Sarah, London

Sarah is a junior majoring in journalism and art history in Meadows School of the Arts. During summer 2011, she is participating in SMU-in-London.

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Cambridge

“On Sunday it was our custom to breakfast late, and then spend the whole day till dinner-time walking. I got to know every road and foot-path within ten miles of Cambridge, and many at much greater distances, in this way. In general I felt happy and comparatively calm while at Cambridge, but on moonlight nights I used to career round the country in a state of temporary lunacy.”

-Bertrand Russell

An elderly couple enjoyed the peace and serenity in the Orchard on Tuesday afternoon.

“The one habit of thought of real value that I acquired at Cambridge was intellectual honesty. This virtue certainly existed not only among my friends but among my teachers.”

These words, written by Bertrand Russell, a member of the Grantchester Group, were read aloud by one of my classmates as our group of eight sat in the same field Russell sat in only a few decades ago.

Sitting by the river, grass between my toes and reading various passages by different British authors was inconceivable. Truly miraculous. Not much has changed in this orchard outside of Cambridge in the past 100 years. Wild flowers still grow along the edge of the river; baby swans still swim close to their mothers; and, people still come and sit, relax and think. Time stands still in this idyllic setting.

I felt like I was in a painting from the Romantic Period. Wispy whitish-grey clouds filled the blue sky; the sun beat down on my Indian-crossed legs; a cute elderly couple sat on the edge of the stream. It was so simple, yet so meaningful.

The English countryside was just what I needed. The hustle and bustle of London is nice, but nothing beats a truly spectacular afternoon drinking tea and eating scones with your friends.

Before going to the Orchard, we spent our morning and part of our afternoon in Cambridge. Our first stop was visiting Emmanuel College. Well, here, I felt stupid, and rightfully so. I thought Cambridge was ONE university. I was literally like why in the world are we visiting Emmanuel College instead of Cambridge?! My professors would probably shriek if they knew that was going through my head. To clarify: Emmanuel College is part of Cambridge. All of the colleges, such as King’s, St. John’s, St. Mary’s and others make up Cambridge University. For example, it would be like visiting Dedman College or Meadows School of the Arts at SMU.

I don’t think I’d enjoy Cambridge–too uptight and serious. Not my style. But the town of Cambridge is precious!

One of the beautiful bridges seen from a punt ride down the River Cam in Cambridge.

We explored the market in the center of town before settling down by the river to enjoy a vanilla latte and steak baguette (finally found dijon-mustard mmhhhmm!)

After my delicious lunch, I headed to the river for a punt ride. Similar to a gondola ride in Venice, 12 of us packed into a flat wooden boat with blue and green block-patterned blankets and enjoyed an hour ride down the River Cam. We saw famous, beautiful bridges, colleges and cows (random? although, it was the English countryside).

Though my time in Cambridge and in the orchard were short, the memories I will take from there are long-lasting. It was the perfect balance of fun (floating the River Cam, being steered by different people from our group) and academia (pondering in the gardens where generations of intellectuals came to think).

Tomorrow I am heading to the land of my ancestors! Oh, Ireland here I come! I CAN NOT wait. People on this trip are probably ready for me to go because it’s all I can talk about. If I don’t find my future husband, we might have a problem. However, as long as I hear some great live singing (fingers crossed for “Galway Girl”) I think I’ll be satisfied. Eek! I’m ready to leave now!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend! I will for sure be filling y’all in on Sunday night when I return from my homeland! Hopefully I get back in time to go to the Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks concert Sunday afternoon…if not, I mean it’s only one pound 50 pence down the drain…

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