Sunday, September 28, 2008

Old Friends

There's a cute little song I learned in Brownies:
Make new friends
but keep the old,
one is silver, and
the other gold.

This weekend was my 20-year reunion with classmates from our semester in London. Thirty of us, living together in a cramped bed and breakfast in London's Bloomsbury District, had the opportunity of a lifetime. Weekends in Bath, the Lake District, and Stratford upon Avon. Tours of castles, cathedrals, and country estates. Afternoons in Hyde Park, the Tate Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. Evenings at the theater, concerts, and our favorite pubs.

It was a life-changing experience for an unworldly twenty-year-old like me, and I got to share it with an incredible group of students and professors. We were a huge family. We laughed together, looked out for each other, and learned a lot about the world and ourselves.

Being with this group after 20 years was like traveling back in time, only we'd all gotten a little wiser. Spending time with those amazing people, in that amazing city, was a gift. And it was greater than gold.


Keli Gwyn said...

What a wonderful experience it must have been to spend a semester living in London. I'm glad you had the opportunity.

How neat that you and your friends were able to gather to commemorate that special time in your lives. I'm sure you had fun sharing your reminiscences and catching up.

Of all you saw while you lived in London, what stood out as your favorite? Did you have any funny experiences that bring back smiles to this day?

Anne Barton said...

Hi Keli! The reunion was SO much fun. Just by getting together we managed to re-create some of the unbridled energy we had as college students.

There were tons of funny moments during our Semester in London. (There were also some scary, surreal, and awe-inspiring ones.)

It's hard to pick one, but I really loved our weekend in Keswick. Located in the Lake District, it's a small town with gorgeous views of snow-capped mountains and mist-covered lakes.

While we were there, a dozen of us decided to rent bikes and ride around the countryside. Which we did. My bike was smallish--probably more suitable for a ten-year-old. Did I mention the mountains? (Not hills. Mountains.)

Anyway, we eventually found a horse farm that let us rent ponies to trek around. On our own. No supervision. I don't think there were even trails. Shouldn't we have been required to have licenses or something?

Most of us had never been on horses, so figuring out how to control them (AND stay on top of them) was a real challenge. One friend (who shall remain nameless) bounced so much she ended up completely backwards in her saddle.

Once we got overcame our farm-animal fears, however, we got to see breathtaking views. And it seemed like we were a million miles away from anyone else on Earth.

The outing had an Amazing Race feel to it, and we all walked a little funny the next day. The fact that we did it together made it really special.

O-K, that was a really long comment. :) Thanks, Keli, for dropping by. You've really made me miss London!

Jen said...

Hey Anne - You almost made me tear up you! But had to laugh at your perspective on our Lake District trip. What a trip!

Jen said...
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Kathleen said...

I was like improved versions of our 20-year-old selves. What a great group of people.