The past couple of weeks have been busy but also super fun. Here’s a little-except-not-so-little run down of what’s been going on.
London – The British Museum
This was now a whole week ago Saturday. It was my first time going to the British Museum and I saw the Rosetta Stone, the other half of the Acropolis (I saw the rest in Greece, this July), and the throne from the 1896 Greek Olympic Stadium (which I also saw in July), amongst other things. I was excited! I did feel a sense of sadness looking at the sculptures from the Acropolis though, because at the Acropolis Museum in Greece they have left gaps for the missing sculptures, in many ways it feels obvious that Greece should be their home. It was, however, interesting to note the arguments that were presented in defence of the British Museum housing the Acropolis sculptures. Effectively that the Museum is a resource for the world which showcases many different cultures and allows exploration of the connections between them, and in this context the Parthenon sculptures are an important representation of the culture of ancient Athens. Not sure that I entirely share the Trustees’ view that the sculptures are ‘part of everyone’s shared heritage and transcend cultural boundaries’. Maybe a discussion for another day.
The Past Week
Amidst the more routine things, this week I’ve been able to spend my evenings watching given by the Japanese students on aspects of Japanese culture. Highlights include being taught the questionable flirting move ‘Kabe-Don’ and the presentation named ‘Japanese and Toilets are Romantic Relationship’. This was also the week of a Ghost Tour we organised as a team of PAs around Cambridge – complete with face-paint, an old wedding dress, a broken window, and much shrieking down King’s Parade. Also really enjoyed a formal hall and then a thank you dinner. I’ve also been enjoying walks, to Granchester and along the river.
But most excitingly of all, I received this card from Tabitha in the post:
I’m going to be a bridesmaid in September 2017!! I am so honoured and so, so excited! I tried telling the Japanese students why I was so happy but there was a bit of a cultural gap and none of them quite understood what I meant by bridesmaid. I continued in my happiness!
This week Saturday, I went with about 30 students to the village Ely, about 20 minutes train from Cambridge. To my shame, I have only ever been twice before – and only to get a connection onto another train!
We walked about the village and through the market, and I then took seven students up the West Tower of Ely Cathedral. One of my students, bless him, wasn’t such a fan of the dark, stone, spiral staircases up to the top of the tower, or the whole heights- thing. I at least, however, really enjoyed what our tour-guide Douglas had to say, and would happily go again. There is lots of art to enjoy around the cathedral, and an exhibition on stained glass windows which I didn’t have time to see – so maybe something to do mid-term this next year…
When we got back, I spent a couple of hours finalising details for the trip to Stonehenge and Bath the next day, and then had the cutest evening at Bill’s – my favourite restaurant in Cambridge. I had the roasted aubergine, mushroom and chilli dhal (as per), and massively enjoyed both the food and the company of the four students I went with. I then watched Monster’s Inc. with Toru, Risa and Kenjo. Such a good day.
Stonehenge and Bath
Yesterday was a big day for me. I was the main leader on the trip to see Stonehenge and the Roman Baths (which I had also booked and organised), and I felt a little too grown up being ‘the Authority’. But thankfully everything went to plan and there were no fatalities.:)
I had an amazing time! They are just the most fantastic students to take out on a trip. They don’t complain (even when queuing in the rain), they are on time and they are also really quiet on the coach! Everyone just sleeps! Ideal. The progression of the weather yesterday was absolutely everywhere but the wind was constant. My hair was so tangled by the evening that it took me a good ten minutes to get a brush through. Haha fun times.
Two of the guys, during the whole queuing-in-the-rain-saga, held umbrellas over me as we waited and cheerfully called themselves my ‘crazy wingmens’ (find a photo below). Because we are all such good friends now, I call some of the students ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and I am called ‘sister’ in return. A couple of them are also calling me ‘Angel Rachel’, which is obviously inaccurate but does make my heart melt!
After all this, it was time to go to Bath where the weather was also interchangeably bright or rainy! I first visited Bath on a school trip back on my 17th birthday. It was strange to visit again considering that I remembered visiting the last time very distinctly, and yet my life has changed a lot in the past two years. It also made me miss having all my sixth form friends around like I did on that first trip. In particular, my friend Corliss has just moved to South Korea for a year abroad and whilst her Instagram posts are just incredible (cocoinsoko insta), knowing she is at such a distance makes me miss her a lot! However, I know that she would be proud of the ways I am learning to pose in photos Japanese style – peace signs and tiny finger-hearts are in!
I am very lucky to be able to go to all these wonderful places with all these wonderful people! And if you’ve made it all the way to the end, congratulations! You’ll be glad to know that’s all for now!