One of our assignments for my travel writing class was to write introductions. We read three styles of introductions written by three different authors and then we had to use those as models for writing our own introductions. This piece is modeled after the way Rory Stewart began his book The Places In Between.
I turn out of the arched entrance of Pembroke College and enter onto the sidewalk filled with people. After the peaceful solitude inside the walls of the college, it feels jarring to be out on the city streets that are packed with tourists. I have class soon and I am impatient as I weave through people on their holiday gawking at the extravagant buildings and intriguing shops.
This is now a familiar experience. How quickly I have stopped calling myself a tourist and have become one who walks these streets every day to go to class, the grocery store, and church. Now this place is familiar.
And that was part of my purpose for this trip: to become part of this place so I can call it home for a bit instead of being a complete nomad as I travel. I left Minnesota wanting to come to another country and see what it was like to live there. I am only going to be here eight weeks, so I will only get a glimpse of what living in Cambridge is like, but at least I’ll get the chance to see a tiny bit.
By going to class and living like a Cambridge student, I want to get a somewhat authentic experience, but regardless of how “authentic” the experience really is, it will be a learning experience like no other.