This post has been in my draft for the last two weeks, and will now be released on the very last day of my Study Abroad term in England. We leave our hotel on December 5 at 8am, and it has been many amazing adventures compiled into one beautiful story.
After Oxford, we spent three days in Canterbury and three in Cambridge before settling in Ditchingham for finals week.
Canterbury Cathedral has some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I’ve ever seen’ and at this point, I’ve seen plenty. We stayed at a conference center on the cathedral grounds and explored the picturesque streets.
In Cambridge, we explored more picturesque small town streets, along with the many colleges of the illustrious university, and attended Evensong at King’s College, which was an ethereal experience. I’ve attended many Evensong services over the last three months, but there is a reason that the King’s College choir is world famous.
Our week in Ditchingham was a unique experience. We stayed in a conference center with sketchy WiFi and turned in a plethora of final projects. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. One of the highlights of the week was performing scenes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest for our final drama project. Every group had been assigned a scene but very few people knew the plot of the entire play so it ended up being a giant collage of fun.
We got to London on the 29th and I saw Waitress that night (here’s my review). It was an absolutely incredible show, full of empowerment and self-discovery and an amazing score. The following night I saw Matilda, which was another giant collage of fun, with some light horror thrown in. Apart from that, I’ve been exploring the city, working on final papers, and reminiscing about the past three months.
Yesterday I went with some friends to the Sky Garden. We rode to the 35th floor of a snazzy downtown building and watched the sunset from a terrace higher than the top of the London Eye. The restaurant/bar is a cross between the Como conservatory and the overlook at the Guthrie theater.
Let me first state that I recognize and cherish the increíble privilege of seeing so much of the world. This trip has been incredible. Back in August, I had one sort of vision of how this semester would go and it was honestly just a hazy stereotype but this trip has been beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so grateful for all of it. This is my last day in Europe, which is mind-boggling to consider. There are definitely parts of my life that I can’t wait to get home to, the biggest one being my family and the second one being my kitten, and I am excited to take the lessons I’ve learned from this semester and build a new life for myself going forward. I absolutely want to come back and revisit some of my favorite sites at the earliest possible opportunity, so keep an eye out for the next travel announcement.
While all of this travel has been amazing, moving from place to place every week can make a head spin. We roll up to a town, see the highlights, and then we’re out. On my next sojourn across the pond, I want to stay in one place long enough to become a local. I want to see what normal life is like, outside of a church or a holiday.
Another interesting learning curve of the trip has been the fluctuating social dynamics. There are 20 people on this trip, and I like spending time with different people in different degrees. There’s also the issue of coordinating logistics amid so much free time. As a result, it can get hard to plan social outings with more than three people,
Part of the reason I haven’t blogged as much in the last few weeks is that I lost focus a little bit. After Salisbury, I got sort of caught up in my head for a few weeks and wasn’t paying as much attention to the amazing experiences around me. After some time I got somewhat desensitized to the increíble cathedrals and informative museums. I’m not proud of it, but it did happen. But I got some good reminders to refocus and I’m soaking up every moment of these last hours, and cherishing the priceless memories of the last three months.
I was texting a friend and she said “I can’t wait to hear about your trip!” While I appreciate the sentiment, something about that sentence felt odd to me. I wouldn’t call this a “trip” so much as a lifestyle change. In my mind, a trip lasts one to three weeks, perhaps a month. We’ve been traveling for so long that we have embraced the nomadic way of life.
Our teacher told us that upon our return, many people would inquire about our experience and most would expect a one-word response. Some of the words I would use are: “amazing” “unique” “incredible” “broadening” and “beautiful”. I’ve seen so much more of the world, of myself, and of my peers, and I will continue to process these observations over the next weeks. Thank you for following along with me on this journey, and I’ll see you soon.
Bon Voyage ❤️ E