Alright, I’m in a bar waiting for dinner (fish & chips!) (& a beer because this day was do perfect i have to splurge) so let’s see if I can get through this without crying.
Alright, so jenny and I stumbled into London at 6:45 this morning and then went our separate ways. She went up to Oxford to visit a friend and I went down to Downe. To Down House. Aka, Charles Darwin’s house.
I couldn’t stop shaking. I got there and it was beautiful and it’s sunny and Down House is super well known for it’s amazing gardens so it was lovely. You have to walk down the tiny shoulder of this tiny street and almost get hit by people flying around the corner but it’s worth it.
So I get inside and I’m still shaking. Because I can’t control myself whenever I’m encountered with anything Darwin related and I nearly started crying as soon as I walked in there.
Anyway, skip ahead a little bit, and I’m still pretty much crying in every room, and I’m easily the youngest person there and if I could guess the only one there alone, so I walk into the room that used to be his daughter’s playroom, and one of the volunteers is in there. And he’s older and his name was Ian and he asks me if I’m enjoying my visit and I must not have been controlling myself very well because when I told him that I was, he basically led me back through all the rooms and told me things that most people miss. Like the details in the pictures on the wall that you can still see in the rooms downstairs. And how the butterflies sit under the windowsill in the schoolroom because of the sun. And how the tree right outside the house is an old mulberry tree that’s literally older than America has been a country. And then he points me out to the end of the garden to the Saltwalk, which is literally the same path that Darwin used to walk when he was thinking, Darwin claiming that was where he did his best thinking. So I walked that for almost a 45 minutes before I had to walk back to the bus.
But the thing that really just blew me away is that I knew pretty much everything in the museum, and I felt so validated. I knew that he was training to be a doctor then a clergyman and then finally a naturalist. I knew that he was hired on The Beagle basically as a companion for the captain rather than a naturalist. I knew why he was nervous about his theory, and why he published it when he did. And it felt so validating. In like… the best possible way. The only thing that I didn’t know was his sister’s name. Which is - wait for it…
Spelled wrong but I nearly cried. Because honestly.
Anyway, I’m going to cry again. I don’t think anything else on this trip will even compare to Down House. Possibly not even The Globe Theatre. I have never been so completely overwhelmed by anything in my entire life.
Alright my food is here and I’m basically crying again.
I love you all.