The other week,
we got to run up to Oxford
to celebrate our friend Ali's __th birthday.
We arrived in Oxford in a quick spell of really pretty weather.
Instead of heading straight indoors (as we had planned),
we spent a little bit of time
wandering through our old steps,
checking in & saying hello to the places that were once our home.
While Oxford has always been a special place for people to come together,
our time there was no different.
We had so many great friends there...
and we miss them terribly!
As we walked through town,
I found myself constantly searching to find familiar faces in cafes & on the streets...
but alas, their absence reminded me how scattered our friends now are.
While the absence of our friends makes our returns to Oxford a bit unsatisfying,
it always reminds us that their time at Oxford did exactly what they had hoped:
launched them into doing really great things on a worldwide scale.
Even though our Oxford exploring was a bit lonely,
once we arrived to Ali's party...
we were quickly revived by seeing college friends
& celebrating a special friend at a special time in her life.
The party was so much fun!
We got to spend the night at her house in the country afterwards
and spent the next morning sipping coffee with her & her parents
and chatting about everything from cruises to British schools.
As we sat in her living room with rain drizzling down the window,
it felt extremely cozy to be in that moment.
As expats who are often displaced in random hotel rooms & neighborhoods
and find themselves missing our loved ones,
it feels really nice when we find ourselves in real homes among families & friends.
Thanks, Ali, for sharing your home with us!
If you are heading out to Oxford on your own,
here are some of our favorite places to check out.
Old Tom's - Across the street from Christ Church's main entrance on St. Aldates,
there is a little pub called "Old Tom." Even though it's a pub, it actually makes the most delicious thai food. Go and get the Pad Kee Mao or the red curry. You'll love it. There's a little garden in the back when the weather is nice. Don't miss it.
Moo Moo's Milkshakes- Inside the covered market (off High Street & Cornmarket). I can't really describe how much I love these... but if you taste one, you'll know why. Try one of coffee + oreo, I dare you. If that doesn't suit- create your own shake out of their 300+ mix-in options.
The Grand Cafe- Go here for tea. It's the oldest coffee shop in England, but the cream team is really fantastic. The setting is very photogenic, too. On the High Street- located about halfway between Cornmarket & Madgalen college
The Eagle & Child- CS Lewis, Tolkien & all the other "inklings" used to meet in this famous pub. It may seem a bit touristy, but actually- it's decent food and a fun stop. If you can snag a room in the "Rabbit Room" near the bar, you'll be in the inklings favorite spot.
Christ Church Meadow- Walk through the garden that inspired Carroll's Alice & Wonderland. This walk will give you a good glimpse of the non-curricular daily life of students in Oxford.
Gloucester Green- If you are in Oxford on a Tuesday, go to the organic market in Gloucester Green to try scrummy treats from local farmers & vendors. Anything from goat's milk cheesecake to homemade donuts awaits you. Also, a portion of the market is old antiques & a small flea market. You'll never know what you will find!