I can't believe 8 weeks have passed and it's time to say goodbye to beautiful England. Last night, the International Summer School held a farewell event summing up our time at the university and I was asked to give a little, informal speech about my experiences. Although it's impossible to summarize everything I have done and all that I have loved about England, I thought I would share what I wrote here.
When I arrived at the University of Sussex 8 weeks ago, I had no idea what the summer had in store for me. This was my first trip out of the country and lugging my suitcase up Northfield Lane to flat 19 after 30 hours of travel, I was disoriented and exhausted, to say the least. Little did I know then that this trip would be a wonderful adventure, full of new friends, amazing places that I only knew existed in books, and memories to fill dozens of scrapbooks.
It’s hard to pick a favorite moment or trip, because I was lucky enough to have a full 2 months here visiting as many kilometers of England as I could stretch to explore. I took full advantage of the ISS Trips, and I am so glad I did. Later, when I began doing some traveling on my own, to the picturesque sea towns of Cornwall, I really realized how nice it is to simply climb on an air-conditioned, rain shielded coach and have the day organized for you. I started with the introduction to London trip the first weekend where I squealed over red telephone booths that would later become such commonplace as I acclimated to life as an adopted Brit. Through the polka dot shield of my umbrella I fell in love with Oxford, it’s rich history and architecture and I wandered the gorgeous gardens of Blenheim Palace. Every childhood dream came true when I went to the Making of Harry Potter, and I have Hermione’s official wand to prove it. On the Fourth of July I stood under a cloudless sky over Beachy Head, the crashing blue waves beneath me, wondering how life could get any better. I pretended to be one of Chaucer’s pilgrims in Canterbury and made my way through the Labyrinth of Leeds Castle. I sampled the water from the Roman Baths and marveled at the mystery of Stonehenge. I packed my stomach with a full English Breakfast, and topped it off with a cozy cup of tea and scrumptious handmade scones to tour the Brighton Pavilion. Punting on the river Cam, I pretended to be a student attending Cambridge, finding my way to class past buildings where DNA and the electron were discovered. On the Sussex Country Bus tour I sat on the beach in Eastbourne and drank tea in the quaint little town of Alfriston. In Arundel I stepped back in time to watch a medieval jousting tournament, complete with thick velvet gowns and chain mail. I tried defying gravity with Wicked and was entranced by Shakespeare’s words at the Globe.
Even with all of the travel, I had time to enjoy my classes. Children’s Literature reminded my why I love to read and that the stories I loved when I was young are just as magical now, if not more so. Love Sex and Death brought me into the twisted mind of jealous revengers of the Renaissance period, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
I can’t believe I am only a few days away from saying goodbye to England. That come Saturday, the Brighton Pier will no longer be just a few minutes away, I won’t be able to pop into London for the day and Starbucks baristas won’t understand what I mean when I say I want a cuppa. But it has been an amazing summer, one that I know will remember forever. Cheers for now, England! I’ll be back.
|One last glimpse of the Brighton Pier!|