So, I’m back – currently in New Hampshire, with my Aunt and Uncle, who picked me up from the airport. Yesterday was incredibly long and with probably two of the worst flights that I’ve ever had. They were smooth, which was nice, but both legs of my trip home had one thing in common: screaming infants. Three of them. One on the transatlantic flight over, and another two on the two hour flight up. I don’t know what it is, biology maybe, that makes a squalling baby such a horrible thing, but it’s a horrible thing on a flight because of the limited space. The two in the last flight were also RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Fortunately, I had my CD player and Victoria’s Wars to keep my sanity to some degree.
So, I’m back in New England, trying to readjust me biological clock, which is currently telling me that it’s around 2 in the afternoon, even though it’s really 9 in the morning. Aunt Jan and Uncle Tom are currently out to a meeting with a doctor (Uncle Tom had surgery a while back) and after they get back, I’ll head out and go home.
The trip was amazing, and it hasn’t really struck me until now how fast it went by. I have to say thank you so much to people who sheltered me and were able to meet up with me during the trip (And I feel really bad that I didn’t get to see everyone), but because of people’s help, I was able to survive in London and eat at the same time, so I’m thankful for that. Meeting up with people, such as Sara and Naomi was also great, because I haven’t seen them in a long time, and it was good to have someone to talk to, or bug, depending on the hour.
Normandy was surreal. Seeing the battlefields with two Army Generals is probably the best way to see the battlefields, given their background, and we got such a detailed look at the battlefields, that I think I need to go and throw out my paper and re-write the thing. As it is, it needs significantly more research time and writing time, because I’m still finding mistakes in it. (I did get an A for it though, which is a plus). Hell, while I was out there I was able to do some work on it – I found the resting places of four of my guys, as well as their service numbers, exact units and date of death, something that I either didn’t have or was incorrect. Yeah, I’m a geek like that.
Actually seeing Normandy put a huge spin on how I perceived the battle – the books and things that I’ve read don’t really tell the entire story – we looked at terrain and things like that at points, something that I’d never really thought of. And, Normandy is HUGE. Hundreds of square miles, all one fairly continuous battlefield. Most people think of just the landing beaches as where the fighting was – that was just the first day. And, like when I went and visited the battlefields at Marathon, Greece, I got chills thinking about what had transpired there, although in this case, there’s still a huge active local memory for the event. People still remember the battle there, and appreciate us for it. There’s still the bunkers, the beaches, bullet and bomb craters, and I’m sure if you really really looked, you’d find some of the equipment that the allies lost in the airborne drops (they lost almost 90% of the soldier’s leg bags due to prop-blast), bullets, guns and I’m sure that there’s still a couple bodies kicking around somewhere that were just never recovered. The battle here isn’t nearly as abstract as the one in Marathon.
Seeing London again was nice, but a little empty. I didn’t have anything official to do there, like school or work, or a larger circle of friends to hang out with. But, it was nice seeing everything again, the accents, the To Let signs, everything about London just came right back to me, and I was comfortable there. I got to see a bunch of familiar things, like the Imperial War Museum (I did end up finding and splurging on a book on the Falklands War) and some new things, like the Geological Society of London and got to see an original print of William Smith’s first Geological map, which was something like 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide. And lots of walking and bus riding.
All in all, it was a very very fun trip. I’ll have good memories from it, but I am happy to be back home (sorta – soon) and get back on with work here.