Meg Goes to Downton Abbey


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We went to Highclere Castle today with the class. The fellowship paid for our admission price as well as coach to and from the University of Surrey.  Pictures can’t quite capture the beauty and detail of this castle.  I am smitten with Britain!

Group photo of our fellowship class. We are teachers from North Carolina studying abroad,. Our class title is "Writing and Technology Integration." We are actually working really hard on some cutting edge technology and current pedagogy on how to engage students of all levels of writing.  Fascinating class.

Group photo of our fellowship class. We are teachers from North Carolina studying abroad,. Our class title is “Writing and Technology Integration.” We are actually working really hard on some cutting edge technology and current pedagogy on how to engage students of all levels of writing. Fascinating class.

So here are some photos. I will be blogging in more detail about this trip later. For now, I am soaking up each moment.

Standing next to a lovely tree on the Highclere Castle Estate (Downton Abbey)

Standing next to a lovely tree on the Highclere Castle Estate (Downton Abbey)

 

This is the countryside to the castle

This is the countryside to the castle

That's me standing in front of Highclere Castle. But let's be honest, we know it as Downton Abbey.

That’s me standing in front of Highclere Castle. But let’s be honest, we know it as Downton Abbey.SONY DSCIn front of the castle

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I met this lovely couple on the tour in the castle and we hit it off. We serendipitously ran into each other in the garden. Their names are Evelyn and Peter.

View from the bottom path of the wild flower field.

View from the bottom path of the wild flower field.

My castle

My castle

 

Sheep grazing on fields surrounding Downton...I mean Highclere.

Sheep grazing on fields surrounding Downton…I mean Highclere.

 

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In the gardens at Highclere. I asked Peter and Evelyn who the statue was and Peter replied, “King Kinut.”  And I said, “Who is that?” He said,, “The chap that held the sea back.”  I laughed and said, “I’ll never hear that description of in America.”  But another teacher in the group said it was actually a statue of something else. For the record, I believe my Brits!  What I really loved about going around the castle tour (inside) with Peter and Evelyn was how they annedocted their own culture’s history. I watched as they stood facing two uncaptioned photos in the great hall upstairs at Downton (I mean Highclere) and bantered back and forth about the Countess who owned the property, hypothesizing that the photo was in fact of Diana. Or they mentioned how they saw Charles’ nose in the photo of the young girl.  It was lost on me, but I gather they thought that it was a picture of the Countess. I really liked watching the Brits walk around inside the castle.  Sure, there were plenty of Americans on the tour but there were so many people from England.  I wish I had more time to talk to more people.  But I have very good luck meeting the people I am supposed to meet and I was supposed to meet Evelyn and Peter.

 

Packing


Packing really sucks.
I’m sure it’s a picnic
for the poised
but I’m not

I’m one of the unorganized
not one of the spice cabinet alphabetizers

I hate packing.
Mostly because I have to make a million micro decisions.

Should I pack two tubes of travel size toothpaste or just the medium size tube? Pack the medium tube and just one travel size.

It’s discipline mode.
I had to try on every outfit
I wanted to bring
just to make sure it was comfortable.
If not, it didn’t make the cut.
Off the team like a fat kid cut from the select soccer team

Ligistics. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t pack it.
But that dress would look smashing at a night club in Soho.
You’re not going to Soho or a London nightclub.
But there’s always a possibility.
Shut up.
Be Sensible.

I was overthinking it when I wanted to go get new clothes because the clothes I picked to bring are not all that comfortable. Come to think of it, none of my clothes are super perfect comfortable.
That is my mistake: thinking that a new wardrobe would be more comfortable.
Then again, nothing is perfect.

I got the job done.
I’m tired.
Time to sleep next to my husband for the third to last time for two weeks.

Minimalism


Minimalism is a great catalyst for clarity.

Packing light for trip to UK. If you want to know more about why I am going to England, you can read more about that here: My Go Fund Me campaign. I was selected as a Borchardt Fellow and will be joining other teachers from the Research Triangle in a sunmer study abroad course, Writing and Technology Integration at the University of Surrey.

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This is in the couryyard at my school where I teach 6th grade Special Education.

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I am packing this photo of my travel savvy grandma via my xell phone wallpaper– reminding me to embrace change as well as being outside my comfort zone. Juney (my grandma) went to Europe twice by herself in the 1920’s.  She also went to Cuba in the 30’s in her 30’s. She was born in 1898. You can learn more about Juney and her work as a gourmet cheg and business women at the Community Kitchen blog (http://evanstoncommunitykitchen.wordpress.com).

Everytime I use my phone,  I feel Juney’s love and confidence.  I oscillate between utter giddiness,  fear, insecurity, and excitement marinaded in curiosity about my upcoming trip to England. I have never been to the UK.

Well, I intended to only post that simplicity statement. I will be blogging and social media-ing (it is a verb to me), so kindly follow me on Twitter @memomuse1 or on Instagram  @memomuse if you fancy. This journey is going to be epic!

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Hope. Wish.  Dream. Be.

P.S. – Happy 4th of July!