Elephant and Castle (and a whole lot of packing)

There are only two days left before I fly across the pond for the rest of the summer. I am getting ready by packing my suitcase with stuff and my brain with information. Packing has definitely been a process because I want to bring all the things I need, but I need to be able to easily carry all my luggage so that I can go up and down the stairs in the tube on my way to my hotel. Over the last few days, I have rolled, packed, squished, unpacked, re-rolled, re-packed, un-rolled, washed, folded, and re-packed my clothes. It sounds crazy, but I think I am set now. I just have to add a few last minute things on Thursday and I should be set.

As an explanation for the first part of the title, I have to point you to a map of the London tube system. I have looked over the map many times in the last few days to try and get my bearings in the huge city before I go there. I need to get from the airport to the orientation hotel, so I want to know a little bit about where the different tube lines go. The very last stop on the brown line (one of the lines I have to take) is called Elephant and Castle. Part of me really wants to take that train all the way to the end to see if I would really find an elephant and a castle 😉 . My guess is that I probably wouldn’t find them, but I do wonder why the station is named that way. Although I may never make it to Elephant and Castle, I do get to transfer lines at Paddington Station, Oxford Circus, and Tottenham Court Road, which are all perfectly British names.

I am very excited to go this summer, but I am also a little nervous. I am traveling a long way and I really want everything to go smoothly. I have no reason to think that things won’t go exactly as planned, but you never know. I like to think that if any person traveling (especially for eight weeks or more) told me they weren’t nervous at all, they wouldn’t be telling the whole truth.

I am definitely a planner, so it seems weird that although I know where I am going to be for the next eight weeks, I really don’t know much about what I will be doing during that time. I just got the class and trip schedule for the session, so I have a little better idea about what we will be doing and I know I will find out even more when I get to Cambridge on Sunday. I do know that I will be taking three classes and that I will be spending the second weekend of my trip in Scotland.

I am really excited for the three classes I get to take. They are all very different, but they all fit me so well. First off, for the first four weeks,  I am taking a course called Global Issues for Education in the 21st century. This course looks the scariest (at least after looking at the readings on the syllabus), but I am looking forward to seeing how other countries view education. For the second four weeks, I am taking a Shakespeare course. Ever since I switched to being an English major and saw that you could take the Shakespeare requirement abroad, I knew I had to do it. What better way to learn Shakespeare, than in England (and durring the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 😉 .) Finally, I will be taking one course that spans the full eight weeks–Travel Writing. I have never taken a writing class before and I can’t wait to take this one. The main assignments for this class are writing mini-essays/stories about our trip, so you will get to read those on my blog. Hopefully my writing gets better over the course of this class.

I am really looking forward to sharing this trip with all of you. To my family and friends who have helped me prepare, thank you for all your help. I will see you all when I get back!

P.S. Click on the “Where I’m Going” link on the top of this page. I made a few maps to put things in perspective.