“I believe every woman should have a blow torch.”

Julia Child



Please take 1 minute and thirteen seconds to enjoy the fruits of my GoPro before proceeding to read any further. 

Now, moving on to the lesser part of this post's content. 

We have been here for two days now and it feels just like home. My bottom bunk bed of room 9 at 9 Canterbury Road is significantly more comfortable than I was expecting, seeing as I slept for 13 hours last night. (lol what even is jet lag, am I right?) The kitchen was inaugurated, the only thing we know how to say in our atrocious British accents is "sorry", I found a great bookstore and bought more books than I have time to read, the air is cold, the grass is green, and time seems to move slower here. 

Honestly. I hate being cheesy blog girl but in all seriousness I feel as if I have been here for a lifetime and its hardly been 48 hours. 

Yesterday as I walked around these cobblestone streets, I had a moment where I felt a little scared*.

*(Note to Mom:) Not scared because of any sort of crime or eminent danger, but because I started to realize that I wouldn't be home any time soon. A pit in my stomach started to form and everything ahead of me felt so unknown. But that feeling mixed with a heaping tablespoon of wonder, a good dash of laughter, and some of the best friends a girl can ask for, dissolved as quick as my Earl Grey tea in boiling water. 

After visiting C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien's favorite hang out last night (the Eagle and Child), I started thinking about Bilbo and Frodo and Lucy and Edmond. They all decided to leave what they knew to accept adventure's invitation. Gandalf knocked, Aslan beckoned, and stories untarnished by time came from it. 

I sat at the tables that two of my favorites wrote these tales and I realized I really didn't have much to be afraid of at all. The unknown adventures suddenly excited me and I went to bed feeling quite hopeful of the next four months. 

I hope the unfolding weeks ahead produce stories half as good. I also hope I don't encounter any Orcs, dragons, or white witches but I've got some top notch friends that will fight them off with me should such encounters come to be. I hope I learn to write like honestly about 1/100th as good as my friends Lewis and Tolkien. I hope I slow down enough to capture silly moments dancing in front of castles. 

I hope, whoever you are reading this, that you remember the importance of slow motion. As funny as it can be, it helps me see beauty in every day moments that my otherwise fast paced world tends to overlook. 

It's 2 a.m. and I will try to sleep with these words from Lewis on my mind. 

To us remains
A clean, sweet city lulled by ancient streams,
A place of visions and of loosening chains,
A refuge of the elect, a tower of dreams.

She was not builded out of common stone
But out of all men’s yearning and all prayer
That she might live, eternally our own,
The Spirit’s stronghold—barred against despair.”
— Excerpt from "Oxford" by C.S. Lewis

Goodnight, my dear friends. How I wish you could all be here too.

Love, akb