Been home for over two weeks now. Got home just in time for the holidays along with having some great times with my parents and enjoyed good food and gifts for Christmas. Although I missed my friends back in England, it was better to be home for the most important time of the year, at least in my mind.
It was nice to not have things be so expensive, as this was my main complaint with England. The pound is so strong compared to our dollar, which is why I figured how so many Brits could travel over here with such a higher cost of living back home. Even with more limited funds in my pocket, a lot of being drained from the trip, nice to have my dollar stretch a bit further.
Hope everyone who went this past semester had a good time, hope all those who are gone for the year continue to have a great time and those about to leave or have just left, get some great memories and build some lasting relationships. Hope all have a Happy New Year.
What have I learned here in England these past three months? Well, for one, America is a great country and I am so thankful to have lived in it my whole life. Two, that Britain is also a great country, and although I am not saying they are better than America, they do share a lot of our values, just beyond political leaders and the big things. The average Brit and the average American would get on quite nicely if they get to know each other. Finally, that Americans aren’t loathed everywhere, and people can distinguish you from others if you put forth reasonable argument and comport yourself with some poise.
Been packing and cleaning my room. Hopefully I will get done with that in a couple hours and take a nap before a 3am flight tomorrow. So exciting. However, getting home for Christmas and the New Year will be nice and allow me to unwind. I have a lot to ponder these last few hours though; all I have seen, all I have heard, all I have felt. A lot of emotions and thoughts go through my head, but I can’t explain much of it. I do know one thing though, I will miss these inescapable feelings.
Last week here in England. Already missing the place a bit already, as I am heading out on the 22nd. It has been an incredible journey and I hope that I remember as much of it as I can. Got to meet some great people, build some lasting friends and learn about a great country. I think I showed the Brits that Americans have a few tricks of their own however.
Had one last jaunt in Liverpool to end the year. A nice city by night, but can get quite rough around the bars/pubs/clubs. If one just looks at the Albert Docks though, or where the Beatles made themselves famous, or when it is lit up at Christmastime all around, you can see it is a little special. Wouldn’t say it is the most cultured city in the world, but it has some tough people and strong identity.
Top photo has one of my best ‘mates’ in England. Josh and his girlfriend were very good to me and I had a great experience with both of them.
The Cavern was one of the best Beatles haunts in the early days. This is where they became famous.
The Liverpool Museum if I am not mistaken. Too bad I didn’t have a bit more time to view it from the inside.
Sorry I didn’t get these in earlier. The site didn’t accept the previous few weeks, but I thought it did. Just reposted them. Odd.
Getting closer to the end. Pretty tough, especially my team. We had our last practice this week and realized it was the end. It was a ride and we got the team some major funding to be a real football team, but the Americans are gone by Christmas. Kind of cool to be part of the beginning and can’t wait to see how it grows. I’ll miss these guys.
Went to a charity dinner in another part of England as part of their Christmas meal. Nice to be invited and to experience a little bit of an English Christmas. Brought back old memories of home and the divide I have of staying or going. I know it is nearly time to go home, but you can’t change things up that much, as schedules must be met and deadlines crunched.
I am hopeful I made an impact on the people I met here and before they go, I hope they appreciate who I was. I know they made an impact in my life.
Our team, or most of it anyways. A heck of a year, especially since they had come from mostly nothing. So much was accomplished and I am proud of the way they are on the way.
The charity dinner gathering. A good bunch of people and made me feel very welcome.
Had a thrilling experience in London. Got to stay with a couple people I met in Poland, who happened to be financial interns in the city. The showed around some great sights and I got to experience both the grandeur and the less known spots as well. My last big trip I think, but I am glad I did it, though it was a bit expensive.
My mother has always wanted to come here and shop, so I brought a fair amount of pounds, and bought her a pair of ‘cheap’ boots from Harrod’s. Only cost me about $200. No big deal, right? Hopefully, it will be a nice present under the tree for Christmas.
I am sort of wishing to come home, but I know I’ll miss what I have here. While I am not homesick, I just realize the time is right to go, but it will not make it an easy leave. My football team is almost done for the year and it is beginning to dawn on all of us it is time. Still have some time.
The top photo is of me crossing Abbey Road, made famous by the Beatles. That was interesting dodging the traffic.
Horse Guard’s Parade. Other than the actual security staff for the Queen, these guys are the big and formal guns that protect the Queen. This is also where members of government might stroll in the back to converse over the day’s events.
I like that picture of Churchill at the Imperial War Museum’s Churchill War Room. This is where he conducted his operations during WWII. Nice to see the Brits aren’t only calling us cowboys.
Had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner here at the university. Met some of the international students I had never met personally before, even some U.S. students. It was a great transition from America, though it still was not quite the same. When you don’t have your ‘home’ or your family, it does take away some of the luster. All in all though, a nice little event.
Busy getting assignments done, as the international students need to get them in earlier than the UK students. Nice we don’t have to do them over Christmas break though. Preparing for some more traveling and some Christmas shopping. Hopefully will go to London soon.
Photo on the left is the Titanic museum in Belfast. Forgot to put that up. Only a year old, but great insight into all about or surrounding the Titanic.
Photo on the left is Edge Hill. Puts many campuses in America in a different light, as this one speaks of a more formal and grand entrance. Dominates the campus.
Week 9 was rather quiet, except for the craziness concerning going to the hospital with one of my new British friends. We were playing American football, as part of the new team here at Edge Hill. He is one of the best player in Britain, which would get into many Western level schools, if not higher. So when he had a guy land into his knee and possibly tear his MCL, a lot of us were rather dismayed.
I went with him at 5 am, after waiting for the ambulance for over an hour. Then we went to the hospital, which was not in town and had to wait even more. After getting him an x-ray, they had no more knee braces, so we had to go back to town and get one there, after more waiting. It was a poor affair for him and I. Hopefully, he will have recovered and not have anymore injuries.
The rest of the week, just explored town and finished up a couple of papers. Since my time here is nearing an end, time to get school finished up, then perhaps one last hurrah besides a London weekend getaway. Hopefully finish some Christmas shopping too.
Top one is the town clock as the town center in Ormskirk. It is sort of the rallying point for all the market activities on Thursday and Saturday almost every week.
An old red telephone booth. Classic UK.
Got to go Northern Ireland and then Eastern England after that when I returned from Poland. Had a reading week for my history program, which is no classes, so I thought I would take advantage of that. Basically had almost two weeks off, just missed on lecture and that was basically it.
Went to the new Titanic museum. Very compelling and showed how life was in Belfast at this time, the lives of some of the passengers, how the ship was built, etc. Interactive and very informative. Would recommend it.
Also got to relax with some people I know in Eastern England. They were very hospitable and had some nice quiet moments in the countryside. Nice to get away from it all and breathe in some fresh air. Then it was back to school.
A computer generated version of the wreck of the Titanic. Has other computers to show certain parts of the wreckage and debris. Very detailed and up to date with recent dives.
Not a great pictures, but the bar in a charity ball I attended with my friends. Got to see the final touch ups and had a pretty good time.
Have had a roller coaster month. Since the first, have only been on campus for a full five days or so. Been to three different places for a long periods, been to the hospital and working like crazy to finish off my school work on a high note. Only a few weeks left for it all to come together.
Went to Poland on the first. Was reminded how Catholic the country was when there was almost no one on the streets, especially for a Friday night. Krakow is a very old city and survived well through all of the last century’s tumults. Also went to Warsaw, which is a very modern and sprawling city. Not much is left of the old city, as it was bombed to ruins several times. Also went to Auschwitz/Birkenau. Ghastly place. So full of emotion, yet so quiet at the latter. Saw a lot of Jewish students for a field trip there too.
Came back pretty exhausted and had to spend six hours in a Burger King to pass the time for a train back. After that, got back and on to the next adventure.
Top picture is translated as work makes you free. This was to those that marched in and out of Auschwitz as they marched to and from slave labor every day.
The government building where the first Polish premier after communism was laying state. Very moving and very fortunate to pay my respects to him.
Wawel’s Dragon. They do exist!
Well, starting to bring American culture to the UK. Have been coaching an American football team for a couple of weeks, getting ready to become a university team hopefully next year. Really difficult, as most sports here aren’t taken very seriously and receive a pittance for funding. Football is even harder to get going. But it is a good exercise and hopefully things will turn around. Been working with the student’s union and with the locals on the team to get more recognition and funding if we improve enough.
Going to Poland this weekend. Going to see Krakow and Warsaw. Should be cheaper than the UK, since the local currency is about 3 to 1 on the dollar. Plenty of partying and expenditure I am sure. Also going to see Auschwitz. Looking forward to it, as it is a big historical site and should be done by any that can, but not excited as it is such a morbid and evil place too. I pray I don’t get too emotional, whether sad, angry or both.
Finally started on my papers. Almost have one done and started on another. This school environment is so much more relaxed, as they only have a couple of graded works, while most of my classes back home have specified assignments, tests and reading almost non-stop. You can almost fall into a daze here, but then things sneak up on you pretty darn quick. Fortunately, I am not behind anymore and am actually ahead of my most in my classes. Fingers crossed on good grades.
The beginnings of our American football team. Should be interesting.