Veritably Verdant

by katharinecambridge

That’s right, Peter Pevensie, it is a wet day at Cambridge.

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The rain certainly keeps all of the plants lush. Just look at how many shades of green there are in this cross-section of landscaped shrubbery.

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I think the moss on the right is covering a pond.

The rainy day did not make for good photographs, but I did snap this one of a tree which – apparently – grew from the seed of an apple that fell from the same orchard where Isaac Newton had his gravity epiphany. It’s a fun story.

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There it is! An ancestor of the most influential apple tree known to man. Some of you might say, “Hey, that title belongs to the apple tree in the Garden of Eden!” But I learned in my Old Testament class that the Hebrew Bible never refers to the fruit Eve eats as an apple, and that centuries later it was decided to be an apple for visual continuity in artwork.

Today was official Welcome Day, and I finally got to see some of the greying, polite, intelligent men who make this program possible. When I pulled my suitcase into Pembroke yesterday – was it really only yesterday? – Cambridge students my age greeted me and showed me to my rooms. It surprised me! I was expecting a fatherly C.S. Lewis-type figure to stroll down the path towards me…

But today we met the C.S. Lewis surrogates at the Cambridge Union Society. Many of our lectures will take place there, though normally it’s a building devoted to student debates. For only forty pounds, we can even become associate members. Fancy living!

One of the men in particular was such a sweet and gentle-seeming spirit. “I’m sure many of you are tired, excited, but overwhelmed, and possibly wondering if you made the right choice to be here. Trust, me, you have. And if you still don’t think so in a few days, come see me and we’ll sort it out.” Gentlemen still reign supreme in England.

On an introductory walk through Cambridge I had to keep myself from taking too many pictures since I knew I would just take them all over again on a sunny day. But the more I see of England, the less impressed I am with J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter essentially went to Cambridge and was in Gryffindor College! He took King’s Cross Station like the rest of them and bought his wands ‘n stuff on this street:

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What sort of medieval and charming shops could be down this street?

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…a makeup store? Hi friends! Smile!

I don’t need Harry Potter Land in Orlando, FL. The magic trinket I bought on this street was a blow dryer.

Some friends of mine and I needed some aesthetic tools, and boy oh boy do those Brits have makeup! There are dozens of authentic stores, too, but I did not realize how globalized the world is now. In Cambridge there’s a Mac store, a MAC store, a McDonalds, and a Starbucks, etc. I forgot that it wouldn’t be 1946 here. There’s something strange and wonderful about a place competing with itself for a time period. Behind the modern self-checkout grocery store there’s a chapel from 1200AD, which is stuffed in between two pubs and all on a street Sherlock Holmes would have confidently walked on.

Tomorrow is our first Formal Dinner, and the first lectures for my three classes. Another full day!

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