A Journey’s End (Part 2)

After a wonderful afternoon at the Turf Tavern, I spent the early part of the evening packing the contents of my tiny room in the company of my friend, Ashley. Around 7:30 we met up with a few British friends to grab a final Irish type pub dinner together. It was there I discovered that yes, British beer is served slightly warmer than in America because they offered regular Guinness and extra cold Guinness, which tasted much better than the former. As I sipped this, Paul, in his wonderful Welsh accent, asked us if we had ever heard of those “your ma-ma jokes” back in America. Seeing as I am a horrible abuser of adding the “your mom” line to everything, this was particularly funny (maybe just for me). After dinner we walked around, joking, balancing on curbs and pushing each other off, playing tag, swinging around street lights, laughing.

We decided it was a night for dancing and went to Park End, a street dotted with clubs. Inside the club, Paul, being a serious law student, struck up a conversation about politics with Ashley while Nick and I people watched. As the club filled up, we entered the dance floor. The club was huge with multiple dance floors on different levels. I was less enthusiastic until we found the “cheese” music–60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s music. From “Build Me Up Buttercup” to “Livin’ On A Prayer,” it was the best of the worst and preppy Oxford white-boy dancing overwhelmed the room. As the night continued, we were joined by many more friends. Between “I Will Survive” and “Cotton Eye Joe” some drunkard pushed me. Next thing I knew I was trying to break up a fight between the pusher and my defender, all of us encircled by dancers. Whew. We returned to dancing and I watched for a glorious three minutes as Paul passionately mouthed the words to “Barbie Girl”.

After four hours of dancing, we left the club with steam escaping from our bodies and our ears ringing. I plucked bits of broken beer bottles out of my shoe soles before walking with the group back towards college. As part of the post-Park End routine, a stop at the famous Hassan’s was required. Hassan’s is a heaven of kebabs and chip butties (french fries on a baguette), chili sauce and garlic mayonnaise. The drunk-hungry ordered kebabs and finally we returned to our college, grabbed some water and said our goodbye/goodnights. After removing my shoes, I fell asleep.

In the morning I finished packing and went to say goodbye to my friends. I met up with an American friend, Max, and we had our last breakfast together in hall. On my way to find some other friends, I crossed paths with Mark, a cheery Brit from Liverpool who sobbed goodbye on my shoulder–many of his best friends are Americans who studied there the whole year. I bid the ducks farewell on my way to the bus stop. Ashley, Nick, Rachel and I strolled along together carrying my things. We popped into Queen’s Lane Coffee House for a final sip of tea. With my suitcases piled around me, I watched Ashley munch her customary fried egg on toast and gaped at Nick scarfing down a messy combination of toast, eggs, and beans. Rachel devoured a salad. Everyone seemed to be hungry but me. I just had my last cup of rose hip tea. Then–time to go. Multiple repeat hugs, cheek kisses, au revoirs, waves, last hugs, blown kisses, smiles, laughs, sad faces, more waves, the bus pulling away, gone. Bye Oxford.