Hi everybody! I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. I actually just got home a couple days ago, and it has been bittersweet. But, I’ll get to that later – - I want the focus of this blog post to be my spring break, which took place the first week of April. Although it was a while ago, it seems like it was just yesterday. Many of the people in my school group took a trip together to Spain, France, and Amsterdam, but I used the time to get back to my roots… I visited my dad’s side of the family in England and Wales.
My first stop was the Day household. I was greeted at the airport by two of my cousins, Lauren and Melanie. They brought me home, and I was greeted with a bath robe, slippers, a warm meal, and smiles and hugs all around. It was so wonderful to see the Day family again, for the first time in 12 years. On the first day, I went into London with Lauren and Mel. We had the best day! We rented bikes and rode all around the city. We saw all of the big sights, but were able to avoid most of the tourists. We drank Starbucks in the morning, shopped at Topshop (I bought some posh ankle booties with the help of my posh cousins!), sat across from Rufus Sewell (famous actor) at a swanky Thai restaurant, and had drinks at a gay bar. It was such a fun day – the three of us got along so well and had so much fun catching up.
On Sunday, I spent the whole day with Lauren and Rob. We had a picnic on the coast, took a ride on a swan boat, drank tea and lattes at the top of the Spinnaker tower, visited Rob’s school, and then went home for a homemade dinner cooked by Aunt Alison. I got to meet Rob’s partner, Laura, who was a wonderful addition to the family. Later that night, Rob, Lauren and I went to The Yew Tree, a local pub, so I could experience a typical English pub.
On Monday, I got to spend the day with Aunt Alison and Uncle Tom. We slept in, then visited Stonehenge. It was absolutely freezing outside!! We got most of the way through the guided tour, then rushed back to the car to get warm and eat a quick lunch. From there, we headed to Salisbury to visit the cathedral, a cool museum, and enjoy an English cream tea.
The next morning, Aunt Ali dropped me off at the train station. I arrived in North Wales (Penmaenmaur) in the late afternoon, and was greeted by Aunt Linda and Tony. Right away, they fed me bara brith (a traditional Welsh bread baked by Tony!), and brought me to the top of their mountain (Jubilee Walk) so that I could see their whole village. Then we ate a delicious homemade dinner and took a walk down to the beach.
On Wednesday, we met Kelly and baby Megan in the morning. Then, we went to Conwy and walked on the town walls and explored the town. We had a picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the water. After lunch, we made our way to Llandudno. We went up the Great Orm on a tram, and enjoyed coffee and scones inside the Summit Cafe. Outside, there were amazing views, but it was freezing cold and very windy! Once we decided that we had had enough of the cold, we made our way back down the mountain, into the town, and met Tony at the bookshop where he works. We picked him up and then drove to Enochs, where we ate an incredible dinner of fish, chips, and mushy peas! Later that night, we Richard stopped by to chat and have a drink. What a day!
On Thursday, the three of us went to Anglesey and visited Pili Palas (Butterfly Palace), and drank coffee right beside a meerkat exhibit! We took pictures with the longest place name in Wales, and later stopped at Menai Bridge for an outdoor lunch at an ancient church overlooking Menai Straits. Then we went to Abbey church and Penmon Point, where we got to see a cool lighthouse and great views of the mainland. That afternoon, we had the best cream tea EVER at a little place called the Spinning Wheel Tea Shop. Later that night, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Gladstone Pub with Rich, Matt, and Jess. It was another full day, but we really got to see everything that the area had to offer.
On Friday morning, I took a train to Birmingham, where I was picked up by Uncle Brian. We had a wonderful afternoon together – we ate a yummy vegetarian lunch, visited the Cadbury chocolate factory, and a historical home in Birmingham. When Aunt Christine got home, we caught up over coffee and cookies. We had a lovely dinner that night, cooked by Aunt Christine, and enjoyed each other’s company.
The next day, we drove to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare. It was a beautiful day! I learned all about Shakespeare and got to see the beautiful area where he lived. Once we had seen everything, we made the journey back home, where Uncle Phil met us for dinner. It was so lovely to spend my last night of spring break with my family. After Uncle Phil left, we stayed up talking and drinking wine by the fireplace for hours. The next day, they fed me breakfast and sent me on my way.
I will never forget the love and hospitality that my family showed me over spring break. It was such a wonderful and meaningful trip, and it reminded me of how important it is to build lasting relationships with your family. I learned so much about the Stones family history, and I got to reconnect with my ‘family from across the pond’. No matter how many miles or years separate us, I know that I will always have a loving family to go back to in England and Wales.