Been in England for about 2 1/2 days now...what an incredible change. From the bustling, crowded, hot, dusty, vibrant, chaotic, overflowing streets of Cairo to the cool, shaded, verdant lanes of Oxford town and university. The first day I was here it was almost as if I had died and gone to heaven, coming from the sprawling desert heat into rolling fields, parks, grand stone buildings and overgrown gardens. Instead of diesel fuel I smelled flowers and growing things; instead of car horns I heard birds.
Oxford is really everything I imagined England to be, which makes sense - so many of the classic English writers were educated here. It's almost a fantasy of a town, and I could just get lost in the arches and vaults of the University for days or weeks or years. Cairo was the sort of place where everytime you turned a corner, you saw something that was bizarre or fascinating or ancient. Oxford is sort of the same way, but in a welcoming, comforting sense.
It's also funny because looking at England you kind of figure out how Boston came to look and feel the way it does. Obviously, that's simplifying, but the similarities in England and New England architecture, landscape, and layout are striking. I feel like I am in a reflection of home sometimes - or that home is a reflection of here.