Penner: Kiersti Plog of California Location: Oxford, England
Me and the Narnia lamppost
Springtime in Narnia? That’s what I thought when I saw this lamppost, sprouting in a field of blooming daffodils and crocuses on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. I couldn’t resist taking a picture!
This outing to Henry VIII’s impressive stomping grounds came during a semester I spent studying in Oxford, England my junior year of college. It didn’t prove one of my favorite field trips overall—that six-wived king’s overbearing personality seemed rather to pervade the massive brick walls and ornate interior of the palace, situated not far from London. But I loved the spring-flowered grounds.
University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford
It was something I’d scarcely dreamed of until it happened, spending a term studying in the city of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, where John Wesley preached and Thomas Cranmer lost his life at the stake during the Reformation. But Oxford, and the England that nestles it, burrowed deep into my heart during those four months. Sometimes I still miss passing the ancient golden-stoned buildings to study at the Bodleian Library, worshipping in stonewalled churches where believers in Christ have gathered for hundreds of years, shopping at little corner stores or the farmer’s market in Gloucester Green square—and walking everywhere. In England I realized our legs can truly be a very useful form of transportation!
“The City of Dreaming Spires,” Oxford is lovingly called—you can see why in this photo (above left) taken from the medieval tower of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. I’m so grateful God gave me the gift of living there for a little while.
Have you studied abroad like Kiersti did? Did you have a brush with literature while in England? We'd love to hear about it. Please join the discussion in the comments.
A lover of story and His-story, Kiersti Plog writes, tutors, and enjoys her family in southern California. She is a member of ACFW and currently working on her second historical novel, centered around a Navajo mission boarding school in the early 1900s.
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