(And one more!) Introducing Camille

15 Aug

Surprise! I’m still on holiday and we have one more surprise special, late entry guest post for today. I am honoured to welcome Camille from Archives of our Lives. I have been following Camille’s blog for a while and am totally hooked. You should definitely go over and check it out. Anyway, here’s Camille (normal blogging will resume when I decide to come back to reality)

When My Parents Told Me I Could be Anything, I Decided I’d Like to be British..


Hi!  My name is Camille.  I write regularly over at Archives of Our Lives, and I’ll be running amok {though some would call it “guest posting”} here at Dreaming of the Country today.  I am both flattered and terrified to write on this blog—flattered, because I have a deep respect for Rachel and most everything British; terrified, because I worry that I’ll come off as just another bumbling American idiot who eats too many hamburgers and has no respect for cross-cultural boundaries.  {In my defense, while I am a bumbling idiot, I nevertheless do try to respect my boundaries.  God save the queen!  [Wait—was that disrespectful?  See what I mean?  I never know…]}

It’s true, though: I am fascinated with England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  I’ve been to England twice, Scotland once, and dream of the day I can see Ireland and Wales.  When I was a little girl {or should I say, “wee lass”}, my favourite movies were “Secret Garden” and “A Little Princess.”  Later, I became obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, and everything else Jane Austen wrote.  My fondest desire in life was to be sent away to England for boarding school.  [This was very disappointing to my parents, who tried to make me feel guilty about my dream: “Don’t you want to live at home with your family?  Wouldn’t you miss us?  What about Christmas—wouldn’t you be sad to live in England over Christmas?  You wouldn’t get your presents!” I was not to be deterred, though—I knew my calling in life was to be British.  It was all I really wanted.  {I suppose I’ve never been very sentimental.}]

The summer after I graduated from high school, I was at last able to take a trip to the Motherland.

I was in heaven.

camille 2(Here’s a snapshot of my scrapbook, which I completed fervently upon returning home from my holiday.  I’m nothing if not passionate about my travels.)

I spent three solid weeks there, trekking o’er hill and dale to see every sight I could.  I tried to see it all—London, Bath, the Lake District; Stonehenge, Pemberly, and castles galore.  I made notes of quirky British phrases, like “wheelie bins” {garbage cans}, “wee tinkle” {quick phone call}, and “I take exception to that” {that offends me}.  I packed way too much, of course—but it was my first international trip, and I had no idea what to expect.  I prepared for everything…

 camille 3

everything except a broken camera.  I spent three weeks taking hundreds of photographs that never saw the light of day.  (This was before digital cameras were as popular, mind you; I wasted at least ten rolls of film, with very little to show for it.)  When I got home and developed the film, I was crushed.  Each and every photo had a giant black blob right in the middle of it. Can you imagine?  It was a trip of a lifetime, and I had only ten or so salvageable pictures to remember it?  Pathetic.

Luckily for me, I have been a writing aficionado from a very young age.  At the end of each day of my trip, I spent hours documenting the day’s events in my journal.  I jotted down every pound and pence I spent and what I spent it on; I wrote down names of cities, towns, and villages to remember; and by the time I got to London (the last leg of my trip), I started writing down things I’d learned while “living” in England.

My faithful journal keeping was the only thing that saved the memories of my first trip across the Atlantic; I’ll be forever grateful for paying myself such an enormous favour.

Here are a few of my life lessons, from the eyes of a 17 year-old girl:

Day 1: The farther you get from London, the nicer the locals are.

Day 2: Don’t spend too much money in one place—it’s depressing later.

Day 5: BLACK PUDDING IS MADE OF DRIED PIGS’ BLOOD!!!  But it actually tastes pretty good.

Day 7: When travelling, one should always pack as lightly as one can.  Seriously.

Day 9: I can make friends with people if I really have to.

Day 12: Buying food at international grocery stores is addictive.  [Marks and Spencers, anyone?]

Day 15: The British Lord Nelson defeated the French once and for all in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar [why I cared to remember this, I’ll never know…].

Day 16: I can miss my family and still be independent.

The trip taught me a lot about life, people, and—most unexpectedly—myself.  I firmly believe that traveling is the best education a girl can give herself—far better than any college degree.  There are just some things that can only be learned from life experiences…

…college never taught me to double-check my camera before a three-week vacation.  May you never have to learn that lesson the way I did.


13 Responses to “(And one more!) Introducing Camille”

  1. maureenlynn August 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    those are very interesting tidbits of information from your journal there. it almost makes me want to get out my journal from my trip to England and reminisce. if only i knew where it was…

  2. chloe86 August 16, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    haha! I did the same when I traveled to France!!

  3. Rachael August 16, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    I loved your blog, and it’s really lovely to think you like Britain, I tell you not many British people do! I hope you can come over some time in the future and enjoy the experiences and quaint British ways once again, and with a working camera!

  4. Linda August 16, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    I would like to award you many, many, Brownie points for knowing that Wales is not the same as England, and I’m sure people from Scotland and Ireland feel the same. Perhaps you could marry a Brit??

  5. Camille August 17, 2009 at 4:13 am #

    maureenlynn—I feel a post coming on!

    Chloe86—Ditto maureenlynn! I think you should post about it.

    Rachael—How could most British people not like their beautiful land? That baffles me! At any rate, thanks for the sweet comment—I’m checking out your blog as soon as I can! I like having foreign friends.

    Linda—Yes! Brownie points! I used to think I could marry a Brit; I ended up marrying a Canadian a few years ago, though. Next best thing! ; )

  6. Holly aka fan of Camille... August 17, 2009 at 5:26 am #

    Camille, you are right. i have always longed to have a degree hanging on my wall… and dont get me wrong, i one day will DANG IT! but… school cannot teach me motherhood, wifehood, or many other things. i am so glad i went on a mission to Boston- it was such an eye opener and taught me more than i think i ever learned in my scanty three years of college. especially being in the Mesa bubble that was my life… it was important for me to get out and meet the world in the face. very litterally… all that contacting and tracting and testifying… it was a rollercoaster that i didnt realize i had signed up for at the time, but now looking back, i am so grateful for what i gained from it all. thanks for expressing so beautifully what i feel deep down inside. you rock.

  7. mameelynn August 17, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    I wish I had traveled more before I got married. I have never been off on North America but I do have to say I have seen a large portion of it. I agree about learning more out in the world than in a class room… now if only I could get a degree from it and make loads of money… I also have had the miss fortune of a dead camera and have no photos of many trips I took recently…. Baby Formula and Camera’s don’t mix…. TRUST ME!!!
    Camille I loved the post as always!!

  8. jenngator222 August 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    Great post Camille – reminded me of my travels right after high school!

  9. Maureen at IslandRoar August 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Okay, I came to visit because you asked so nicely. Good post and good lessons to learn at 17. Been to England once with my daughter last year on an 8th grade trip. Loved it.
    I think it’s so cute you miss your sister and her baby. Wish my sister missed me once in a while.

  10. RatalieNose August 19, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Oh I liked this!!!
    And I completely agree!!!
    I learned alot from my 3 weeks in Paris!

  11. Christal August 23, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Camille love this post because I love all things there too !! I’ve only been to Germany, but can’t wait to go to all the rest!! My brother lived in England and so did my littist sister who married a man from the lakes district where she worked!! Darren also wenr to ireland on his mission and I can’t wait to go there too!! Great post how sad about the pictures I would have bawled!! ttys


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