Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winding Down, Winding Up

So I have a post ready to be published about Thanksgiving break and its attendant awesomeness (cross country road trip and savory bread pudding and beach rides, oh my!) but, unfortunately, I'm still waiting for an opportunity to go back and pick up my film from the developer, and so that update will have to wait just a sneak longer.

In the meantime, I'm back at school and feeling very feeble and slow indeed as all three of my favorite forms of transportation have been taken away from me: I'll write more about this next time, but the short version of the story is that, because I'll be leaving Stanford for the next nine months in a mere eleven days, we decided that it would be in my best interest to bring horse, truck & trailer, and bicycle (along with 98% of my possessions) all home over Thanksgiving break when I could get my dad to help me with the driving. So now, here I am with just my two feet to get me around campus.

Now, don't get me wrong; I love walking. When I travel I walk extensively and enjoy every minute of it, and there is a definite pleasure these days in feeling a pleasant little nip of chilliness held at bay as I march briskly from my dorm to class. But. It is a pretty darn long walk. I've been spoiled by my bike, which can zip me from my dorm (all the way on the far edge of campus) to class in less than ten minutes, whereas on foot it takes over twenty. My inner bedbug revolts at the idea that I now have to get out of bed fifteen minutes earlier, and my inner fashion bug scoffs at the idea that I now have to wear more sensible footwear than the 4" heels I've been enjoying of late lest I extend my commute time even further (because, let's face it: as much as I like standing around and feeling downright Amazonian in 4" heels, I'm no America's Next Top Model when it comes to actually walking in the suckers).

But, as annoying as the walking is, it's nothing compared to having Kiki gone. I went to the barn this morning for the first time since getting back, and it was almost chilling to walk past Kiki's stall and realize that, for the first time since I've been at school, I don't have an equine companion with me. It makes me, more than anything, understand more clearly how lucky I've been to have my own horse with me for this long; I always knew cerebrally what a huge deal it was that my horses got to come with me to school, but now I feel viscerally how special that privilege actually is. I'll be excited to go back to the farm and see her again, that's for sure!

(I miss this face so much!)

All of these things point to the same thing: my time at Stanford is, for the year at least, winding down. It's very strange to be think that, even though it's only December, in eleven days I'll be leaving and probably won't return, barring a brief visit maybe, until next September. I feel like I have a lot of loose ends to tie off, and last fun experiences to cram in, between now and then! It's a bittersweet feeling, as I'm going to miss California and my friends terribly.

(Pie Ranch... just one of the many California gems I'm going to miss so much)

And yet, I'm also beginning to simply explode with excitement at the adventure that's about to unfold. I've mentioned it once on this blog before, but as a recap: starting in January, I'll be traveling to Oxford for six months of study abroad. "Excited" does not even begin to approximate what I'm feeling about this opportunity. I can't wait to live in a new country, experience a new culture, take part in Oxford's legendary academics, and of course spend as much time in proximity to British horseflesh as possible! I'm not going to be able to bring my own horse, but I'm definitely planning to ride as much as I possibly can while there, and to try to attend as many events, races, and polo matches as I can beg my way into. Especially after watching the British team DOMINATE at the WEG this autumn, I'm very excited to watch the British eventing program in person and see if I can take away any tips!

(Must see while in England: Badminton)

We'll see; there's a lot of current flowing in my life right now, and I'm just trying to go along for the ride, as I'm feeling pretty good that I've got good places to go and excellent sights to take in on the way. Now, if only I could get through finals, then the next adventure could really start to begin!


Kerrin Koetsier said...

Sounds exciting! We're only 3 hours from Oxford (with plenty of furry horses!) if you want to visit Winchester :)

Kerrin Koetsier
Parelli Central

Kate said...

My daughter got to spend some time at Oxford on two occasions and enjoyed it very much - have fun!

Jess said...

What an overwhelming opportunity!!! Embrace every moment - the next 9 months will be the ones you tell your children about for the rest of your life. Enjoy it!!!

Kate said...

That's very cool! Oxford is a fantastic school and the town it AMAZING. You'll really enjoy it there. I grew up in the UK and miss it dearly. I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunities to ride while you're there. I always marvel at how different the British approach to training and teaching is than what I've experienced on US soil. I bet you will come back a much more dynamic rider (not that you aren't an incredible rider now!).

Veronica Lodge said...

You will love England. The horse life in the UK is unlike anything over here, it is absolutely fabulous.

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