The title of this post refers to the dominant shape of my mouth throughout my trip to Devon for Easter. It also describes how my mind felt after using the same superlatives over and over again, having exhausted my vocabulary that couldn’t measure up to my surroundings.
Devon is breathtaking. And vocabulary-stealing! Honestly, even though my days in the countryside were filled with good feeling and relaxation, I did worry a tad that I wasn’t talking enough, mostly because I couldn’t match any words to my emotions! I’m going to stop trying to explain it any further besides insisting that DEVON IS BEAUTIFUL and this trip was surprisingly introspective for me (lots of musing about various life/love/work philosophies and whether or not I’ll permit myself to snapchat again, come June), so I won’t be writing as much as I normally would.
To start, here’s a little glimpse of how my heart felt as I raced on the train across the country past thousands of old and young Artiodactyls. They dotted the emerald fields, little white and black specks. The little ones were the most fun to watch (obvi): they often clung to their parents’ sides or practiced being a sheep by burying their noses in the grass. However, the most dear thing they did was leap every which way. They way that they bounced reminded me of those feelings when you start to fall for someone that are just bursting with hope and zest for life and giddiness. Maybe they were falling in love with life? Or maybe I just wrote a really embarrassing sentence relating sheep and love? (no, that’s a definite.) Sticking with it. The world needs more unapologetically sappy sheepoets! (OMG LOOK AT THIS!!! “Quantum Sheep” is a type of poetry! Click here for some fine examples!!)
And now that I’ve taken a short tangent, here’s what I’ve been building up to this whole time: LEAPING SHEEP!
Facts about the trip: I stayed with a dear friend (and her husband) of my Auntie J, who live in a thatched-roof abode in mid-Devon. Retrospectively, I realize that they told me a ton of information about their lives, their choices, and by being with them, I learned a heap about having fun while balancing the weighty aspects of a full life. They were so gracious, warm, and welcoming (as was my quilt-covered bed!) Quaint, quirky, hilarious decorations filled the snug rooms and greenery poured out from the ground outside, with bluebells, daffodils, and violets reaching towards the sun.
Maybe it was just a product of my current reading material, but the setting seemed to have multiple connections to Frodo’s Shire. Yes, it was Easter, but imagine abundant gift-giving, cozy homes, dirt/gravel lanes, and generally convivial neighbors. The physical environment was very hobbit-esque too: full of green moss and arching hills.
Also worth noting that the morning I left from Paddington station, I briefly conversed with a ticket agent in pig latin. I didn’t just start speaking it or anything- he slipped out some humor and gave me the opportunity, so of course I nabbed it. Just as my dad does, I think the trigger that led to our unique little interchange was that I first greeted him and asked how he was doing. He immediately perked up and apparently greased the alternative-language-gears. So there you have it- a little friendliness goes an onglay ayway! 🙂
And now for the pictures! (Sidenote: I can’t believe the number of times I’ve referenced cats on this blog about studying abroad! I’m not even a cat person! What’s happening to me?!?)
My hosts graciously drove me up to Dartmoor, a huge national park that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles during his stay in what’s now the visitor’s center! Upon standing on a hill and peering out over the stark, muted landscape, I understood how a savage monster could live here. Sheep and semiwild ponies wander around. There are also remnants of ancient communities that are now mostly concurrent circles of stone.
And now comes a confession that undermines my entire study abroad log.
When I came to London with my family, I first tried clotted cream at the Crypt Cafe below St Martin in the Fields church. As I’ve previously described, it was life-changing and wonderful and yada yada. So when I booked a trip to Devon, home of the original clotted cream, I was even more excited to taste “the real thing”.
So after seeing Dartmoor, we drove through the hills in search of a proper cream tea to satisfy the lone item on my Devon bucket list. We found a cafe, I placed my order, and this lovely thing appeared:
Look at that dairy delight! Lactoseful luxury! Temptational topping!
It was MUCH different that what I’d had in the crypt: it was extremely thick and very subtle in taste. Therefore, it pains me to say that I named this blog after what my hosts suggested was probably a whipped type of cream that wasn’t actually clotted. But that’s okay. I still enjoyed my Devon cream tea and obvi my first cream tea, even if it was sort of fake.
Here are some final pictures. And to end this post, some final points about my stay in Devon:
- Birdsong abounded
- Sunshine wasn’t always available but the blooming flowers everywhere kept it sunny
- It was so real. As in: authentic, genuine, true.