I studied abroad in Grantham, England for a semester in the spring of 2010. Start from the first blog post to follow my adventures throughout Europe!

Lincoln and Manchester

Greetings from the Harlaxton library! I've been spending much of my time in a little cubical in here lately thanks to British Studies. I thought it was time for a break and time to give you all an update!

Thursday night Harlaxton held the Meet-A-Family Reception, where Clay and I met our "family" for this semester. Our "dad" (David Duerden) was on business but our "mum" (Ruth Duerden) came along with her two daughters (Rosaline and Francis). The couple owns a management business and even a little house in France, where they vacation often. It was so neat getting to talk with them! We talked about the differences between American and British culture. It's so odd that although we speak the same language, we still have no idea what the others are talking about a lot of the time. Everything from food to school grades to slang terms are totally different. We gave them a Kentucky Derby cup to commemorate KY and we made a little cook book with all of our favorite American meals. Maybe a hint of what to cook in the future. The food here is truly quite bad, so maybe we'll get lucky!

Friday morning we left for our school field trip to Lincoln. It was possibly one of the worst days on the planet to be receiving an outdoor tour; it was freezing with a cold, misty rain blowing about. We got to explore about the town for a bit and went into several shops and walked down "Steephill" which WKU's hill really cannot rival--Steephill was practically vertical!

We took a tour of Lincoln castle and luckily we had an awesome tour guide who was just very passionate about what he was doing. He said he didn't get paid for what he did, so he had volunteered to teach us about all kinds of history on such a nasty day. Some of the castle that is still standing was built by William the Conquerer, who was the leader of the Norman invasion in 1066. Almost 1,000 years of history in front of our eyes! We learned about the protection the castle used to offer troops and about the prison located inside the castle. Many hangings also took place there and we learned some of the specific stories which were really frightening to think about.

There were four original copies of the Magna Carta (signed by King John in 1215) and one of those resides in Lincoln. Unfortunately, it was being restored from making a trip to America so we got to see a copy of it. It was still very neat to see the actual handwriting though. Apparently we weren't allowed to take pictures, which we didn't find out until a British security bloke told us to sod off (English slang) so I got a few pictures of it. We also got to see where the prisoners used to go to church. They had to stand in cubicles with bags over their heads to ensure they could see no one but the priest. Scary stuff!

Next we headed to Lincoln Cathedral, which was absolutely massive and gorgeous. The walls and decorations were all very ornate and the ceilings were incredibly high with so much intricacy it blew my mind. It's hard to imagine how all of these things were built without even half the technology we have today. We headed to the Magna Carta Pub after taking a tour of the Cathedral and warmed up there. Then we listened to Harlaxton's choir sing in the church and hopped back on the bus to Harlaxton.

Once we returned, we had about 15 minutes to grab our luggage and a quick dinner. We (Chelsea, Clay, Sarah, Molly, Alex, Kyle, Susan, Jarrod, and Jeremy) took cabs to the Grantham Train Station and boarded our train to Doncaster, which connected to a train going to Manchester. It was a neat experience riding on the train. Traveling really takes so much careful planning and I feel like I'm learning how to do it.

Once we arrived in Manchester we checked in at Hatter's Hostel and met our Australian roommate (Steve/Eddie--he told us two names) and settled in. Most of the crew went out together but Sarah, Clay and I walked around the city and checked out a few of the pubs before calling it a night.

The next morning we got up and got tram tickets to get to Manchester Stadium. Once we were arrived we had a bit of a walk, and then we found ourselves among people selling Manchester United gear everywhere, crazy fans screaming and getting ready for the game, all on a very chilly day. Walking into the stadium was an awesome moment...the field is SO huge and SO green and SO perfect. I stopped in my tracks and stared at it. It made me miss soccer so much! But it also got me hyped for the game.

Manchester City (who I fully supported in my Man U scarf and tee) played Hull City. The atmosphere was so intense! The separation between the Man U and Hull City fans was lined with security guards who have probably taken several punches to the face in the past. Wayne Rooney played an incredible game. He had four goals! The playing was seemingly flawless because these people are professional at what they do. It was far different from American sports. Most of the people at the game probably have season tickets and go to every game because they love their team so much. There's so much history that goes with it! We learned a few Man U chants and tried not to tell too many people we were American--an American (Glazer) bought the team recently and has apparently been putting it in debt. Most of the chants were, "We want Glazer out, we want Glazer out!" sprinkled with positive cheers for the team like, "Glory, glory Man United, the Reds go marching on, on, on!" Manchester won 4-0 and I couldn't have been more pleased with the fun I had watching the game.

We went back to the hostel and rested up, then got ready for the night and went to a club downtown. It was a considerable amount of fun although I spent much of my time making sure everyone was being smart. Which they were! So we headed back to the hostel late in the evening and woke up to be gone by 11 the next morning. Half of the group stayed and shopped while Chelsea, Jeremy, Clay, Jarrod and I caught an early train back to catch up on some homework and be ready for bed by a decent time. On the train ride home we got to see a lot of English countryside, which is what you might imagine with you think of England. It was very beautiful!

Today we had our first British Studies quiz, and if I'm not mistaken, I earned all 10 points! They don't count for much, but hopefully if I can do well on all of them then it will help me on anything I miss on the test. I've heard so many awful things about British Studies that I was glad to get the first quiz over with. Our lecture today was over Henry VIII and his children who became King and Queens after him, so I hardly had to take a note. It was probably one of the most awesome hours of my life. Tonight is our first basketball game (I'm a Harlaxton Lion!) so I'm really looking forward to that. Tomorrow night I'm heading to Edinburgh, Scotland with Sarah, Molly, Alex, Kyle and Eric. Can't wait to update you guys on that! Cheers.
Katie KnechtComment