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Published: September 25th 2013
This will be the start of my regular blog posts. I feel awful that I have not had the time to write, but to be honest, this is the first time that I have sat still in a very long time. Since I wrote last, I have traveled to London and then from the south of England to Southwestern Wales. I have visited Central London, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. I rode past the Globe theatre and stayed 4 nights in a local pub/youth hostel, wherein I learned that I could have fun and learn life lessons at the same time. I have traveled to Kent County to visit Henry VIII's castle of Leeds, Canterbury Cathedral, The White Cliffs of Dover, Warwick Castle. I have walked through the home that held the birth of the great William Shakespeare and have seen the burial site of Chaucer. I have listened to Political debates at Hyde park and have taken a solo stroll above the Irish Sea, felt the wind rush through my hair, and have heard the calling of dreams that have only just started to come true for me. I have been lost in the middle of a
giant city all on my own, have drank more alcoholic beverages than I could ever imagine, have had more philosophical and meaningful conversations than I may have ever had in all my life, and have made friends in places that I would have least expected.
"Keep Calm, drink a Chai Tea Latte, mind the Gap and Carry on."
Over the past three weeks or so, I have seen more history, culture, locations and people than I have ever dreamt possible. I found a home in the tiny little pub of The Queen Elizabeth Chelsea on 58 Bagleys Lane, Chelsea; (London, England.) Here is an excerpt from a private journal that I kept whilst spending time in London:
"I am drinking a hard cider and listening to travelers speak with our kind hearted, and boyish hostel manager Robert about seeing the world. So many of these people are young adults around my age. This is only my first fast paced and worldly adventure and for the Australian girl chatting with Rob, this is one of her first adventures as well. It amazes me to find myself with people from all over the world living together in a half
barroom pub and half residence hostel on the local side of Chelsea. I hope that for my adventurous soul, I may have many more such experiences to come.
Typically, my heart rejects cities. To me cities have always meant boxy, stifling, dull places crammed with busy and bitter people, high prices, and a lack of community. I love London with a burning passion because it is not at all like that preconceived notion of a big city. I have traveled to so many people's home and have been embraced by a culture that I have never known. I feel a part of it now, if only for a few moments as the sound of Irish music and rowdy men shouting at the football match fill my ears and the smell of ale, perfume and cold air reach my nose. Although I know that it may never be possible, I long to live in this country and with these people. Very shortly, I will tell you all why and perhaps very shortly I will have changed my mind, have embraced another town, or have left this place only to return one day because to the Queen Elizabeth Chelsea in London,
England I will say that I will be back."
Whilst in London, I did every tourist event possible to include Westminster, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. I also visited St. Margarets' Church where Sir Walter Raleigh is buried. I could not help thinking at that moment that without that man, I may never have visited those places because it was he whom ventured to my home University's state. British culture, from my point of view is very welcoming, instead of closing myself off at a Starbucks to hoard a table for myself that could fit four people, I am able to sit with locals and travelers alike and have real conversations with them because that is a cultural acceptance. Also too, the drinking culture especially for your people in the USA is an irresponsible mess of non sociable and drunken stupors. In the UK, from my experience, despite the rowdy parties that in all places occur, the pub is a place to create another family and to brighten other's spirits whilst unloading your own heavy heart. The Pub at Queen Elizabeth was not a place to drink for me, although the beverages were there. In fact, if anyone wonders
how I went from being the girl who never ever drank at her home university and whom always kept herself uptight to the lady who shutdown the bar at the pub with its manager, its happy-go-lucky Irish private resident and housekeep, and his best Polish friend Peter; I will happily explain.
I did not feel pressured to drink a guinness, or afraid to speak about topics that I enjoy because the company that was keeping me were the most genuine people that I have met in all of my life. The second night, I promised to drink more than one beer after getting some rest and adjusting. So I kept my promise and spent the night conversing and singing with an Irishmen named Noah, his best friend Peter and our Jersey County hostel manager Rob. In only a few hours, I felt more comfortable with these three people than I have with most of my friends at home. In fact on the 17th of September as I headed to my Uni in Wales, I may have even felt more longing to stay with those three than many people back in North Carolina. I will never forget laughing and joking
around at Noah's disgust when Rob poured his fresh Guinness into a used John Smith's glass, or wanting to cry when Noah spoke to me about leaving home for the first time to seek a new opportunity because something about his story made me realize that I was about to do something not so very different. I will never forget catching a bus with Peter the next morning as he left off to return to Poland for a holiday to visit his mother and his pet dog. His look of genuine happiness etched into such a hardworking face was such a kind and gentle thing to see, and the way he shook my hand made me feel as though I had known him for years instead of just a few days. Then I was off to Stratford Upon Avon and the Cotswolds to see some of the most beautiful places on earth. Before I knew it my time in the London area had come and passed and I was settling into my new home in Lampeter, Wales. My next blog will relay some of my first experiences here in the beautiful country and will attempt to portray the beauty and peace that springs from walking alone above the Pembrokeshire Coast or the awestruck feeling of being such a small and seemingly insignificant being as you stand upon the medieval castle look-out tower of Llansteffan as well as the sense of power that is redeemed with such a humbling emotion. I will relay stories of both comfort and excitement to you as I have settled into my Accommodation, made friends that I feel will last a life time, and have learned lessons that have changed me as a person all before even starting a single academic course! That part of the experience will begin this Monday. I dearly miss so many things from home such as the sunlight, my family, friends and my bed. Yet, I can say with confidence that in this moment I would be content to never return home. I have too much to see and do, too much to learn, too many primary resources to read and people to laugh and converse with. "This is a very different world and if home is behind the world ahead then let me turn upon my heels. For if home is behind, I may never turn toward it again."
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