“I was, in short, a traveler at birth, for whom even a visit to the candy store was a trip through a foreign world where no one I saw quite matched my parents’ inheritance, or my own… it does involve, for some of us, the chance to be transnational in a happier sense, able to adapt anywhere, used to being outsiders everywhere and forced to fashion our own rigorous sense of home. (And if nowhere is quite home, we can be optimists everywhere.)” – Pico Iyer
The wanderlust in my soul has been aching for adventures abroad because it’s been a while since I left the United States. Sure, I’ve had crazy fantasies about jumping on the next plane to any destination outside of the States, but that’s not an option at this point. Instead of moping about, I decided to write about the places that have forever etched themselves onto my soul. I’ve been thinking a lot about Rome lately, but more distinctly , the Spanish Steps.
I read Audrey Niffinger’s book “Her Fearful Symmetry” which was set mainly in and around Highgate Cemetery, a working Victorian high Anglican cemetery. It took a bit of a while to get there–I live in west London and the cemetery is far North–and to actually find the cemetery I had to walk out of the tube, up two two streets, left, another left, and down Swains Lane (which is not easy to find). It was completely worth the visit however. I took a guided tour of the west cemetery, and saw some beautiful statues and maseuleoms and learned a lot about Victorian life by observing how they remembered their dead. It was painfully obvious who was wealthy or who wasn’t in death, some of the graves said where the people lived as evidence of how rich they were. Some also built giant mauseulums to house their families, but those who were poor just had small grave markers.
It was smaller than I expected, and visitors aren’t allowed to go up close to the actual stones which was a bit disappointing. Stonehenge is a bit out in the middle of nowhere, the closest occupants to the mysterious landmark are sheep. There’s def. a lot more to see in Bath! It’s a beautiful city that has so much history. The first king of England was crowned here, and the city has ruins and buildings that date back to Norman and saxon conquest.
I’m spending the semester abroad in London, in the Earl’s Court neighborhood of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I’m doing an internship at the European Bureau of a news outlet and taking classes about international journalism and British Life and Culture. I arrived this Wednesday–an atypical snowy day in London.The cab driver was chatty, but I’ve noticed that most Londoners I’ve seen so far do not engage in small talk like Midwestern Americans do. It’s not a good or a bad thing, just different. People keep to themselves and avoid eye contact on the tube or buses.