The “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” of the First Week

Hello to everyone again!

Welcome back to yet another week of exploring Europe. Reporting live from England, this is your host Jessica with the latest update on my study aboard program. Much has occurred this week, feeling almost as though I have not stopped moving since arriving last Sunday. For this week’s blog entry, I would like to focus on two of the excursions taken this week in my class as well as on my own.

I’d like to begin by talking about my trip to the Kensington Palace today, Sunday the 2nd. Kensington was a marvelous estate, with a sprawling lawn to match the impressive size of the palace. As I explored the palace, I observed some rather amazing things that not only shed light on historical Britain, but on modern Britain as well. The main focus of Kensington is Princess Diana’s exhibition but I’d rather move away from that. Kensington brought to light the lives of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and many more royals who had some connection with Kensington. However, what impressed me is that the exhibits presented by the palace formally acknowledged the importance of female influence throughout the reign of many kings in England. The exhibition was called “Enlightened Princesses” and it showcased a variety of events and decisions made with the help of noble women. It discussed the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte who all married into British nobility and heavily influenced their husband’s decision with their intelligence and wit. It is amazing what women can do with when educated and listened to. These women of hundreds of years ago helped in political, cultural, artistic affairs that even by some standards today, women just can’t seem to touch. Therefore, truly enjoyed Britain’s push to acknowledge the value of women and what wonders the world could accomplish if women were not sidelined. So cheers to you Britain.

Finally, I’d like to discuss Winston Churchill. What a man am I right? But did you he wasn’t always revered as the man he is today? My class took a trip to the Winston Churchill War Rooms and I must say I learned quite a bit about Churchill that I don’t think many American textbooks mention. At first, I thought all we were going to do was walk through his underground bunker, which he orchestrated World War II from, and learn about his time in the bunker. This was not the case as the museum was that and so much more. It was literally his entire life down there as they had a whole museum dedicated to him; every detail from birth to death was on display for the world. I believe what I learned being down in that bunker was the resilience of the British people. Remember when I mentioned before that Churchill was not always admired as he is today? Well Churchill actually had quite the bumpy road on his way to politics. Although he was always revered as a mighty force in the political world by name, he made many moves that nearly killed his political career. He “party hopped” not once but twice in his career, swaying from Conservative to Liberal then back to Conservative; this I have come to learn is frowned upon in British culture. His Navy strategies during the first World War turned sour and was forced to step down from his position as First Lord of the Admiralty.  Churchill never did give up though. Even when he was shunned and not trusted, he prevailed. He saw Hitler for who he was and never let his position against “appeasement” falter. With this he rallied the support of the British people and led his people to victory. So it is only right to have such a man represent the British people. A resilient country with many years ahead of them to bounce back from whatever Brexit or anyone may throw at them. Double cheers to that and to Churchill’s quote for giving me my blog’s title!

That is all for this week, I hope you all enjoyed my insight to the British culture. Until next time!

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