Another day in the UK brought something totally different from the first. After lazily waking up around 10am, we made our way to the Victoria Coach station to catch the bus out to Northampton, the small town where Simi and Orin grew up, and where Liberty Drum Corps rehearses out of.
On the ride out there, even our conversation was a little different from some highlights from yesterday; we compared schooling systems, political systems, sports, and of course we discussed more things that were positively British. Some of those topics ranged from what “pants” means to them vs. what it means to Americans (note: “pants” in British English is actually “underpants.” Don’t mistake the two… because I sure did a few times). Another thing I found incredibly interesting is how present everyone is, especially on public transportation. More times than not, people would be reading the paper or just chilling out; whereas in Chicago, people constantly have their headphones in and are glued to whatever’s on their cell phone screen. That’s been a pretty nice part of this trip for me, since I don’t have an International plan, I haven’t felt the need to constantly be glued to my phone. It’s kind of nice to be a little detached.
Anyway, leading Liberty Drum Corps color guard rehearsal that afternoon was incredibly humbly and a little eye-opening. The group of about 10 girls worked so hard for the three hours we were spinning, and even though it wasn’t a crazy different experience teaching them compared to some of the guards I teach back in the States, it was in a way. They tried to apply everything I had to say to their spinning almost immediately, and visibly seeing that they were understanding the concept of what I was talking about and trying to adjust their technique to match was really cool to watch.
This was also the first time I was teaching a little bit of work without working to make it fit into a mold, which was really cool. I’d start to show them the next move, and hearing their responses to the first sight was really awesome. But breaking it down, teaching it, and seeing them execute it was an even cooler feeling.
Even though I was only working with this guard for the afternoon, I’m so glad I got to be a small part of their color guard journey. We took the last 15 minutes to talk about drum corps and if they had any other questions, and even though there wasn’t much, it was really fun to share with them some of my color guard experiences. Thank you, Liberty DBC ‘guard for putting up with my weird sayings and strange teaching style for a rehearsal.
The rest of the night was really nice — we stayed in Northampton with Orin’s family (who were all incredibly welcoming), his mom made spaghetti (I forgot how long it’s been since I actually had a home-cooked meal, and it was absolutely fantastic), paired with salad and an English pale ale (mmmm), and more conversation about how I got involved with drum corps, school, work, family, and Scandinavia. It was pretty cool.
After dinner we ventured out to a local co-op and Squirrels (the local pub) for English chocolate and a village bar experience. At the pub, we ran into two of Orin’s local friends and witnessed the end of a bar fight. We ended up hanging out with them (his friends, not the fight) for the rest of the evening, and took part in a “pop quiz” (which is basically like trivia night). Apparently that’s a genuine pub experience, so of course I was all about it.
Both of these full days in England were incredible, and for totally different reasons. It’s definitely not often that you have the chance to see some of your international friends for a weekend, get a crash course in the London touristy stuff, and get to meet their family/see the sights they saw everyday as kids. I’m so glad I ended up biting the $30 bullet on airplane tickets from Dublin to Stansted, even if it came with a little bit of stress getting from Stansted to London, because this weekend sure was once in a lifetime.
The goodbyes were real today… stay with us.