Found Writing

One of the ever present difficulties of being a composition professor is not finding time to read or write for me. Unlike a graduate professor who must publish every few years and who is given time in the teaching schedule for research, I teach at a state college, and someone has to teach composition. I enjoy seeing students learn, even if they finally "get it" after they've left my class, but the weekly grading of papers is tiring. And we all know that the only way to improve our writing is to write more. For beginning writers that means guided practice and more writing in sixteen weeks than they ever thought they could do. It also means that I end up with limited energy during term to write.


Last night, though, I found some writing related to my Summer 2017 study abroad to Oxford. I believe my original intent was to find some way to chronicle my six-week stay, but the amount of thinking and writing required overwhelmed me (and the experience changed me), so I have but a few lines.


Preparation


two mentions and it's a

"You should go."


hesitation


go? in reality?

six weeks in a foreign country?


paperwork commences


Author's note: I mentioned the possibility of going to Oxford twice: Once to my husband and once to a dear older man from my church when we were out to lunch with a group. My husband overheard the conversation, and really did say I should go, but how does one live for six weeks away from one's home and husband? I did, and it was amazing thanks to my husband's support.



Course Work and Beauty


2 classes


at once


HOW?


so much to read


and then roommates

chose "Just assign me someone my age"


because I saw a photo afraid of The Beautiful One

no one can be that pretty

beautiful, kind, and intelligent

the whole package

and, yes, one can be that pretty

beautiful, kind and intelligent


awed by The Wise One

so much knowledge of people

so much beauty

so helpful when I was crashing


disappointed by distance

I failed to keep an IRL connection


The Airport


over an hour away

arrived more than four hours early

once on the plane the nervousness


disappears


he waits with me

check in

security and then


the SOB, the tears

where the hell did that come from?

wasn't I composed?

didn't I know what this was?


leaving for six weeks

felt

like leaving for a year


step aside


hug


calm down


through the looking glass and on my own

my plans

my travel

my study


still questioning loneliness or independence


Storms


summer storms in Florida

the gatekeeper reroutes me away from Miami


will my bag arrive with me?

"Of course! It's autotracked."


leave on a different plane to a different city


they weren't kidding when they said it was


a mile I ran


to the international side of the airport

Philly waited

rain there, too

with others delayed


I could have walked that mile and still

arrived

on time


Author's Note: Florida was astorm as was the entire East Coast the day I was to fly to London. When I told the attendant that I had to be in London by a certain time, he rerouted me to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, my bag still went to Miami. After two hours in customs, I discovered that my bag did not arrive with me. It would be a total of four days before I had all I needed, including the texts for the two classes I took. Additionally, because I never boarded a plane in Miami, my return trip was canceled without notification. Fortunately I am a planner, and a week before leaving Oxford tried to check my flight only to discover that because I didn't make my original layover my return was canceled. So much for "autotracking." What ensued was a week-long pass the passenger from domestic to international airlines, each stating that they could not reschedule the flight. It was only when I called my credit card company (to try to get my money back so I could book another flight) that my credit card company got involved and managed to book me a flight back at no extra expense. The suitcase-that-went-to-Miami incident marred my first four days and my final week at Oxford. I don't handle surprises very well. Nor will I use either airline again if I can avoid it.



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