Today we were again joined by the great Janet Jeacock, who traveled with us by coach to the American Cemetery in Cambridge and then on to the Ely Cathedral, where she served as guide for the tours. Ely Cathedral is a magnificent structure, and its history is indeed rich. I enjoyed journeying with the students through the tower and onto the roof of the church, with a local guide, of course. Following the tour we remained for EvenSong, where the church graciously provided special seating for the Lee group near the altar. It was a lovely service, even if I began to feel a bit under-the-weather. I'll post some images here soon!
In the meantime, here's a link to the Cathedral's website: http://www.elycathedral.org/history-heritage/the-story-of-ely-cathedral
Today more Lee University administrators arrived for a few days. VP Chris Conine and Dr. Matthew Melton, Dean of Arts and Sciences, will be with us as we travel to Oxford, where Dr. Melton will guide our group in retracing the steps of C.S. Lewis. This evening I joined Chris, Matthew, Indy, and John in a walking tour throughout Cambridge. Matthew then took us to a restaurant frequented by the Royals, and we even sat at the table reserved for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They did not show up while we were there, so we avoided having to vacate the table for them. We also walked along the River Cam and Jesus Green, where scenes from the movie "Chariots of Fire" were filmed. It was a lovely evening.
Thursday, January 19th was our first class time in the U.K. After I finished teaching, the students focused on their online courses. Currently, there’s terrific supplemental material to incorporate into the course I’m teaching on the history of shared information and its role in creating/influencing personal/societal realities at various time periods. The current tensions in the U.K. (over Brexit) and the U.S. (over the election and the media) add to our class discussions also. Listening to these students strengthens my hope in the future, because they care enough to engage with difficult topics, think critically about them, and share different perspectives effectively without isolating other ideas. I look forward to our continuing discussions this semester.
The students are finding creative ways to share their U.K. adventure through social media. One captures each day on video and uploads the highlights to YouTube. You can view this video from Day 1 and then see the other daily videos posted as well. Enjoy!
Janet Jeacock was our tour guide as we walked around Cambridge on Wednesday morning, January 18th. She has quick wit and is most interesting. When I first met Janet Jeacock at the beginning of the tour, I immediately saw her similarities to Aunt Opal. She resembles her in looks, but she also walks like her, makes facial expressions like her, and even makes straightforward comments like her. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan now. It was hilarious today when she left me speechless. Explaining to students about some “artwork” drawn on a pub ceiling by soldiers during WW2, she asked the male students if they’d ever seen a naked lady. Then she ever-so-casually looked at me and asked, “And have you ever seen a naked lady?” I gave no reply, but I’m fairly certain my face turned red, which brought laughter to the rest of the group. 😳☺️😂 The students are having a terrific time so far.
After about eight hours in flight, our group arrived at London’s Heathrow airport. Although I’ve traveled “across the pond” to several European countries in the past, this is my first time in the U.K. Our group successfully navigated the airport to meet the coach awaiting to transport us to Cambridge. You’ll notice I’m being photobombed in the background by one of the students in the group.
The group of 20 students and their trip leader (yours truly) departed the Lee University campus at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2017 for our semester in the U.K. After a semester of meetings, dinner gatherings, and preparation, it almost didn’t seem real the time had arrived finally. To say we were excited is quite the understatement.