By Hailey Ibberson, class of 2019
At the Rose Theatre in London, they have built a performance space above the original preserved theatre. It is small and cold with a unique smell, and yet people venture from far and wide to see these ruins covered in water. We understand a certain charm circumvents the idea of timelessness. The Rose Theatre barely exists anymore, but Londoners hang on to it by their fingertips — tracing the original space with lights in the water and building a small stage overlooking what once was. Londoners understand their past is a part of them. As I sat in this cold, small space, I breathed in the memories that linger there. It was early Thursday morning — technically, I was in Enrichment class. It was freezing and I was rubbing my hands together trying to remind my blood to circulate, and still I was in no hurry to leave. I found myself continuously glancing over to the underwater ruins. I had seen them and it wasn’t as if anything was changing since I last looked, but a certain magic exists in the mystery that was emanating from the vintage.
I appreciate all these things — the Rose, walking through Stables Market, the Victoria and Albert Museum– because I came to London expecting the novel experience of connecting to history. I will take these experiences back to D.C. and they will be etched in my memory forever, but I will also take back an awakened sense of adventure, whispering in my ear, “do not take D.C. for granted.” I’ve jumped around from London to Dublin to Edinburgh to Bath to Windsor, and each place has its own charm, but each place has reminded me that I come from a city that has a history and a culture and a people. It is an inimitable thing to be a part of something. I will never forget that London allowed me to be a part of its culture, and I will be forever grateful to it for reminding me of the world I am already a part of.
I am by no means ready to leave. I still have one month and, in this month, I will perform Shakespeare pieces at Hampton Court Palace, where Shakespeare once stood. I will eat many more meat pies. I will have many more conversations will friendly natives on the Tube. I will have many more non-conversations with not-so-friendly natives on the Tube. I will walk through Hyde Park many more times; each time I do these things, I will have a small part of me that is forever grateful I have had the opportunity to know every part of London. In a month’s time, I will return home to D.C. with many stories to tell and many boxes of jam ‘n cream cookies to share.