I suppose this maybe the last time I will address the wonderful people following this blog.
As I’m writing this, destined for sleep, yet unable to shut my eyes, I cannot help but think about all the amazing experiences I’ve had over the past six weeks.
For me it feels like I just arrived. Literally like I was walking through the door of Cobblestones yesterday, and seeing Vindolanda for the first time. I’m going to miss the majesty of this place. The rolling green hills overlooking the site, the farmers fields outside my window. I’m going to miss the walks home from the Milecastle chatting along the way, or the walks into Haltwhistle finding new areas of the town every time we went.
What I think I will miss beyond everything else is the people. All of those people on site: Andy, Kate, and Justin, as well as all of the volunteers. They made the experience so amazing, involving us in the community that is Vindolanda. From our first moment on site they greeted all of us Canadians so warmly, making us feel right at home. They worked so hard to make us feel like part of the team, and watch us grow as archaeologists and as people. With them we shared once in a lifetime moments at the site. Where else could you possibly be covered in organic material and still be so happy? Where else could you joke around with the Director or Excavations about goth phases and tadpoles? Where else could you find a piece of leather and feel such a connection to history? For me Vindolanda is not just about the earth or the artefacts, or the museum and the views. For me it is about each and every person on site. Its knowing that when you walk into that place that there is always a smiling face waiting for you, happy that you’re there to help and to learn. The atmosphere created by the staff and all the volunteers is amazing and something that I could never forget.
I don’t want to sound mushy or cliche, but I hope I never forget all the people I shared my experiences with, especially those I came here with. First of all I can’t forget them because they are in so many of my photos, but also because how could you forget your friends? Back home when all of us first met I knew that there were some people I was already friends with, but I didn’t know everyone. I was unsure if I would become friends with everyone on field school, or if we would be condemned to awkward eye contact and forced conversation about readings and assignments. All I can say is that there is a special bond that has been created with all of us.
There’s something special to be said about our friendships. An ocean away from home and family we became our own little family. We were each other’s support group through the difficult hikes, or days when we didn’t feel like smiling. This group made each other laugh so hard they cried, whether it was intentional or not. Everyday there was always something to talk about. There was always something that you wanted to share with each other, anything from finding something cool in your trench to a good joke. These students made me feel so happy to be here. There were times when walking together through England that I felt infinite because when you are with people this amazing you can feel that way.
All of my experiences here would be nothing without these guys. They’re the ones who made the trip. They made me smile, and laugh, and see things in a different light.
Beth and Alex are also too people I could not leave without mentioning. These two are the ones who brought me here. They encouraged me to come and try new things here. They pushed me to my limits out of my comfort zone to see and do things I never thought I would. If you asked me six weeks ago if I would be hiking up massive hills or Rick Rollin’ I would have laughed. But now things are different. Thanks to my amazing professors I tried so many new things and had all sorts of new experiences. They are truly two of the most amazing people I have ever met, academic or otherwise. To them I want to say thank you. They did so much for us, and for that I will always be grateful.
It is with great sadness that all things come to an end. For me the saddest part is having to say goodbye to all the friends I’ve made over the past six weeks. But one thing my family always taught me was that we never say goodbye, only that we will see each other later. And so I won’t say goodbye, not yet. For now I’ll say that we’ll see each other later. For my fellow students and my professors I hope to see them throughout the summer and in the year to come. And for the friends I’ve made in England, I hope we meet again. And to all of you reading this, please keep in touch. This blog is special and each year will come to represent a group of wonderful students, so please keep following, your views mean so much to us.
Thank you all and farewell for now,