My fellows and I have arrived in the land where King Arthur ruled, where Elizabeth Bennet fell in love with Mr. Darcy, and where Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort! This land known as England gave our group of Linfield travelers a piece of home-away-from-home with autumn weather that is as grey and rainy as the Pacific Northwest. It is a small piece of home that will soon diminish in importance once the majority of the University's population arrives and we are truly thrust into the local culture. However, until that time I will enjoy the semi-holiday, semi-adjustment period that University of Nottingham International Week is.
There is a poem that I am very fond of by J.R.R. Tolkien that was first published in July 1954 in The Fellowship of the Rings. I believe that it is quite fitting to quote Tolkien in my situation as a student abroad in England, where Tolkien lived.
“All that is gold does not glitter/ Not all those who wander are lost…”
This trip is golden (a very cheesy, over-used line, but true nonetheless), and figuring out foreign public transportation includes a lot of wandering around. However, as I have discovered wandering around, quite possibly not in the place that you meant to be in, does not mean that you are lost. Just the other day, Alanna Stanton, Allyna Murray, and I were trying to find the city center of Beeston, a small town just outside of Nottingham. We got off at the wrong bus stop and ended up walking half a mile to find it. However, on this walk we passed two beautiful churches, the Beeston Methodist Church and the Beeston Parish Church, where we stopped to take pictures. Though my feet would protest, I don’t regret missing the ‘correct’ bus stop because the journey, the wandering, was fun and exciting. Granted, doing the same trying to get back to school with heavy bags and sore legs and worse feet was not as much fun. I’m excited to wander though and to become a hopefully-not-too-weary traveler. With a bit of luck, I’ll make Tolkien proud.