Sunday, February 7, 2010

An Epiphany of the Ages

The years I have spent sitting in my history classroom, listening to my teachers lecture endlessly about the rich history of Great Britain has finally hit me. I used to sit in that class and wonder why the heck it is so important to know how many wives King Henry VIII had or how Florence Nightingale saved many men of her country. I finally get it, it's important because we are supposed to learn from yesterday's mistakes and also, the fact that it actually happened appeals to many people for some reason. :) In the picture above, the London Eye, across the River Thames is behind me. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are across the street from my left. Surreal isn't it?

So far, I have seen most of the tourist spots - Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament (pictured above), Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, and so on. I am in awe with how detailed everything is, you don't see that anymore. Clearly, no one dared to cut around the corners back then. So many people have lived and functioned in these places, it boggles my mind. For instance, I was at a small church in the Tower of London, the very same one where Queen Anne Boleyn prayed her last prayer and is buried. It is amazing how a person lives and dies, but the story has potential to live on forever. I realized then, in order for people to remember you, do something great! Change the world somehow...whether it impacts a family, a community, a country, or even the entire world, do something so people can remember you years after you are gone.

This past weekend, I went to Stratford-upon-Avon, aka famed playwright, William Shakespeare's birthplace as well as Anne Hathaway's cottage (no, not the actress, the wife of Shakespeare...I seriously thought it was the actress and you can imagine my disappointment), I also went to Warwick Castle. It was my first day trip out of London and the environment was so different. It was much quieter and I truly felt like I was in a different country. Warwick castle was beautiful, I enjoyed climbing the stairs up in the towers. The view was breathtaking. The first picture is Shakespeare's house (where he was born), second is Anne Hathaway's cottage, and third is part of Warwick Castle.

Funny story - I went with a couple of friends to go see Buckingham Palace two days ago. At the site, there is a HUGE water fountain with Queen Victoria on it along with angels, horses, and more. It is absolutely massive. I took about 10 minutes worth of pictures of the water fountain and I had no idea the building it was front of was actually Buckingham Palace :) A true American moment.

I am jumping in this picture, with Christina, a friend from New York. Can you find us?? :)
Academically, I have been enjoying my classes. However, I feel that they are stifling my traveling experiences :( haha. I sit in class, dreaming of going on my next adventure. My professors have been interesting, all are from other countries and all have different perspectives to give. It is a unique challenge for me.

My next trip is Bath, a small town about an hour outside of London. It was discovered by the Romans way back when. Jane Austen's museum is there... :) Oh, Pride and Prejudice!

In the country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter, David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that, has been in a word: intriguing.