As we approach the final weeks of the program, each Core Group adviser took their students to dinner in their respective towns. We ate dinner at a local Turkish restaurant in Finsbury Park. It was the first time that I had eaten Turkish. I was happily surprised to find that I enjoyed the food. There were 10 people in our group with an even split between white and black students. As my friends and I made our way out of the restaurant, we were stopped by a large man and a waitress. The large man blocked the entrance as the woman yelled to us “You need to pay!” We told them that our advisor was paying but it took the word of a third waitress for them to allow us to leave.
We have been told since the first day that we arrived that London is a very inclusive city. It is true. Since the city is so small but holds millions of people, the people have no choice but to be inclusive. England is a class based society. They are more likely to judge a person based on the amount of money that person has and how long it has been in their family than the color of their skin. That moment reminded me that prejudice is everywhere.
The play for this week was Kinky Boots! I had no clue what I was walking into on my way to the theater. The play focuses on two men who fight with the lifestyle that their respective fathers have set in place for them. Charlie’s father wants him to take over the family shoe business and Simon’s father wants him to be a boxer. When Simon takes on a Drag Queen persona, his father disowns him. The two stumble upon each other by chance one night in an alley. Kinky Boots addresses some of the prejudices and hardships that Drag Queens endure. Between the music and subtle jokes, I laughed through the two hour play. I will be adding that to my list of things to do again!
This weekend one of my classes took a trip to Canterbury, Dover, and Brighton. This two day trip started early on Saturday morning. Arriving in Canterbury gave me flashbacks of senior year in high school when we had to read the Canterbury Tales. The town itself was old and sleepy until you reach the main street. Every modern day shop kept the features of the original building that they occupied.
After spending a few hours in Canterbury, we hopped back on the bus and made our way to Dover. We spent our time at the Dover Castle. On a clear day on the top hill overlooking the English Channel, any viewer can see France (which is one 20 miles away). The tour band gave us all access to any of the tours on the grounds. We went through the World War II underground tunnels to the Hospital Ward. The tunnels closest to the surface were 15 meters deep. There were a total of three tunnels utilized during the time, each one 15 meters below the other. The original bed posts, linens, and surgical instruments were on display for the tourists. It is great to see how The English Heritage Foundation has taken many of the historical sites throughout England and preserved them for future generations to experience.
Saturday evening we arrived in Brighton. This seaside town now hosts University students and families who come for vacation. The area reminds me of Ocean City, Maryland — though there are pebbles instead of sand by the ocean. Our tour guide took us through winding alleys and passed a mix of high end shops and market stalls. After walking through the local palace, we explored and indulged in some of the free samples. Unlike the past few days, the sun was out, it was warm, and there was not a cloud in sight. Brighton is a must see if you are traveling through England.
Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Eat. Pray, Love