Month: June 2018

Far Away in the Same Place

Yesterday afternoon we made it to our next destination. Haworth is a tiny village in West Yorkshire where the Bronte family lived in the 1800’s. I’ve never heard of it until the class so I was excited to visit. Its literally out of a fairytale. Theres one main street up a cobblestone hill and thats basically it. Tiny cottages everywhere and rolling hills straight out of “The Sound of Music”. When we arrived at the Apothecary Guest House the man working was so startled by my “large case” that he gave me the biggest room. I felt like I was on housewives whenever they go on their cast trip and always fight over who gets the best room. Seniority! We went on a little tour of the church and then found an insanely creepy graveyard behind it with tall crooked tombstones, it gave me serious “Are You Afraid of the Dark” vibes. The dates on the graves were all from the 1800’s, we were stepping all over them which felt weird but there was nowhere else to walk. There was a herd of sheep in a large field behind the graveyard that we tried to engage with, they weren’t having it.

A few days ago one of my classmates fell onto the cobblestones in Edinburgh and scarred her face and lost half of her front tooth. Whiskey may or may not have been involved, we are on holiday after all. It’s traumatizing to imagine, let alone going through in a foreign country without your family and close friends. So on our last night in Scotland two of our other classmates went to the street where she fell to search for her tooth…..and they fucking found it!!!! I don’t know how, I am stuttering in my head right now because there is no way to comprehend how they actually found a tooth amongst the stones and debris on the ground on the busy Royal Mile in Edinburgh. A higher power was definitely involved. Last night we all met at the graveyard to tell scary stories, we gave her a card with her missing half front tooth in it that we all signed and drew on with funny tooth puns and pictures. You guys, this life!

Today we went to visit the Bronte museum, we are in Bronte Country after all. We all have to do presentations on certain authors and I chose the Brontes because they were some of the only women authors to choose from. I’ve never read “Wuthering Heights” or “Agnes Grey” but their struggle to write boldly resonates with me. The fact that they couldn’t even publish their own work under their real names, or were rightfully compensated for their works is an example of how far women have come, and how much further we have to go just to be on a equal playing field, excuse me, paying field.  Just as recent as my grandmothers generation, women, especially black women couldn’t do a quarter of the opportunities I am fortunate enough to pursue. Limited is not even the word to describe possibilities for women, god forbid you wanted to be more than a maid. Coming to a small village like this and seeing how these sisters used their imaginations and creativity that outlasted their short lives is so encouraging to a small state girl like me, with that said, I got to go!

Off and On the Beaten Path

Even though I looked haggard as hell, I’m so happy I stayed up late and posted a few nights ago. Everyday is such a “wow” day that there is no reason not to document it. Yesterday was a long one, but a good one. With the free time we had in the middle of our long but good day I found a post office and got some stamps to mail postcards back home. The night before I saw a picture online of a place called Calton Hill. Its a beautiful look out point to see the city thats perfect for photo ops! The huge gate reminds of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin that I only got to see from the bus. Usually I would’ve went alone but I thought my classmates would thoroughly enjoy the experience as well. It was kind of a wild goose chase to get to, as most worthy destinations are, but we found it! How many flights of stairs can you climb in one day? Whatever the record is, we broke it.

The day we got to Edinburgh everyone kept talking about climbing to Arthurs Seat, this ancient volcano across from where we’re staying. I swore I wasn’t going to, because to me it may as well be Mt. Kilimanjaro. So naturally today I participated because yesterday I said I wouldn’t. True Natasha fashion. I was nervous because we supposedly took the harder route but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I take long strides so the steep rocks weren’t as bad for me, but I was still huffing and puffing every time we took a break.  We met lots of people from all over the world at the top. Russia, South Korea, London, and of course Scotland. We were literally in the middle of a cloud we were up so high. Blame it on the a-a-a-al-ti-tude! We walked across to the highest point. Living on the edge.

Many “oohs” and “ahh” were said. Looking back at how far we’d come was crazy. It’s honestly incomprehensible to me that not only did we climb it, we made it down. It makes me wonder what else I’ve been holding myself back from that just seems so out of reach when it really isn’t. If it wasn’t for my classmates encouragement I wouldn’t of done this. I’m so thankful for them and this experience.

For the Time Being

I’m going to start off this post the same way I start off every post, by apologizing. I’m so sorry, (mostly to myself and the higher power who gave me this talent and passion) that I rarely post. If I had a good excuse attached to my tardiness I’d feel better, but there isn’t one. There never could be one, because there will never be a good reason to not do what you love. I am in Edinburgh (pronounced Edin-brahh). I told myself that I wouldn’t study abroad again, but at this point I should be used to doing what I say I’d never do. I told myself that I shouldn’t do it because I did it last year, that I’m a manager at work, that I should go somewhere else, but I’m so happy I did it. This has already been such a pleasant surprise of an experience. From the Guinness Storehouse in Ireland to the Edinburgh Castle, I am roaming once again (and I don’t mean being charged out the ass by Verizon).

Ireland, As I knew it was only four leaf clovers, leprechauns, Guinness, and people with red hair. Its that, but so much more and I fucking love it. The first leg of my flight was from Philadelphia, and it was delayed an hour so I just made my connecting flight, but my bag didn’t. Now, I know that this happens to probably hundreds of people everyday but it has been my biggest fear for years. I was literally sitting in the window seat in Reykjavik and watched as my brand new 28″ Samsonite full of the cutest clothes Target and Ross have to offer was driven away because the flight was ready to take off. I only had the clothes on my back. Mind you, I literally wear pajamas to the airport. Hair in a scarf, no bra, and old leggings. That look I served for over 48 hrs, not fun. I was ready to cry the second day. I know its just stuff, but its my stuff. The main thing that lifted my spirits was the lovely people of Ireland. Everyone is so genuinely nice. I know what its like to live in a place where people aren’t particularly nice (my hometown, Wilmington, DE) and what its like where people are particularly fake nice (where I live now, Austin, TX). If it wasn’t for the charming gestures and attitudes of the natives I would’ve been balling in the staircase. I know I would’ve because had a good cry scheduled for that evening but my bag arrived just in time!  I went on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and although it was foggy, it was beautiful.

The next day was our first day of class. I use the term class loosely because we aren’t sitting in a classroom, we’re out exploring as a group. We went to the James Joyce Center, and did a walking tour of Dublin starting at Trinity College where we stayed in the dorms. Of course on our own we went to the Guinness Storehouse, Irish Whiskey Museum, and pub, after pub,…after pub. When in Dublin!

Howth the hell have I never heard about Howth, Ireland?! Its actually pronounced “Hote”. It is a beyond words beautiful coastal town only 30 minutes from Dublin by train. We walked up a hill through a beautiful neighborhood to get to the Howth Cliff Walk, then we hiked up what felt like Mt. Everest to the very top to get even more amazing views.

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Today was our first day in Edinburgh. We went to the Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland which was really cool. Every floor had so many artifacts and information about different regions of the world. It was one of those moments when you realize that theres so much you don’t know about the world. Dublin set the bar high so I was nervous about Edinburgh, I wasn’t sure if it would live up to my expectations but it has surpassed them.

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I usually heavily edit my posts, (you probably can’t tell) and change so much before I hit “publish”, but its late in Edinburgh and I have to be up in less than 7 hrs. I want to post almost every night, or at least every few days of my trip. I’ve been hash tagging #travelwithbakari on my  Instagram (@roamifshewantsto) on my posts. Bakari was a young man from Austin who was killed in Greece last year, I don’t know him, but his story really struck my heart. A young black kid who had a passion for traveling and experiencing new things. There aren’t many of us I see out here so by hashtagging #travelwithbakari he can spiritually travel with me to all the places I’m going on my trip!