Places visited recently: Stratford-upon-Avon & Warwick Castle
When my class visited Shakespeare’s hometown last week, I felt very bonded to the people I have been spending so much of my time with these past two months. Between stealing seats at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatre, singing Adele songs in the middle of a pizzeria, posing with awkward statues in a castle, or beating and getting beat at card games on the train ride home, I laughed my way through two eventful days in Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.
But all great things must come to an end, right?
I have less than 5 weeks until I return to the States. Time has been so ephemeral here. And once I leave this place, things will never quite be the same. The people I am used to seeing every day will be miles away, some will be states away. I hear some people talk about taking classes together in future semesters or doing other things together in groups who all go to the same school. I didn’t feel left out exactly, but I knew that I didn’t fit in to that future. This time in London was my experience with these particular people, and while I know I’m going to keep in touch with some of my friends on the program, that number will be a precious few. Not because I don’t care about everyone here, but because once I step on that plane and leave London, their experiences are no longer tied to mine. It will be then that we see who has formed lasting connections and who has not.
Tomorrow night, I register for spring semester classes at PLU. It will be my last semester of college. A disturbing thought considering how well I remember my first day of freshman year. So much has changed since that day when I waltzed into my dorm room and introduced myself to my roommate. I talk to her every now and again, yet not nearly as often as I should. But I think that’s a part of life I have to accept.
People come into your life like shooting stars, bursting with fire until they slip silently away. So very few people are permanent. Part of the trick is learning how to tell the difference between the two, and how to let go of the ones that are only there for a short amount of time.
I love these people I’ve met in London – for who they are and the experiences they’ve given me. I know they can’t all requite my appreciation, and I’m learning that that’s okay. We were all thrown into this new situation together, and I think that forced everyone to get along and be friendly. Forced friendships never last, no matter how hard you try to hold them together, and no matter how real they may be at the time.
So we will go our separate ways, bonded by our memories but torn by our futures.
(I would also like to add, mostly because I have parents reading this, that I did in fact learn a lot on this trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, both from a historical and a literary perspective. I have a love-hate relationship with Shakespeare, so I appreciate his talent as a writer and was interested in the history of the town, including his birthplace and his gravestone. I just was not as connected to it as personally as some of my fellow classmates. Obviously, this will be different when I visit Jane Austen’s grave next weekend.
To prove that I did in fact do academic stuff in Stratford-upon-Avon, here is a picture of Shakespeare’s grave:
Also, did you know that the local doctor of Shakespeare’s time, aka his son-in-law, recommended white wine to his patients suffering from vertigo…white wine strained in peacock dung, that is. The stuff you learn in school these days.)