Winter break is never long enough, is it?
You finish finals, briefly celebrate the semester being over and done with, board that plane to head home and catch up with family & friends and then… Boom “” you’re back in Northrup at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning listening to a professor read through a syllabus.
The cogs start turning in your brain again and suddenly you’re neck deep in homework… Where did that break go!?
For me, it went on a mix of jet lag, hectic family Christmas events and friends parties, late nights watching the NFL and NBA, crying at Manchester United’s abject performances in the Premier League and, luckily, a fantastic few days helping out with a Trinity class in London.
The Sport in London class was in the pipeline for a long time. I remember talking to Dr Tingle way back in the early part of my sophomore year about doing a couple of weeks exploring sports venues and cultural heritage sites in the UK and over a year later the trip was born.
I’d been home for a few days already when I met the group of 12 of my fellow students, Dr Tingle and oach McGinlay at Heathrow Airport. It was weirdly funny watching some other people suffer at the hands of the Texas to London jet lag I experience twice a year. Not that I wish ill on my friends, but this whole trip allowed these lucky Tigers to see a bit of my life and how it works for me being part of the 10% of our campus that is made up of International students, and one of three from the UK. It’s a bit different from the San Antonio life.
This was exemplified by all the new experiences I was able to share with the 12 students on the trip. They learned about the pub and how one might take advantage of the legal loopholes presented by the differences in law between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
They saw the differences in the way sport is done in my hometown to how it is over here. Historic venues like Lord’s Cricket Ground and Wembley Stadium are completely different to those that you would find here, like the AT&T Center or Cowboys Stadium. The sheer monetary corruption of sport is still a few years behind in the UK.
We’re not quite in American “monopoly central” zone yet… However, seeing Dr. Tingle transform himself into a QPR fan almost overnight was like seeing a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. The soccer bug is catching.
But perhaps the most rewarding bit of the trip for everyone involved was a lunch and interview session that incorporated both my past and my present, and 12 of my high school friends met the 12 Trinity Tigers and my family conversed with Tingle and McGinlay.
It’s amazing how different the lives of college sudents from two Western, English-speaking countries can be. Topics of flowing conversation included sorority and fraternity life, residency requirements, sports at university and, awkwardly, the perception of yours truly in England and the USA.
I was worried that personalities might clash and conversation would stall, but I needn’t have even considered this. Learning from people from the other side of the world is a powerful motivator for many people, and it should be for everyone.
Studying abroad, as this definitely was, can really broaden a person’s horizons. However, there are definitely perils of trying to navigate a new city on a week’s notice. Bailing out two of my friends, who shall remain nameless, who walked us twenty minutes in the wrong direction on the way to Wimbledon was a stressful but fun experience. We jumped on a bus and just about made our tour on time. Coach McGinlay was not as quick to forgive the culprits as I was.
All I can say is the sooner San Antonio adopts proper public transport and makes it work for everyone the better this city will become. You guys love your cars too much.
So there you have it. That’s how I found myself back for the spring semester feeling more tired than when I left for the break. It was a lot of fun, as it always is, having Trinity people visit London. It’s strange seeing faces I associate so vividly with San Antonio halfway across the globe, but it’s exciting and fun to share my home with them.
Open invitation to anyone who’s in need of a place to stay in London “” get in touch with me. It’s truly one of the world’s greatest cities. And now for 2016… Hope you all have a wonderful year.
And how about extending winter break by a week!?!?