Time has clearly put on some winged shoes and flown by because it seems like just yesterday I was writing my introduction blog post. A lot has happened in those five weeks, almost too much to process. It’s probably going to take a couple days to really reflect on this wonderful experience that I’ve had but to facilitate that process, I’m going to use something that I learned from camp when I was younger. At the end of our camping trips, my counsellor would pick up a rock, a leaf, and a stick. We would pass them around and each of us would say something that “rocked” during our trip, something that we would like to “leaf” behind, and something that really “sticks” with us. I know, it sounds incredibly corny but it is surprisingly effective. So without further ado:
The moment that rocked for me was probably our hike in Ambleside. The weather was sunny with a gentle breeze, and the view was one of the most spectacular views I’ve had the fortune of seeing. The hike itself wasn’t too intense and so we managed to walk to a nearby tarn, do some geocaching along the way, and enjoy a nice lunch with a panoramic view. We told stories and jokes and then we arrived back to Ambleside just in time for an exquisite, vegetarian only dinner at one of the best restaurants I’ve visited. It was truly an idyllic experience.
I would definitely “leaf” behind the millions of midges that swarmed the trenches on wet, cloudy, stale, and muggy days. Imagine constantly being surrounded by a cloud while someone frequently pokes you with a dull needle on your legs, your arms, your eye lids, and inside your ears. Although I’d like to leave them behind, I’m certainly bringing back the result of their attacks in the form of itchy limbs. As Professor Greene puts it, “I’ll have something by which to remember Vindolanda during the next few days.”
After two sessions at Viindolanda, what will really stick with me is the fantastic friendships I’ve made both inside and outside the field school. From having lunch with a new friend from Scotland, to practising those years of high school French with a native Frenchman, I’ve forged so many international relationships that I hope to maintain in the future. Plus, from not knowing any of the field school students previously, to becoming best friends with them, I’ve developed lasting friendships with new people at Western.
I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I’ve had for five weeks, and how much I’ve learned in that time. These are memories that I will always look back on fondly, especially the ones where I managed to jump out of my comfort zone and into the stinky anaerobic dirt.
All of this is of course thanks to my star professors, Dr. Meyer and Dr. Greene, the Vindolanda Trust and their amazing supervisors, and of course to our wonderful donors who helped fund this experience. Thank you everyone for providing me with this opportunity and for taking the time to follow our adventures on this blog. I truly hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Signing off for one last time!