Tears for Shakespeare

Today’s post comes from Queens University of Charlotte student Ben Ruiz, who traveled to London this past winter to study English Literature and reaffirm his love for Shakespeare’s works.

It was the strangest feeling being in another country. A part of me didn’t believe it, and another still doesn’t believe it actually happened. This is the first time I have ever visited a country outside of the Americas. I walked streets I had only seen in movies and television. I visited monuments and historical landmarks I once only dreamed of seeing. Most everything we saw were the types of places most tourists would go to, but it was fun doing it with my classmates, whom I am happy to say I was able to create fun and worthwhile bonds with. Then we met David, our tour guide who was incredibly enthusiastic and just absolutely wonderful. His love for writing and performance truly felt inspiring. He was so curious as to what our activities were and we were always excited to tell him, because it meant we would get fun facts about whatever location we went to. The one place he was most excited for us to go see was Shakespeare’s Globe. His presence is what made the entire first few days truly awe-inspiring.

Although everything we saw was great, I was fearful, because I was one of the only people in my group to not have their “London Moment.” A “London Moment,” as described by my professors, is when one finally feels the emotional weight of seeing something magnificent. We were a few days into the trip when we finally visited the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s Globe was the destination I was the most excited to visit because of a love that has been growing within me for Shakespeare’s work since middle school. Walking through the museum that showed various iterations of the Globe and the plays that were performed in it was incredibly astonishing and added a layer of intimacy with Shakespeare’s Globe that I enjoyed.

Finally, we were allowed to enter The Globe. The moment we walked in, the sight of the stage immediately took my breath away. Seeing what his Globe could have looked like in his time moved me, and I finally received the “moment” I was looking for. I was overwhelmed with so much joy and excitement that the sight of the beautiful pillars and the amazing ceiling brought me to tears. Never in my life have I entered a building and wept, and I must say that I do not think it will ever happen again. From that moment I could feel color and life pulsing through the benches and reaching towards the stage, as if it were guiding the imagination center stage. This became hands-down the best experience I had in London and I am incredibly grateful that I was able to have it. If anyone has doubts about traveling at all, I hope they understand that sometimes, traveling somewhere new could completely change their life and they should never pass up that opportunity.

~Ben Ruiz, Queens University of Charlotte

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