Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Final Reflection - Eric - Official Post

For starters I will clarify that this is not Grace posting but rather Eric (darn google gmail). In considering the past 26 days its hard to decide where to begin. I suppose I will start with the things that I enjoyed the most on this trip which are a bunch of things you can imagine. Obviously I enjoyed seeing all the various castles and cathedrals though specifically I enjoyed such places like Caernarfon, Conwy, and Pembroke, so in general all the castles in Wales, as well as the cathedrals like York Minster and Salisbury. However, there were several more things that I did over the course of the trip that I enjoyed doing as well. I enjoyed going to Eden Camp, a museum dedicated to World War II, I enjoyed taking a train throughout the Welsh countryside and seeing all the lakes and mountains that it had to offer and I enjoyed going to the British Museum on Tuesday and seeing the Rosetta Stone and several other very cool exhibits. As you can see there were a variety of different activities that I enjoyed and that was perhaps the best part of the trip. By definition the trip is set during the Middle Ages; however, throughout this trip we have experienced a variety of different sites that have spanned the entire course of British history, from the pre-historic times, 6000 or 7000 years ago, up through the Romans and the Middle Ages to World War II and Churchill. Having a the trip not being strictly Medieval helped me to better understand Britain as a whole. I saw how the country and the people have developed over time and how the different eras progress and transition into the next period in history.
I have also enjoyed hanging out with everyone on the trip. Since we are only a group of ten we got to know each other and hang out with each other as well. I've gone around England pretty much with Julia and Jenny, sat and ate in pubs with Cassie, Tate, and Adam, as well as played quite a few games of fuseball with Tate (though were both too evenly matched). I've enjoyed getting to know everyone and have many good times and memories with them.
I will make a brief statement about some of the troubles/problems we've had in England. While this is not an extensive list nor are there any major problems that we had there are somethings that I've experienced here in Britain that I will not miss when I go home. First of all is BACON. Now I'm a person who likes ham/pork/bacon and anything in between and one of the main things I am craving is a lean piece of pork. How is British bacon (default term for all pork) different from American bacon you might ask well the answer is the amount of fat. The bacon here tends to have a lot more fat on it and even though it might add some flavor it becomes too much when you scrape of the fat and you're left with a piece 1/3 the size you started out with. I could continue to rant on about some of the minor inconviences (and I mean minor), but I won't, I just wanted to make my case for pork.
Now back to more important comments. One of the things you tend to notice when you're in a foreign country studying history is obviously the differences between the Britons and ourselves. In America we tend to think that our 400 years of history have acheived great things; however, that is nothing compared to what Britain has experienced. Britain has experienced change over the centuries; however, for them that change is much more gradual. In traveling through Wales I have seen great deal of patriotism. I cannot count the amount of times I've seen the Welsh Dragon or St. David displayed around Wales. At the beginning of the trip I probably could not have told you why this was the case. After traveling through Wales and seeing some of the castles and other sites I have grown to appreciate and understand why the Welsh feel so strong about the national identity.
Overall, I have had a wonderful time in England, I certainly wish I could have stayed longer and seen some other sites (Hadrian's Wall comes to mind), but this leaves and opportunity for the future to come back which I think I would. Though I am just as excited to get home as well and see my family.


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