From the age of three to 14, I grew up in a country that many people dream of visiting, let alone living in. Good old England. A month before my 15th birthday I moved to Florida and for the past four years have been working hard to make the United States of America my home away from home. However, this summer I returned home to England and in doing so experienced it as a tourist would.
When people think of England they think of tea, the royal family and our trademark landmarks like the Big Ben and London Eye. As hard as it may be to believe, in all 11 years that I lived in England I had never actually been on the London Eye or inside the Houses of Parliament (where Big Ben is located). That changed this summer on a day out with my father. We began the day with a train ride into Central London, as we live in Southwest London and traffic in Central London is hectic and borderline nonexistent. In the train I gawked in awe at the artwork of our underground metro system or “tube”, as we called it. It was always something I had loved to see growing up, as I felt it showed British history well and in an unexpected way.
Because I had never gone before, my dad decided to purchase Fast Track Tickets that allowed us to skip the extremely long line and head right to the front. There, we would wait a few seconds before being ushered into our shared pod. The wheel, which is extremely slow, took half an hour up and half an hour down again. During this time, like any good tourists would, we took a plethora of pictures of our view as well as each other before just admiring the city we called our own.
Immediately after leaving the Eye we crossed a few busy streets before reaching the Houses of Parliament where we spontaneously decided to venture into. We were given guest passes and strict instructions as to where to go and our use of technology. After walking through the extravagant hallways, we were allowed to sit in on a live parliamentary debate that was also being televised. It was a great experience that I’m sure we’ll both remember for the rest of our lives. If you would like to find out more about the history or potentially visiting the houses of Parliament I have attached a link (http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/).
Another memorable part of my trip would have to be visiting the Stonehenge. Many people know of it not from its name but from the familiar images of the erect pillars in the middle of a field. On a family day out, my dad, stepmother, sisters and I drove a three-hour drive to learn more about one of England’s most historical monuments. On a guided tour, that’s exactly what we did as we learned about the purpose and evolution of the site. In case you too are curious about the site, here is a link that can tell you more. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/
There was a lot more I experienced on this trip. Overall, I think it drew me closer to not only my family but also to the British culture, which I have embraced as my own.
All pictures belong to me, Natassia Clarke.