Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jolly Old England

First time on an airplane, first time in another country, first time to see the Atlantic Ocean

When I was eighteen, just weeks after graduating high school, I had the joy of traveling to Great Britain with classmates, our English teacher and a few chaperones. It was certainly the farthest I'd been from home and still is.

I loved every minute of that trip. While friends took naps on the bus, I sat with my face practically pressed to the window. I didn't want to miss one hillside, one fence, one barn. Thinking about it now, I get giddy just imagining 18-year old me drinking tea at breakfast with my best friend. Peeking out the hotel window at the lights of London. Ordering a drink! in the hotel bar, legally. Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Canterbury, Bath, Brighton, London. It was AMAZING.

My mom's best friend travels a lot, she's seen so many places and actually took this trip with us as one of the grown ups on the tour. When I got emotional looking out from the top of Dover Castle, she said that I've surely lived in Dover in a past life. She was certain.

One pastime I've happily picked back up since staying home this fall is reading for pleasure. By pure coincidence I picked up a couple of novels by English authors at the library. As I've finished each one, I feel like every thought in my head has a British accent. This reading led to watching several of my favorite Jane Austen movies, which led to watching a British miniseries, which led to watching a movie about The Young Victoria. Netflix now recommends British Period Pieces to me in its creepy "I know what you're watching" way. I've taken most of their picks and loved them all. My brain continues thinking in a British accent and I wish I could find a way to use bollocks in daily conversation. I start calling things bit and saying 'round. I'm a wannabe. Wanna be British.

Today I began reading a biography about Queen Victoria and will then move on to a historical fiction piece about London. I can't get enough.

I hope some day that we can take a family trip to England. I'd love to take J to Stratford-upon-Avon, he loves Shakespeare. And I just know that he'd enjoy Oxford in the same way that I did. I'd love to retrace my teenage tour as an adult, to take it all in again.

Maybe if I start saving now, we can go when B
graduates from high school. I may have to start a shoebox.

For that's how it started for me then. I had a shoebox with a hole in the top. When I got to England I used that money to buy an Oxford sweatshirt, some purple pleather shoes, and a Gap tshirt (what the?!). It was the trip of a lifetime and I hope to share it someday with my family.

Until then, I guess I'll have to settle for movies and books...




Jenifer said...

That trip shaped you in so many ways. My Dad was born in England and it is a dream of mine for our family to make the trip. I want to visit all the places you mentioned and where my Dad was born and went to school.

Thanks for the book suggestions I was able to put two of them on hold at the library.

I could so fall into a movie like Sense and Sensibility!

Midwest Beach Girl said...

If you are looking for a good entertaining read, you should pick up 'Can you keep a secret?' By Sophie Kinsella. She's the author of the shopaholic books. While I didn't enjoy confessions of a shopaholic, Katie and I listened to the other book on CD during a FL-NE roadtrip. We were laughing outloud and I enjoyed the British humor so much that I actually borrowed it from the library later to read.

And don't forget the movie Pride and Prejudice. "I love you. Most ardently!"

*sigh* I want one...

MidwestTwinGirl said...

You pick such good books! You should start a little reading club. I was talking to a consultant from Texas the other day and he was talking about how his wife started a Jane Austin reading group with some of her friends.

I'll read anything you tell me to dear cousin!