Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Hever Castle

Well, it's official: I have a new favorite castle. I never expected to fall so fully for Hever Castle, but it blew me away in every way imaginable. Staying in a castle in England overnight has been one of my bucket list items for ages, so when I was planning this trip, I decided that I needed to finally make it reality. There are a surprising number of castle accommodations in England, but I never thought that one with the provenance of Hever would be open to overnight stays to the public--I mean, it was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn! I slept in the same building as Anne Boleyn (and Henry VIII, since they carried on part of their affair at Hever. Scandalous)!

Thursday, March 28, 2019


I remember the first time I read Roald Dahl's Matilda as a child, the story about a misunderstood, unappreciated, and precocious bookworm who channels her brainpower into telekinesis to stand up to the bullies in her life. I related to her so strongly that at one point I had completely convinced myself that I too would be able to move things with my mind if I could just concentrate hard enough (spoiler alert: never happened). Though my parents were nothing like the Wormwoods and my principal nothing like Mrs. Trunchbull, there was still something so powerful about the thought of being able to use intelligence, knowledge, and wit to overcome whatever came my way. The story stuck with me then and does still, my childhood paperback copy so well-loved that the cover disappeared years ago. 

It's been a really hard year at work--and relatedly, a really hard year for my mental health. To be honest, I've been so busy that I didn't even realize how bad it had gotten until a couple weeks ago when it brought me, almost literally, to my knees. I'm not super comfortable sharing the details yet (although I hope I will be eventually, because I think it's important to be open about mental health), but suffice to say I needed a little magic, and a little (well.....maybe not-so-little) reminder that I have almost everything I need to stand up to my bullies already inside me--even if my bullies are inside me too. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

St. Augustine's Abbey

St. Augustine's Abbey is a ruined Benedictine monastery founded in 598, considered by many to be the birthplace of Christianity in England. The year prior, the Roman missionary Augustine was commissioned by Pope Gregory I to proselytize in Britain. He headed straight to Canterbury, the main town of the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelbert, who was a pagan--Ethelbert's wife Bertha, however, was a Christian. After meeting with Augustine, Ethelbert converted, granting Augustine a pagan temple and surrounding lands to build a church; this church became St. Augustine's Abbey, and flourished until the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw it demolished in 1538. 

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