Me: during the flight *tries and fails to turn off overhead light by twisting the base around and round*
Some random person (sitting next to me): "Are you ok?"
Me: "just trying to turn this stubborn light off"...
Random guy: "that's the aircon. The light is operated by a button in front of you, the one with a lightbulb on it"
Me: "oh yeah. Makes sense." *leans over to turn off light*
Randomer: *sees my hoodie* "wait, you go to Oxford? How many Oxford students does it take to turn off a lightbulb? HAHA-
Me: "evidently more than one". *turns out light* (I had had 6. Hours. Sleep. In nearly 2 days)
You have to love the British sense of humour.
So there you have it, 6 and a half weeks later and I'm right back where I started, physically. However, there's a couple of things that I'd like to reflect on to conclude;
Some numbers -
- No. of museums visited - 15 (Air and Space, National History, Natural History and various Smithsonians, the Freer and Sackler and National Art galleries, NYC Metropolitan museum of art etc.)
- No. of other free attractions - 14 (Jazz in the park, Screen on the Green, Kennedy perfoming arts show, National Archives, Botanic gardens etc.)
- No. of students helped/ taught through the summer camps - over 100
- No. of states properly visited - 3 (Virginia, Maryland, New York - D.C isn't its own state)
- No. of states driven through/ stopped in - 6 (Virginia, Maryland, and then Delaware and New Jersey on the way to New York)
- Approx. no. of Metro trains caught - at least 50
- Approx. no. of Fro-yos, cupcakes and donuts - too embarrassing to total...
I met Americans from Alabama, California, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Maryland, Louisana, Texas, New York and Minnesota. Not to mention everyone's favourite Canadian! (You know who you are!)
It was truly an incredible experience. From arriving into a blur of 4th of July parades, and leaving in a crazy rush from my apartment, with the help of a couple of friends, I feel as though I understand a lot more about the American way of life than Walmart and Baseball (though they are a part of it!)
As a museum intern, a tourist, and a Brit surrounded by (mainly) Americans, I was able to witness the similarities and differences between American and British culture, from a variety of perspectives. The general cheerfulness of Americans, and their undaunted determination was a noticeable feature of most Americans, and of their national mindset. I hope in turn that I was able to represent something of Britain, even if this only amounts to correcting randomers on their historical knowledge...if all else fails then I hope that my accent provided some entertainment ("wait, how do you say "aluminium"? or "say something in an American accent. Just try it.") at least I know the woman behind the till in the local Safeway appreciated it.
Thank you to the people who basically made my time in the U.S. Wherever you are in the world, it's who you're with that makes a good experience great, and a great experience memorable.