October.

October always rolls round and my days fill up with too many things to do and places to be. Once again, as a way to remember it, here are too many pictures and too many words.

My half term began with celebration at reaching a breathing point and then excitement and trepidation at what lay ahead the next day. I may do a separate post about this, but then again I may not. My friend and I set off at 4:30am the next morning, with 200 people we had met once before, on a day trip to Poland. We were visiting Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust's Lessons From Auschwitz. Its a project that 2 students from schools across the country have the opportunity to take part in, we had to apply with an essay explaining why we should take part in the project. Its ethos is to educate the wider community of the atrocities that took place and continue to pass on what happened as the survivors age, preventing the ideas of Holocaust Denial from taking over.

A photo of the candles we all lit at the end of the ceremony in Birkenau held by a Rabbi that accompanied us


Okay, this is going to be wordy and long. I warn you now.
Its a 4 part project. The first seminar preparing us for what we would see and informing us that there is no one way to react, a talk from a survivor and some things for us to think about. The second was the one-day visit and a follow up seminar to discuss what we felt and discussing our ideas for the Next Steps. Then we have to produce an assembly, discussion or memorial to pass on what we saw.
I don't think words can describe what we saw. It felt like death, everything surrounded you screamed death. The statistics we learned, the stories we heard, the things we saw. They will stick with me forever. I don't feel I can say too much on the visit because words can't describe what you see and feel when you stand, surrounded by cattle sheds, in the remains of an industrial farm of death. But it is horrific. I felt angry and sad and terrified at the power of humans. And shame that we have not learned from our mistakes.
I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to go, with such educated, supportive leaders, to learn of what went on and tell others of our findings and will never forget what I saw and heard.

Understandably, we returned feeling exhausted, mentally and physically and I spent the day not really doing much. We felt it difficult to readjust to the life we live when we returned, feeling guilty for all our luxuries but had to remind ourselves that this is the life we are lucky enough to live. I went to see Suffragette in the evening which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.

Next day I embarked on a lone trip to London to see a friend from Oxford. I spent the journey reading  and listening to drunk conversations. We met at Covent Garden and went to 26 Grains in Neal's Yard for brunch. Then we trekked to Colombia Rd flower market and wandered through the elegant resident terraces to Brick lane. It was a wash with people but we picked up juice from a colorful fruit stall and oriental food from a market. We spent the rest of the day exploring Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and, accidentally, the RA.


















The next day we drove to Sussex where we visited an outdoor museum that was excellent, wandered around Lewes, waked to the Seven Sisters, embarked on a mad geo-caching adventure in a muddy forest with 4 year olds in more appropriate footwear than I and eaten more cake than the lack of exercise would ever warrant. On our last day we visited Brighton. A day of exploring the Lanes, wandering a long the sea front and eating delicious food in French cafes. I have decided I rather like Brighton.



















After our 7 hour drive, I watched the rugby, went to a Hallowe'en party that felt rather anti-climatic, babysat at 9am the next morning and went to the final seminar for the project.
As I write this I am lying in bed, on Monday morning, after a run and enjoying the luxuries of a late start.

What have you been up to?
Katie x

p.s I spent too long editing photos and now I am going to be late for school ahhhh

Currently: Listening: nothing because I have finished my 3 month free trial of Apple Music and deciding whether I can justify signing up?//Reading: Just finished my favourite Great Gatsby (again)--Little Stranger-Sarah Waters//Loving: the beginning of the festivities//Lusting: another week off

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Katie