It is hard being a Ginger at the beach. We grow accustomed to a lifetime of holidays demanding Factor 50+ sunscreen; to a recurrent bitter envy of the gorgeously bronzed bodies all the other beach-goers seem to possess; to the snide comments of weather-beaten old women as you walk past: “Ooh, HE needs a tan!” Pointing out how many arm freckles you have in the hope that someone won’t notice your cold whiteness. Skin peeling off from your shoulders. Allowing your exposed torso to turn puce.
In some ways North East America is a land of non-surprises. You could predict, for example, that there would be a Dunkin’ Donuts about every five miles. Or that Abraham Lincoln would be used as a media symbol both by those wanting you to do something, and by those wanting you to do the exact opposite. But I am proud that I managed to shake up the norm slightly during my family holiday there. Because surprisingly, I did tan. A bit. Here is a photo to prove it.
So apart from travelling to distant lands, what does a soon-to-be third year Historian do during the second vacation? Many will be busy doing research for the (optional) dissertation – which can be on any subject you’re interested in, provided it’s feasible, original, and that there’s a supervisor willing to take you on. Currently a friend is in Washington DC doing his original research (he failed to inform me of this until I’d left the area, cheeky). Those who choose not to do a dissertation take another examined paper instead. Having chosen the latter option, I have had a blissfully work-free summer, and have spent a lot of time catching up on things missed in Cambridge – TV, sleep, parental contact etc. But it’s not all been fun and games. I’ve also started volunteering at a local museum, based on the site of a medieval priory of Augustinian canons. I’m currently doing a research project for the museum on the history of transport in the area, so have been getting used to the banter of office life.
A final holiday planned – Tunisia for a week in September with lads and ladettes from Cambridge. In my head it’s going to be like The Inbetweeners movie – sunshine, pools, clubs, smashing dance moves, and tight pink t-shirts. Oh and MASSIVE tannage, for definite.