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University of Missouri

Easter holiday and spring break

by Muhamedali K.

Here in the U.K., they don’t have the same spring break as we do back in the United States. But that’s because they have something way better: it’s a three week break (that’s right folks, three weeks) halfway through the term to let students catch up on work and take a breather. (American universities, take note.) The holiday was a much-appreciated break from stuff like coursework and having to wake up before 10 a.m. As per usual, my awesome friends invited me to their homes and I did another mini-tour of England. And it was awesome.

My first stop was Dartford, which is just outside of London, where I was introduced to panic rooms and cricket. Panic rooms are (yup) where you are locked in a room with a group of people (in this case my friend and his family) and you have an hour to find the clues needed to escape the room. — Quick side note: this panic room was in a town called Gravesend, which is cool enough, but it was also the town that Pocahontas lived in when she left America. — For this specific panic room, we had to solve a series of riddles placed in different parts of the room in order to unlock the locks on cabinet that held what we needed to escape. I am proud to say that I solved a cryptex after only 10 minutes (15) of thinking and got the key that was inside of it. If you ever have the chance to visit a panic room, I highly recommend it.

View of the English Channel

View of the English Channel

Now, on to cricket. It is a great game and a pretty good time, but for anyone who thinks that baseball is a slow-paced game, try watching a game of cricket. In cricket (the version we played), there is a bowler, sort of like a pitcher, who bowls the ball in a windmill motion and gets it to bounce before it gets to the batter. The bowler and the fielders are trying to knock down the three wickets that are behind the batter in order to get them out. That’s pretty much the gist of defense, or at least what I understood. For offense, the object is to get as many runs between the wickets as possible before they get knocked down. There is probably a lot more to this game, but that is pretty much what I got, it is sort of like rugby in the sense that we have similar sports in the U.S., but they’re not really all that similar — different rules and techniques make for pretty different sports. My thanks to the Allen family!

View of Dover

View of Dover

My next stop was a village called St. Nicholas at Wade, which is in Thanet near Canterbury, if anyone’s English geography is up to scratch. It is what I imagined an English village being like and it comes equipped with amazing view and even better people (specifically, the McDonaghs). During my stay I got to go to Dover to see the famous Dover Castle and White Cliffs of Dover. We don’t have too many castles built in the 11th century in the U.S., so it’s quite something to walk around a place that has been around for that long and to think about all that happened there over the years. Looking out across the English Channel from the cliffs and (almost) seeing France was also pretty cool. My thanks to the McDonagh family!

Peverell Gate

Peverell’s Gate

In keeping with my tradition of putting quotations at the end of my posts, I’ll take one from baseball this time because I mentioned it briefly and the season has started. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” —Babe Ruth, a.k.a. the Sultan of Swat

I think that we can all learn (myself included) to be more outgoing, to take more chances; one thing this experience has taught me is that it is better to try and fall short than to let opportunities pass you by.

About the blogger

Muhamedali K. is studying abroad at the University of Manchester in Manchester, United Kingdom.

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