Ten students from East Valley High School traveled to London for 10 days last month with teacher Julie Seipp. The trip concluded last year’s sophomore humanities course, in which the students studied and wrote about 300 years of London history. Here are excerpts from the journal of Holly Ellis-Brown, one of the East Valley travelers.
Nov. 22, 1997
Tomorrow I embark on my journey to England. I don’t think I’ve ever been so entirely excited in my life. It’s like Christmas, only 300,000 times better.
(1:49 a.m.) We are now officially an airborne flight to London’s Heathrow Airport. (6:45 a.m.) I haven’t been able to sleep. Today will probably be very exhausting, though extremely exciting.
(5:27 p.m.) I still haven’t gotten any sleep, though they keep telling me that’s a good thing. I had my first view of London today. Heathrow is perhaps the ugliest, dirtiest airport that could have ever existed. We rode our tour bus to the place we’re staying, the Wedgewood Hotel - a run-down tourist class inn, but very Londonish.
Westminster Abbey is the most awesomest experience. I stood where Winston Churchill was buried! We are now on our way to Windsor Castle. I don’t quite know how to express my awe and admiration for what I am seeing and learning. I mean, I knew why Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned at the tower of London, but I actually got to see it. Absolutely fascinating. I saw a memorial to T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence - Henry VII’s grave. I’m thinking with a British accent now, though I’m not too sure what I sound like.
I am in heaven. Each miniscule drop of oil paint on these canvases absolutely enchants me. I’m at the National Gallery now - Impressionism section. I don’t even know how to describe how wondrous this feeling is. The high point provided by the National Gallery sustained me well nigh past lunch - until halfway through the British Museum. By then I was tired of walking and looking at Roman and Greek artifacts that we (already) saw while they were touring the Cheney Cowles Museum. So, I wandered off to look at the Oriental Antique exhibit.
We’re on the coach to Stonehenge now, 8:45 London time. Awesome! Mary Poppins was filmed in this area. It’s cloudy today, typical England is what the tour guide called it. I think that I probably won’t realize how awesome everything here is until I get home. Everything just is slightly different, in a very good way. All the houses in London are smaller, extremely expensive and most are semi-attached to one another.
Most people have new cars, although I have yet to see anything but economy-sized ones. They have a long yellow license plate in the back and a white one in the front. It’s practically impossible to flush the toilets. They all smile at our American accents.
Stonehenge is the most awesomest place. It’s like there’s a weird magnetic pull, drawing you in. I wish that I could touch the stones. They’re roped off at about 30 feet. I really wish that we could touch the stones. And be there forever and a day. I got Mom a book of astronomy in relation to Stonehenge and I filled my spare contact case full of dirt.
We’re on the road to Oxford now and later we’ll go to Stratford-on-Avon. Yesterday we walked through Hyde Park to Speakers Corner, where I shouted as many people’s names as I could remember - Mom Dad, Sarah, Manda, etc. After Speakers Corner we walked to the Marble Arch. Londoners built it, among other things, to show the superiority of their culture. Then we took the tubes over to Harrods. I doubt that I have ever been in a store so hugely expensive. Everything was glitteringly disgusting.
I’m back in Spokane again. There seems to be this weird correlation between 5 a.m. and jet lag and me. Because, it’s that time and once again I’m wide awake and excited as a circus clown. I had 4 to 5 hours of consciousness yesterday before I fell asleep again on the plane.
I wonder if I wrote everything important down? I doubt it. If so, I would probably have a novel bigger than War and Peace.
I can’t wait to have a normal breakfast.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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