To coin a phrase from Doctor Who, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to affect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective point of view, it is more like a big ball of wibbily-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.” Admittedly, time is not necessarily as flexible for those of us without the ability to travel through time and space at our own convenience, but it still fluctuates a little more than we tend to notice. What we learn today, about yesterday, impacts our tomorrow, after all. No matter where we are, whether it is in Grantham, England or back home, we are entirely submersed in history, in the present, in our futures. It’s a rather mind-blowing concept, if you care to look deep enough.
So what does that have to do with Harlaxton?
I am sitting here, typing this out, while listening to birds chirp and watching the sun shine through the window panes. For a week now I have been living in England. For one week, to this day, I have been out of my own country, far from home, and living in a place where history and fantasy stand alongside each other.
Two weeks ago, two short weeks, I was transitioning from being terribly excited, talking about this looming adventure at every turn, to being, well, terrified: I can’t leave the country, I can’t do it, there’s no way, no no no. I was not packed, had not said my last good-byes, and was torn in such polarizing directions that I could not contain myself. On my own blog, I wrote a post about how those last two weeks were weeks of lasts: It would be the last time I went to work, the last time I saw my friends, the last time I cuddled my dog or tormented my brother. These were not indefinite lasts, of course, because surely I would do all these things again, but they most certainly felt like it at the time. Because then, sitting in my living room, surrounded by clothes and suitcases and more clothes, it felt like I was saying a final goodbye—four months is a long time, after all.
But here we are now.
A week in.
It has been a week of magic, of fascination, of exploration (and, let’s face it, a week of jetlag). We have bounced from activity to activity, taking in as much of this magical place as possible. Even now, a week later, it does not seem possible that we are really here: That we’re here on these beautiful grounds and preparing for a weekend in London (and trying to get some studying in every now and then).
But we are—we’re here.
I was more than a little apprehensive about traveling at first. I have never been too far from home without a reliable, built-in, back-up system, and this time I was entirely on my own—there was no turning back. Saying good-bye to my family at airport security seemed like the hardest thing to do, especially for a family as close as my own. In that one instant I was terrified about all the things to come, of all that could be, but as soon as I walked past that gate, hands shaking, I knew I was going to be okay.
And I was right.
So time might not be completely linear, or, at least, grounded in the way we have always imagined it. Time is moving, time is passing, and before we know it, it’ll be the end of the semester. This time here in the manor will have come and passed and we will all have been the better for it.
Now, though—now is when it counts. We have the next four months ahead of us, so let’s make the absolute best of it.
- Abby Ponder