Being damp is part of the British experience

This weekend I took a train out to Cambridge and spent the night at the home of a friend of my mother’s. She works in the art history department at Cambridge University, and I got a tour of the “campus,” which is more of a collection of buildings throughout the city. My host told me a lot about the classic pranks pulled by previous Cambridge undergraduates, and I was very impressed with their creativity. 

In the late 1950s, a group of students disassembled a car, brought the parts up to the roof of a campus building, reassembled it, and left it there. 

On the tower of another building in Cambridge, gifted belayers climbed to the top of a tower and left a gorilla balloon. Administration had to order scaffolding to get it down. However, the process of getting the gorilla down was an overnight task, so the next evening the students climbed back up and put the gorilla on the other tower. Which of course meant that they had to take down the scaffolding and move it all over to the other tower. 

Following the tour, she and her family took me punting. Punting is essentially boating with a very long stick. Passengers sit in the boat and the punter stands on the flat surface at the back of the boat, using the very long stick to push the boat along the river. In accordance with British weather, it ended up pouring down on us even though the weather report said it would be nice. We were all very damp in the boat, but do you really get the British experience if you’re not constantly damp? 

I stayed the night in their beautiful home, with their precious little dog, and said hi to the chickens in their backyard. 

We had dinner all together—Memphis style ribs, potatoes, onions, and peas. It was my first home cooked meal in two months, and it was a wonderful break from spending a lot of money eating out every night. I didn’t realize how much I missed my own family dinners. But I got to hear a lot about her kids, and stories about my mom before I came along. 

The plush bed was a wonderful break from the twin bed and very thin mattress back at the dorms. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten since my arrival in London. 

Although you won’t have my homey experience with a Cambridge expert, the city was incredibly beautiful, and it was wonderful to explore the university’s grounds. 

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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