I remember being 6 when the first Harry Potter movie was released… I lived in Cameroun at that time; I had never heard of Hogwarts, and even less of Oxford, where some bits of the film were filmed. My school went to watch the film at the theatre and I was absolutely amazed… I had been so enchanted by the magic of the story, the wizards’ world and the places I came to read the books afterwards.
15 years later: I was sitting on the left side of the Great Hall of Hogwarts, where the house of Slytherin would have sat if only Harry Potter had been a real story.
When I arrived in Oxford at the beginning of the term, I contacted a friend from school who I had not seen since I had taken my gap year and who is studying law at Christ Church. He kindly invited me to a formal dinner in the college dining hall. I will let you know I was over the moon! And of course: I bragged about it a LOT!
The day came and I crossed my pretty town in the cold night to head to Christ Church. The college itself is so gorgeous; I love that I can cross the main gates and not pay the tourists fees when I have seminars in that college. Yet I still enjoy playing the tourist on the main quad where all my other foreign Asian fellows are not allowed.
I waited at the main gate for my friend Louis to come and get me. I was ecstatic!
He arrived in his Oxford gown to greet me; it had been such a long time! We made our way to the hall and walked up the staircase where Harry rejected Draco’s offer to be his friend. So dramatic!
A charity had organised a fund raising to prevent breast cancer and was waiting for us at the top of the stairs of stone. A group of A Capella girls all dressed in black with pink bows performed before the massive wooden door of the hall. Louis introduced me to his friends and we walked in the hall to take our seats. No Sorting Hat needed!
The food was brought to us on tableware inscribed with the initials of the college.
We all had a light and lovely starter: baby prawns on avocado and pink grapefruit.
The main dish was pink salmon and potatoes but the best was the meringue and iced pineapple creme we were served for dessert.