More lessons from a London New Year


Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part story composed of journal entries from Hickory Ridge High School marching band members during a trip to London, England over the holiday break. Entries have been edited for length.

Day 5

We loaded the buses and rode for an hour or so to Oxford. There was a grey, gloomy tint to the sky, and the purr of the bus engine lulled me to sleep in no time. When we arrived, we saw the church-type thing that Harry Potter was filmed in. It was actually built in the 1800s, yet it looked old.

(Oxford’s) biggest rival is Cambridge. Oxford’s color is Duke blue; Cambridge’s color is light blue like Carolina. How ironic is that?

We went to eat at The Eagle and the Child. This was the place where C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien met. I got a club sandwich and a cappuccino. 

We drove for another hour and saw the beautiful countryside. I was in awe of how green the grass was. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Then we went to Windsor Castle.

I walked up a hill and starring me in the face was a castle… a CASTLE. And no, it was not make believe. It was just radiating majesty, and I could tell that locals esteemed the building highly.

There were a lot of secret doors that aren’t so secret anymore.

Then we rode back home. We prepared for “Wicked”.

When the Elphaba theme started, I cried. I was in London, with my favorite people, watching my favorite show. It was hard to register.

At intermission, me and Mr. White talked about how outstanding “Wicked” is. I got a hoodie and a program in hopes to never let the incomparable performance slip my mind.

-Emily Poppen

Day 6
Last day. We woke up, not too early, around 8 a.m. and ate breakfast. 

(We) went to the British Museum. It was free, which was a first, but really cool. My favorite parts were the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. It was much, much bigger than I thought it would be.

This whole trip has opened my eyes to history and really made me develop a love for travel and learning about other country’s history. 

We lost track of time looking around until our stomachs started talking to us.

After about half an hour, we found a Burger King and ate there.

After that, we went to Trafalger Square for some shopping, but were surprised to find a protest there instead. It was so crazy. They were protesting sending weapons to war-stricken countries.

Then we went to Piccadilly Circus to shop some. There was a three-story Gap! It was crazy. I bought two touristy shirts.

At this time it was about quarter of 6, so we started heading back.

After eating, we came back through the station, took a last look and had a group hug. I really don’t want to leave. I could just live here. It’s beautiful and pleasant and just perfect.

-Meri Jenkins

Day 7
I woke up this morning at 5:30 in preparation for our 11:55 flight to Raleigh. London is an amazing city filled with color and history on every street.
It is very different from the quiet little town of Harrisburg.

The reason for going to London in the first place was the New Year’s Day Parade. Being in the parade didn’t seem like a big deal until I realized how many people were going to see it. It almost made me feel like a celebrity with all the camera flashes.

The video of our performance is on YouTube, and I can’t wait to watch it when I get home.

– Elizabeth Covington

Being a sophomore in high school, this trip was a dream come true for me. Band is my second family, and this trip was a way for me to be with my favorite people, in my favorite place, doing something we all love to do.

Making music is something that can unite people from all walks of life.

– Emily Poppen

I have grown as a person this week. England has opened up my eyes to the past and its importance to my future.

I am beginning to realize a little more every day that my life in the future isn’t going to work out exactly how I picture it.

I am so thankful to have the family I do — a family who made it possible for me to go on this grand adventure. At the same time, I am also thankful for the friends and experiences that have shaped this week into an unforgettable memory.

Through everything this week, I am walking away from it with more than just memories. I have learned more about my friends, strengthened weak relationships as well as grown a little myself. I couldn’t have pictured a trip that turned out any better.

– Elizabeth Covington

The trip marked the end of an amazing two years in the Hickory Ridge Blue Regiment, but it also marked the beginning of the rest of my life.

Travelling — getting out there without mommy holding my hand all the time — was really nice, and I think it also helped me prepare for college. It was also an incredible bonding experience.

Being back home, where the tea is sweet and cold and the food has flavor, has its perks, but I really miss the crisp, cold mornings in England.

Vacations are a necessity in life, and it’s been so long since I’ve had one, that I’d almost forgotten how to live and have fun. This trip brought me back to life. It was an experience of a lifetime.

– Meri Jenkins

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