, body and creative spirit! We will be wo...


  • Hope and Hazard: A Comedy of Eros

    07/26/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a group exhibition curated by American artist Eric...


  • David Shrigley

    07/26/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by British artist David ...


  • Ready. Fire! Aim.

    07/26/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Ready. Fire! Aim. is a joint exhibition that will take place at the Hall Art Foundation in Readin...


  • Hanover's Farmers Market

    07/26/2017
    03:00PM — 06:00PM

    Wednesdays 3 - 6 p.m. beginning June 7 The Hanover Area Farmers Market will open on Wednesday...


  • Wing Wednesday

    07/26/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Join us for Wing Wednesday every week. 50 Cent wings from 4pm until close! (Minimum order 6 w...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/26/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/26/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Creative Lives Summer CAMPS

    07/27/2017
    09:00AM — 04:30PM

    Creative LIves Summer Camps help children thrive in mind, body and creative spirit! We will be wo...


  • All Night Happy Hour

    07/27/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Our Happy Hour Specials are available ALL NIGHT on Thursdays, starting at 4:00 PM. Discounted...


  • Walden Chamber Players

    07/27/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Compositions by Bax, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Ravel, and Jongen. Marianne Gedigian, Flute; Diana ...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/27/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/27/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Creative Lives Summer CAMPS

    07/28/2017
    09:00AM — 04:30PM

    Creative LIves Summer Camps help children thrive in mind, body and creative spirit! We will be wo...


  • Rent a Poet

    07/28/2017
    02:00PM — 02:40PM

    Benjamin Aleshire comes to Bookstock fresh from a few weeks in Paris, where he's been making his ...


  • Prime Rib Friday

    07/28/2017
    04:00PM — 11:00PM

    Every Friday. 12oz prime rib served with maple parsnips, grilled asparagus and a baked potato & h...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/28/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/28/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Hope and Hazard: A Comedy of Eros

    07/29/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a group exhibition curated by American artist Eric...


  • David Shrigley

    07/29/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by British artist David ...


  • Ready. Fire! Aim.

    07/29/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Ready. Fire! Aim. is a joint exhibition that will take place at the Hall Art Foundation in Readin...


  • That Takes the Cake: Divine Decoration

    07/29/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Learn the techniques you need to design and decorate festive cakes for any occasion. Bring your i...


  • Heritage Pro Am Benefit Polo Match

    07/29/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Canaan, NH July 13, 2017: On July 29th at Switch Rd Polo field in Canaan NH, former US Open winne...


  • Heritage Pro Am Benefit Polo Match

    07/29/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Canaan, NH July 13, 2017: On July 29th at Switch Rd Polo field in Canaan NH, former US Open winne...


  • Lettvin Chamber Music Series

    07/29/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Dates: Friday, July 28; Artists - Anastasia Antonacos (piano) and Patrick Doane (violin) Saturd...


  • It’s “Another openin’, another show!” as Cole Porter’s luscious score fills this raucous romp abo...


  • It’s “Another openin’, another show!” as Cole Porter’s luscious score fills this raucous romp abo...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/29/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/29/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • This exhibition at Hood Downtown, 53 Main Street, Hanover, will be on view from June 9 through Au...


  • Hope and Hazard: A Comedy of Eros

    07/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a group exhibition curated by American artist Eric...


  • David Shrigley

    07/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by British artist David ...


  • Ready. Fire! Aim.

    07/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Ready. Fire! Aim. is a joint exhibition that will take place at the Hall Art Foundation in Readin...


  • 2017 HARPOON BREWERY BBQ FESTIVAL

    07/30/2017
    11:00AM — 07:00PM

    We're celebrating summer the best way we know how - with beer, friends, live music, and some of t...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • The Drowsy Chaperone

    07/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Performed by Northern Stage Youth Ages 12-18 Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison B...


  • Stoaked Trail Run

    08/05/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    The STOAKED trail race is the 6th race in the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series! It take...


 

 


PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE COMMUNITY SPONSORS


Northcape Design Build
Hanover Inn at Dartmouth
Ultimate Bath Store

Sean's Lawn N' Garden Services
Cabinetry Concepts
New London Inn & Coach House Restaurant