Being an only child, I am used to doing almost everything alone. My mom worked a lot as I was younger and I spent most of my time doing homework. I consider myself to be a pretty independent person. I am used to participating in activities alone and going off on mini adventures without any companions. A lone wolf, without a doubt. Sometimes it can feel a bit lonely being unable to share a moment of happiness with someone but I have to remind myself that I learn best when I am not influenced by the thoughts, opinions, and behaviors of those around me. When I am alone, I can think best for myself. As I touched on in my last blog, I find solace in the lulls of life. The clattering of the train as it speeds through tunnels on its metal tracks. If you couldn’t tell, I enjoy taking the tube (but less so when it’s busy and my face is in someone’s chest or armpits).
This past week for my British Life and Business class, we visited Maritime Greenwich. On this journey, I needed to take an unfamiliar tube line and a railway line. Here’s where my introverted nature comes into play, I could have asked some of my classmates when they were going to head to the tube station but I neglected to do so because (as is typical of me), “I didn’t want to inconvenience or bother them.” So I didn’t ask anyone, which meant I would be navigating to an unfamiliar part of London alone. But in my typical fashion, I manage with little to no difficulty. This study visit had to be one of my favorites simply due to the atmosphere around the town.
Taking the Docklands Light Railway over to Cutty Sark was an amazing experience. I traveled to the meeting point by myself, so I was able to take in the sights and think without being disturbed by conversations with my peers. Prior to this study visit, I have not been in the newer portion of the City of London and London’s financial district. As the Docklands Light Railway is primarily over ground, I was able to sight see and observe how the district was being constructed around London’s River Thames and smaller canals. The skyscrapers and very lofty towers reminded me of New York City, yet they felt distinctively like London. The living areas were close to the skyscrapers, within a walking distance, unlike New York City’s financial district which can separate its living areas using parks or shopping areas. The older railway, though a bumpy ride, helped me start to understand and visualize the modernization of this very historic European city.
I did not expect the town around the Prime Meridian to be so calm. With the Prime Meridian being the center of time and latitude, I expected to see more tourists, but it was not nearly as packed as over places around London. Our first stop was the National Maritime Museum. We spent around 30 minutes inside the museum, which was not a lot of time to analyze everything, but it was enough time to view some of the main attractions. I enjoyed taking a short break in a room covered in stained glass. The room did not have any lightning which allowed for better viewing of the intense detail and skill of the artwork. The room was shaped like a semi-circle which allowed visitors to get up close and personal to the stained glass. I also enjoyed looking at the boats and pieces of ships that were on display. I do not enjoy being on ships or big boats, but it was interesting to see the sheer size of some of the contraptions needed to power boats used to trade and transporting goods.
My absolute favorite part about this study visit was the opportunity to admire the rose bushes in Greenwich Park and the view of Greenwich from the top of the hill by the Prime Meridian. This was the first time I was actually able to smell a fragrance from roses (which seems odd because I want to be a florist but most of the roses that I have come into contact with have been of very low quality and emitted almost no fragrance.) After visiting the museum, I just sat down at the top of the hill for about 10 mins taking in the view of the park. Despite there being roughly 100-200 people at the Meridian, their voices melted away when I sat down, admiring the view of the park through the clearing between the trees. The grass, though far away from me was as vibrant as it had been when my class first made the trek up the hill. It was breathtaking and I felt inspired to paint the scene, which I hope to do once I return to the States.
Though, there may be many people around us, we can still find silence in the air around us, not because sound is not being transmitted but because hidden away in the noise of the hustle and bustle, the world hums a gentle song that can console those lost in their own thoughts. It nudges them back into reality, reminded them to enjoy the life around them and to live in the moment, instead of trying to plan ahead for times that are not guaranteed. May the world continue to hum its song, tickling the ears of those who will listen.