Saturday, December 15, 2018

The 3 Things I Will Miss Most (Sequel)

I began this series with the three things I will miss most from home. I'm excited about home, but there are definitely things I will miss from Canterbury too, so I made another little list -

Walking. I love going on long walks, and it has been so great being able to walk everywhere. Most of the other Americans say they miss driving and are looking forward to having their cars back, but I've enjoyed having long walks as an integral part of my day. Instead of having to make time for a walk at home, it's just my primary mode of transportation. And I've gotten to explore a lot more of the city and become more familiar with it because I walk everywhere.

Travel. This is actually rather two part: the location and the public transport.

  • With Scotland above, Wales on the side, Ireland a hope away, and the Continent just over the Channel, it is so easy to travel. For one of my classes, we went to Bruges for a day. Basically everyone here has been to at least 3 other countries. When you talk to British people, they casually talk about weekends in France or holidays in Germany, Spain, Italy. You don't even have to fly if you don't want to. Like I said in an earlier post, the US is like the whole of mainland Europe, so people travel to different countries like we travel to different states. 
  • I know it sounds crazy, but I actually quite like the public transportation here. There are so many trains and buses, and they're  actually pretty nice, because so many people depend on them. Unlike in the US, lots of students and adults don't have licenses, and some never get them. Having a car isn't such a priority here. There are so many more pedestrians, and, in fact, the traffic light system is entirely based on pedestrian crossings, not other four-way stops. As someone who vastly prefers walking to driving (purely as a method of transportation, not because of other, more pragmatic factors like time, independence, etc.), I appreciate being able to walk everywhere, and I think the rides are nice. 
The Cathedral. The Cathedral is the big thing in Canterbury and has been for centuries. Even Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which is what we think of, is really about pilgrimaging to the Cathedral for healing from St. Thomas Becket. As a student, I can visit the Cathedral for free, and I've definitely been taking advantage of that privilege. Both the interior and the grounds are breathtaking, but I also love that they still use it as a Cathedral and place of worship. In addition to Sunday services and special ceremonies, they read out the Lord's Prayer every day to remind people that it's a holy place. They hold evensong each evening, and Sacred Space is the Wednesday night worship in the Crypt. Cathedrals are cool, but the Canterbury Cathedral is something special.

I began this series with the three things I will miss most, but I also said that I want to appreciate everything I have while I have it. Canterbury has been an invaluable experience. Home is always in my heart. Instead of longing for something else, I want to cherish what is. I'll hold the memories fondly, anticipate the future boldly, and be happy in the present. It sounds easy because we're so used to hearing it, but it's not really an intuitive practice. You have to be intentional and mean it

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