I travelled a lot when I was younger. Me and my family rarely sat still, we were constantly on the move. I was taught at home for a lot of my childhood because we moved around so much so I’m used to not settling in one place. When I tell people about my weird on the move upbringing a lot of people are kind of overwhelmed (and equally confused…) about how we ended up in some of the places we did but to me it was completely normal. There were a lot of times (particularly through my “dye my hair black” teenage years…) where I really hated it, I longed to stay in one place and go to school and do the normal crap you do when you’re a teenager but now looking back on it I am incredibly grateful for the unusual and interesting upbringing I had as I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today.
If you didn’t know by now I live in Oxford and have done for just over 4 years now. I moved here on my own in 2014 to go to Uni and have stayed here working after I graduated last June. When choosing where to head to when I applied to go to Uni a lot of my decision took into consideration where I would be living and what sort of living experience I would gain from being in that city. I’ve never really been a massive party gal (I do love an evening out sipping gin but maybe not partying hard if you get what I mean…) and as I was a few years older than a lot of my fellow undergrads heading to Uni my teenage partying days were behind me and I was definitely looking for something slightly slower paced. I’d never been to Oxford before I came to Uni here, but the idea of it excited me. It’s an historically and culturally amazing city (which my nerdy side loved the idea of…), it’s stupidly close to London (only an hour and a half on a slightly musty/sweaty smelling bus…) but more than anything the image of beautiful Oxford from the river or the meadows was incredibly tempting for someone who had never lived in a city and was coming from the depths of rural Cornwall.
I’m not ashamed to say that I would probably class myself as a bit of a country bumpkin. Although my family dragged me from pillar to post growing up I’d never experienced the hustle and bustle of city living. I was definitely more used to and more comfortable being by the sea in Penzance or in the middle of nowhere in Scotland (I spent a good chunk of my childhood split between Scotland and rural Bulgaria… It’s a long story… another one for another post one day…). The idea of little old me in a big old city terrified me, but that’s why I knew I had to do it. Although it was something that was incredibly daunting at the time, it was something that I knew if I didn’t do then I never would.
Oxford is a bloody awesome city. For me it’s the right amount of hustle and bustle with a nice chunk of rural feel. It’s always got something going on. My nerdy side is thriving with the history, museums and architecture providing daily inspiration but if the city gets too much there are plenty of beautiful green open spaces right on my doorstep, it’s the best of both worlds for a bit of a city-phobe like me. I can’t really see myself living anywhere else right now but I do still feel a massive draw to my motherland, Cornwall.
I remember when I lived in Cornwall as a teenager I hated the slower paced life you got from living in a more rural area. There were no jobs, no opportunities and there never felt like there was much happening near me, it felt dead and I hated it. But as I’m getting older I can see the draw to a more rural life and what it can give you and why so many people move to the country in later years.
I do miss Cornwall and every time I visit it gets harder and harder to leave, I know that I will end up back down there in the not too distant future as I start considering settling down and adult dull stuff but right now I don’t think I’m quite ready for it. As much as I moan about rent prices, about annoying tourists (you get them in Cornwall too though…) and the slight pretentiousness that comes with Oxford and it’s University culture (you might’ve heard of it…) I do love it here and it does definitely feel like home right now.
Oxford was definitely the right choice for me and I enjoy learning more and more about this little city I currently call home everyday. I will always be a proud Cornish lass and as much as I pine for the sea air and I always will, this proud Cornish lass is happy with her ex-pat status for just a little while longer…