Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Going back in thought about wide open spaces..

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Sitting in the middle of this park in Bath I feel completely at peace.  The beauty and simplicity of this place is hard to explain. In some ways it reminds me of a George Winston song—a solo pianist with an air of solitude and joy.  In other ways it’s like Kenny Chesney song— just simple, upbeat happiness…I really want to dance in this park.  So much open space.  People, joy, a little bit of music; it’s all I need. If I had more confidence maybe I would just get up and dance right here. Maybe.

I found this journal entry when looking through my notes and remembered this day in the park at Bath, but those sentiments were not ones I got solely in that park.  There is something different about the parks in London, about the open green space that is different from parks back at home.  Instead of feeling like you’re in a vast open area in the middle of a big crowded city at the parks here I feel like I’m stepping into my own private garden.  There are not that many parks in Boston where I feel like I am in solitude like I am in these London parks.  I have spent significant amounts of time in past summers in Copley Square Park, the green space by the Hatchshell, and even the Boston Commons and Garden.  Even though parks everywhere are intended used for running, playing, and enjoying the outdoors in Boston Parks I never feel like I am completely separate from the chaos of the city; I still here cars, and horns, and yelling, which I have never felt surrounded by in UK parks.

I remember my feeling when I first ran into Regent’s Park.  I had been jogging down Euston Road dodging men and women in business suits until I finally found the opening to the park and it was like stepping into a movie.  The sun was up, the air crisp, a few other joggers in the park and when I came to the Avenue filled with blossoming flowers and running fountains I seriously felt like the female lead in the newest upcoming blockbuster. I went to St. James Park later that week and had very similar sentiments.  Only a few yards away from a main road, and yet it was a place of peace and quiet.


These places make me feel like a child again.  All I want to do is run around, play, and to dance.  But then again, when don’t I want to run around, play, and to dance.

Tags: Amanda

All We are Saying is Give Peace a Chance…

August 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

It has taken quite a while for me to choose a topic for this blog entry. In no way have I not enjoyed every second of this trip, it is just that I do not want to pick something specific. I just want to write about everything! I really loved the Docklands museum, I thought the interior design of each room, and the way each time period was organized truly helped in understanding. Each room produced an equal amount of fact and fun, both of which made the museum so memorable.

Regardless of my inability to make up my mind, today I became extremely interested with the the numerous parks or squares located throughout Bloomsburry. In particular I developed quite a fascination with the Peace Park. After 9/11 Americas devastation radiated through out the country. We frequently remember how tragic this event was and we continue to annually commemorate its date. However, many of us have forgotten, or rather never understood, the 7/7 events that took place in the heart of London. On July 7, 2005 a series of Muslim men took their own lives on public transportation units in response to the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war. Almost 60 people were killed, and about 700 were injured.

I decided to research this incident simply because of my own ignorance. When we entered the Peace Park today, I was overcome with its beauty. The park is rectangular shaped and in the center, surrounded by flowers, is a statue of  Mohanda Karamchand Ghandi. I am unable to think of a better person to represent what this park stands for. In a way, the beauty itself symbolizes our world, and the statue is what our world needs, together they create serenity.

Nothing could have made my day any better. I felt as though the walking tour aided in helping me fully understand the path we take every day, and to appreciate those that have walked them before us.

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Tags: Patsy

Don't Defecate on London: a unique and variant experience in Elephant and Castle (lacking pictures)

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Our day started at the Goodge Street tube stop (no, that is not a bodily orafice).  We took the northern line south three stops to Charing Cross, and jumped lines to the Bakerloo for four stops, and we had arrived at Elephant and Castle in the borough of Southwark.  We had been warned that it was a questionable area.  The reality was far more shocking.  Immediately upon exiting the tube, we were approached by a man with a bloody face (no, not that kind of bloody, but a gruesomely literal BLOODY face) asking repeatedly for help.  After evading what seemed like a potential mugging (considering that the “victim” didn’t ask the nearby policeman for help) we set off through Elephant and Castle.

A walk through the painfully modern local University ensued.  Being a college area there were many take-out and ethnic restaurants.  In fact, the area seemed to be predominately lower class, dominated by Afro-Caribbean immigrants.  Their culture was further depicted by the murals painted in the subway tunnels (which are walking tunnels, not tubes).  We continued our walk into nearby Lambeth, where we found a large obelisk dedicated to King George.  Though hesitant to approach and take pictures of the monument as there were several tramps hanging about, we eventually overcame our apprehension.  On nearing the structure we were immediately greeted by the bare bum of a homeless man, having just unloaded on said monument.  Luckily, he didn’t make it into any of our pictures, though the memory will be burned into our traumatized memories forever.

After this troubling experience we decided that if we didn’t find anything nice within a block, we were returning to central London.  Fortunately we stumbled upon a beautiful Tibetan Peace Garden, ironically adjacent to the Imperial War Museum.  The center was dominated by a large metal Mandala design.  However, the main attraction was off to the side.  A pillar quoating the XIV Dalai Lama in four languages (Tibetan, English, Chinese, and Hindi) read as follows:

“We human beings are passing through a crucial period in our development.  Conflict and mistrust have plagued the past century which has brought immeasurable human suffering and environmental destruction.  It is in the interest of all of us on this planet that we make a joint effort to turn the next century into an era of peace and harmony.  May this Peace Garden become a monument to the courage of the Tibetan people and their commitment to peace.  May it remain as a symbol to remind us that human survival depends on living in harmony and on always choosing the path of non-violence in resolving our differences.” -May 13, 1999

Considering its location in a diverse community it is especially prominent.   The message conveyed by the garden gives hope to the minorities who experience discrimination, not just in London, but throughout the world. 

Leaving the gorgeous garden and its Ice Age Tree Path (we’re not sure either), we entered the Imperial War Museum.  Located in the building that once housed Bethlem Hospital, it is now a wide open space filled with various instruments of destruction.  We chose to explore the morbid and depressing Holocaust Exhibit, which was appropriately desplayed in an age restricted corridor.  Though tastefully done it left us feeling rather sad.  We left.  Returning to the tube station in an attempt to figure out why the stop got its name, we asked a security person whose response was “That’s just its name”.  The only clue was a pub located next to the station called The Elephant and Castle.  The area was, in fact, named FOR said pub, but admittedly we didn’t know this at the time.  We did however make up a highly amusing story to explain the name that we had only ever heard of in Harry Potter.  Ask us about it later. 

Our return was made on the number 68 bus to Russell Square, and we continued on foot to our hotel, where we collapsed in heaps of exhaustion on our beds and had to be pried off our beds with a shoe horn in time for discussion.    Unfortunately, our designated camera had forgotten its memory card reader in its laptop case, so our pictures are currently marooned on said camera.  They’ll come up sometime on Monday or Tuesday.

Tags: Anthony · Campbell · Sarah