goals, influences, Life Talk



We went to Cambridge! And made it back again, though if it weren’t for the fact that our girls were still stateside we might not have ever left.

England was everything I’d ever dreamed it would be. I couldn’t believe how much it was like how I’d always imagined it, in fact. I kept bracing myself for it to be different, to not live up to my imaginings, but no. It was exactly as I’d dreamed.

Now, I’m guessing that if I had gone to Yorkshire I wouldn’t have found a secret garden and children playing with wild animals on the moor. Lord Peter and Harriet Vane would not be punting in Oxford. Miss Read would not be bicycling to school in the Cotswolds. I didn’t see any hobbits, nor did any cupboard doors lead me to Narnia. I did pass Platform 9 3/4 at Kings’ Cross, but it was not in between platforms 9 and 10, and was clearly a tourist trap.

I do know the difference between fiction and reality. I just like to ignore it whenever possible.

The essence of England, though, the very Englishness of it … that was there. That was real. And I loved it.

We were only in London long enough to get from plane to train to tube to train (and then the reverse coming back), and the rest of the time we spent in Cambridge. Oh, for more time, to get to Oxford, and see the sights in London, to travel the rest of the island! We made the most of our four and a half days, though. We tramped 40 miles all over Cambridge and got to know that city far better than most tourists can.

It is beautiful.

I could write pages and pages of our adventures there, but as I doubt they’d be as fascinating to others as they were to us (met with university housing! Had a cream tea! Were served tea and toast every morning by our hosts! Explored possible places to live! Walked through an ancient cemetery and saw my first European robin! Were nearly mobbed by swans looking for food! Went to Waterstones and the Cambridge University Press bookshop and couldn’t buy anything either place because I had no room in my bag!), I’ll hold back.

We can’t wait to go back. I can’t believe we’ll actually be living there for three (or maybe more, depending on how long Carl’s PhD takes) years.

It’s going to be a most fantastic adventure.

With lots of tea. And scones.


10 thoughts on “Cambridge”

    1. If I ever finish updating my private journal, I’ll type out and email you the account! I’ve only made it to Monday evening in my writing out of it so far. I need to get a move on before the details start to blur in my memory!

      1. Yes, you need to do that. I can tell you from experience that while your adventure is fresh in your mind, you think you’ll NEVER forget it, and those feelings you felt will always be there – but then, even a month later, you have to reach for them… and another month after that, they’re getting really dim…

  1. “I do know the difference between fiction and reality. I just like to ignore it whenever possible.”
    Best. Line. Ever.

  2. I love England. Make time for London, if you are able, when you go back. You’ll be glad you did. See the sights most certainly, but better yet, find a cafe off the beaten path and just watch England being English unawares. And in the most englishy of English cities too. 😀 So much fun…don’t forget a writing journal–you’ll want to take notes.

    1. Thanks for this! Yes, some of our best moments in Cambridge were sitting in the tea shops observing. I did bring my journal, but we were too busy for me to write in it there! That and too tired from walking 8+ miles each day.

  3. Yeah as usual I’m way behind on Feedly, but I will belatedly say I LOVED this post and i’d love the minute details particularly on European robins (are they really THAT different?) 😊

    1. They are barely even related–the only similarity between them is the orange splash on their chest. European robins are cute little round balls of fluff, as opposed to the larger, not-round, not-fluffy, definitely not-cute American robins. (the old house we moved into when I was 9 had larger-than-life robins all over the wallpaper in the bedroom my sister and I shared, and it was so ugly, and my parents didn’t strip the wallpaper off until after I’d married and moved out, and I developed a loathing for American robins ever since. Imagine trying to sleep with GIANT robins staring silently at you all night long.) I like American robins as the first sign of spring, but that’s about it. Seeing the European robin made me feel like Mary Lennox!

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