Love you momma!
I’m currently trying to balance seeing all the awesome things around me for the last time, hanging out with friends (in some cases for the last time) and studying for two exams on Tuesday. What does this mean for me? Something like this:
London is amazing. It was at once exactly what I thought it would be and so far from my expectations. Foreigners from around the world crowd streets that are surprisingly wide, world famous sites are crammed next to modern-style buildings and 19th century buildings and massive gardens. It’s incredible that there could be so much to do in a city with as relaxed a beat.
In other words, it’s a fantastic vacation spot.
First of all, the public museums are all free. Including the Natural History Museum.
First step in and I suddenly remembered why I loved Dinosaurs as a child. It took all of half a second for it all to come rushing back!
And we can’t forget about my favorite museum ever! The British Museum! Home of the Rosetta Stone! However, I say it’s my favorite museum because it’s basically a giant course on human history through artifacts. Tons of signs explaining the life, times and culture of what is in there. Just beautifully done.
You can’t forget the English Breakfast either, with its rather strange and wonderful inclusion of beans. [sidenote: every time you go to a different country, I suggest trying their bacon. Because nobody does it quite the same way and that’s so cool!]
And pubs. If you go to London and skip out on going to a pub, you’ve just missed out on a super cool part of culture. If you’re not into pubs that much, go the the Cheshire Cheese Pub. It’s not the oldest pub in London, but it was frequented by the likes of Lord Tennyson, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens (who seemed to have enjoyed it so much, he referenced the place in A Tale of Two Cities).
Then of course is Westminster which is either my favorite or second favorite cathedral ever, I can’t decide (the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Barcelona would be the other contender). I went to a service there as well as did the whole tour. And I’m just going to say, it was entirely worth everything.
I’ve decided one of my new life goals is to go here, because it is my favorite set of buildings in all of London:
Never complete without Baker’s St. That was worth it just to be there.
And Cheapside! From my favorite film of all time A Knight’s Tale! William Thatcher was born here!
So much to do in London. I certainly didn’t do it all. If you’ve never been, go. For the non-travelers it’s an easy one (English-speaking and similar culture) and for the travelers, well. There’s plenty to experience.
Going to this country was a blessing. Two weeks later and I still am not sure what to say about it. It was my first time in Africa, my first time in an Islamic country, my first time riding a camel, my first time haggling. So many firsts. So many new experiences. So many new ways of seeing and understanding.
The camel ride in the desert was the best thing ever. Two dreams in one. Camel riding. And sleeping in a sand desert. So cool.
The Souks are pretty sweet too. It’s fun to haggle with people and really just talk with vendors. You can learn so much about them, the culture, whatever. And in the end everyone leaves happy. Even if you don’t get the “best” price you could have.
We met all kinds of people. Super posh English women who are all three lawyers, Moroccains and Bedouins, Dutch. All kinds.
And in the end I found I realized that the world is no bigger than I thought. Just a hell of a lot deeper.
And now I understand a lot of things I didn’t before. If you have the time and are interested in understanding things about the world (or at least our society), you should read this.
I’m leaving for my first sojourn in Africa tomorrow. I have to say, part of me is totally frightened. Which of course only adds to my general sense of awesome excitement! Here’s the agenda:
3) Desert trip on camels
4) Return having experienced a new continent
Unfortunately I won’t be blogging until I get back I don’t think. But the next post on here will be full of a whole new adventure.
And then London a few days after.
P.S. I find I have difficulty spelling Morocco without spellcheck, so I’ve taken to using the French “Maroc.” It’s easier. Like many words and sentence structures I’ve slowly lost this year to French.
June 6, 1944 was D-Day. It was the moment when America hit the ground in France and began the invasion that would lead to the fall of Nazis Germany.
And that moment marked France.
Listening to my French dinner family talk about it, I realized for the first time what that really meant. It was America’s glorious world moment. Not just because we won. Not just because we saved France from the Nazis. But because Americans, thousands of Americans, gave their lives to the beaches. To free France. All despite the fact that they probably didn’t have anything to do with France before that day.
We saved them, and paid with our blood.
And I think America remembers that glory and sacrifice. We remember how much thanks we received for coming to the aid of the Allies against the fascists. And I think that’s why we get involved in conflicts around the world now. We want that old glory back. We want to live it again.
But the reason we had it in the first place is because it was selfless. I mean, obviously we had a definite interest in doing it, but that glory of war wasn’t why we went in. And ever since, I think, it has.
We keep “bringing democracy” to people like we’re fighting the same old fight against first the fascists and then the communists. The only difference is we didn’t invade Germany or Russia in 1933 or 1917. We waited until someone else said, “We need help.”