On May 17th to June 1st, I was in England on a British Literary Tour. It was an AMAZING experience!

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My Memoir:England
©Devin Berglund

Fantasy V.S Reality Essay One
Is believing, the same as seeing?

When I was younger, my family went to visit my grandparents a lot and in the evening before supper we would sit in their garden shed—really there is a better name for it than that because it wasn’t really a shed. It was really classy. We used to eat our meals out there on warmer nights to enjoy the weather and each others company. Along the edges and above the windows there were little treasures; old glass pop bottles, tin containers, wagon wheels, and other momentums that held secret keys to some person’s past. I thought they were all old, as in ancient buried treasure. Even though they were old, they were not OLD, as in ancient. When I stepped foot into England I realized how young of a country, the Stars and Stripes are. Our America…

I was there with a group of students from my school, on an English Literary Tour. It was a 2-week writing class while we toured the British Isles. We got to visit many amazing places with ties to all of Europe’s History and also learned about many groundbreaking events that happened in those ancient places. There were significant things I learned and one major thing as a writer I imagine what things will be like before I am actually there, I call it the fact of Fantasy vs Reality.

I remember watching the History Channel with my dad, it was a show on Stonehenge and I was probably about 10 to 12 years old. I found myself wondering how in the world it was created. Questions filled my mind from who the strong, mysterious people were that moved gigantic stones into the middle of a green field in England. To why they would even build it or why they hadn’t recorded anything?

When the History Channel show came to an end there were no answers given to any of my questions, because no one actually knew the story. It was unknown. I still don’t like it when people make shows on things that no one knows the answers to: Stonehenge, Atlantis, the end of the world, and also the Bermuda Triangle. If they don’t know the answers then they should just postpone making a show on it. Instead they should research and research before the publish something on it. Then when they finally do make a show on it, maybe the people watching these shows would think that there was actually some groundbreaking fact that was uncovered.

In London a few girls and I were talking about how we (Americans) have heard the British history stories since we were little. Having heard them that young, we put them up on the bookshelf with fairy tales because they happened in a land that was so far away.

When you are a young child learning about some ancient historical thing and you live nowhere near it (so the hope of seeing it is almost impossible) you have to use your imagination. I remember closing my eyes thinking what is it like there? Then I would paint the picture in my mind. It was a beautiful picture, mind you. (Which, shows you that when you have never seen something—there are always pre-conceived ideas to what that place is like.) Usually my mind would run away wildly with the pre-conceived ideas. I found out that there is a fine line between fantasy and reality.

When I was younger I imagined that someday far away in the future I would see Stonehenge and that when I was there, there would be a blue and orange painted sunset in the back of the shadowed stones sticking into the sky. I imagined that it would be standing in an emerald field with no person around.

That was my fantasy. Now when it comes to reality, it was a very different thing, indeed. I got there. Awestruck; I was as I think any person would be, although, I stood there staring at it (almost in disbelief.) and it seemed that it wasn’t anything close to how I had imagined it. Go figure, because my mind runs away with my imagination and there is usually no way of going back from it. Reality was that there were probably more than 200 people there, the grass was not emerald green but instead it was yellowish-green as though it hadn’t been watered for along time or as though a dog had peed all over the field. There were thousands of sheep in pastures fenced off all around the area and there was still no answer to how it had been created. There were ideas and theories and even legends, but never an answer.

When you are actually standing in front of something that is as old as time or something that you have heard about since childhood, there is also a surreal feeling of “Wow… I am actually standing in front of the old Stonehenge that is as old as the first pyramids of Egypt.” I felt awestruck that I was actually there in front of Stonehenge and also a “Oh, this is it?” feel since my fantasy of Stonehenge was nothing even close to the reality. Don’t get me wrong though. Stonehenge is an amazing historical landmark to England and it shows how deep the English history is—even if they don’t know how it was created or who had made it. It is certainly a must see when in the UK.

Fantasy V.S Reality Essay Two
Was it a Never Happily Ever After?

A beautiful lady stood inside a tower of a magnificent castle. She glanced out the window, her skin was pure white as snow. The wind picked her long ginger hair up. Her father was the King of the happy kingdom and she was the princess. She wondered when her Happily-Ever-After would come.

I also remember the first time that I watched a Disney movie with princesses in it. I knew that I was a princess and that I would someday find my prince charming and live happily ever after like all the princesses in the Disney movies did. What made it even more amazing is that there were and are kings, queens, princes, and princesses that are real.

They were not only restricted to fairy tales. They were also real people who actually lived in stone castles. I thought that their lives must have been beautiful, spending luxurious lives in palaces, sitting on their thrones in jeweled crowns with nothing to worry about. Sounds perfect, right? Thing is that was my fantasy and not the reality.

My first experience with a real princess (I never met her, but I remember staying at a hotel somewhere and watching the news.) was in 1997 when The Princess of Wales, Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident in France. Her life wasn’t easy. Paparazzi and news people were always around every corner to spy on her next move and to steal pictures of her and her young boys. I found it so annoying. As a royal, who would want to have people with huge lenses following you and hiding obviously behind things while taking pictures of you without your permission?

As I grew up I heard more and more about other Kings and Queens of old.

I remember sitting in History class, while we were learning about King Henry the 8th, as I glanced at his picture I remember thinking he was really ugly. I found myself sketching on his picture on my text-book and it was then that I realized that he resembled my teacher a lot. Was it the reincarnation of Henry the eighth standing in my history class? That could be a scary story on it’s own! The more that I learned about Henry, I realized that I was not a fan of him. I may have also not liked him much because of my teacher either.

One of the only things that I knew Henry the 8th for was all his wives that he was known to get rid of so that he could move on to new meat. So from moment one I did not like Henry the eighth.

Then when we were in London on May 19th, 2010 it was the anniversary date of Anne Bolynn’s execution at the Tower of London. She was King Henry the 8ths second wife. She had been executed on May 19th 1536 for charges of adultery, incest, and treason. Doesn’t sound like a princess movie, does it? Where was her happy ending? A skilled swordsman’s swift blow? Doesn’t sound happy to me and it surely wasn’t. It was a tough and horrid time. But, anyways I ended up being at the Tower of London on the anniversary of her execution 474 years later.

There are many other Kings and Queens that went through non-fairytale like lives. I believe that the fantasy of England having royalty, makes common people from other countries think that the royals lives were perfect like in Disney movies.

My first day in London after my roommate and I got to the hotel and unpacked, we wanted to find the Peter Pan statue, which is in Kensington Gardens. So, we stepped out of the hotel and went at it. After finally deciphering the Tube map and asking for directions we got off at the Tube stop that we were supposed to and found ourselves wondering down this beautiful street with big, big houses and beautiful trees. The houses were beautiful and I learned later that they were Embassies. It was Embassy Road and soon we came upon this big black iron gate which ran a long a huge estate. It was something special, something important if it was being protected by these huge black gates. I found myself thinking is that Kensington Palace? I didn’t think that Kensington Palace and the Gardens were that close to one another, even though they both have the same name Kensington, you would think they were.

It had reddish-orange bricks and many chimneys. We walked farther and found a guard. We asked, “Is this Kensington Palace?” “Where the Princess Diana lived?” and he told us that it was indeed the Kensington Palace where Diana lived. In amazement of finding myself so close to something that I didn’t think I would get to see struck me by surprise.

I promise that this has something to do with the princesses, kings and royal people having non-fairytale like lives. You see there was a girl named Victoria who was next in line for the throne and she was born in the Kensington Palace. She was underage and needed a regency in order to serve as queen while under 18. But, her mother was very controlling and kept Victoria away from people and other children. She was made to sleep in her mothers room until she was queen and her mother also made sure that someone was holding her hand at all times when she went up and down the stairs.

That doesn’t sound like a young girl growing up as a Queen. But, it was—it was Queen Victoria’s story.

Victoria and Diana both underwent different trials while living at Kensington Palace. It wasn’t an easy life being a Princess or being a Queen. I think that people have been majorly misled by Disney and Hollywood to believe that Royal people have perfect lives and are closer to gods than people. When in fact they are just like us. They are just normal people. Although, they were born into a bigger and tougher picture than most people realize.

Making your Fantasy a Reality
You Have a Story

If I asked you what your story is, would you know? Or would you look at me with questioning eyes and an answer like, “Oh, I am not sure that I have a story or that my life will ever really amount to anything? It’s pretty much impossible to be noticed anyways.” You would finish saying, while glancing off in another direction while changing the subject.

What If I told you that you do have a story to tell? There were 2 boys who probably didn’t think that they were going to have a story to tell that would be world known either. What is the possibility of a few people being noticed in the whole world, anyways?

While in Liverpool, a place called Woolton I got to see where an amazing music legacy began. It was there that Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time. When their names are mentioned everyone knows that they were part of the Beatles. They wrote beautiful, cheery, and also some tougher songs as well.

“Here comes the sun,” “Let me take you down, Because I’m going to… Strawberry Field. Nothing is real, nothing to get hung about…Strawberry fields forever.” “Hey, Jude… don’t make it bad…take a sad song and make it better.” “All you need is love.” Their lyrics were made with true artistry and literally full of imagination. They probably had no Idea that one day they would be the next big thing after Elvis. In the book Imagine this, which was written by John Lennon’s sister mentions that John Lennon’s family loved listening to Elvis and that he was a huge Rock N Roll icon for the world. Did John Lennon or Paul McCartney know that they would be a huge part of ROCK N ROLL and that there is the funny part, Shows that we all don’t really know?

The Beatles are one example of people that made it big, had a story to tell and they did. They made their own choices; some good and others bad. But that is people, some people make decisions that make or break their life.

Another person who I really found myself thinking about a lot while in England was the person that we place up next to Einstein and Beethoven. His lines are known around the globe. Some include:

• “The course of true love never did run smooth”.– Hamlet

• “See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!”-Romeo and Juliet

Who other than, Shakespeare? He is known as the best writer the world has seen.

When I was at the Shakespeare museum a video said that if people hadn’t known of Shakespeare’s plays or if they had not been archived and taken care of—all his work would have dwindled away. And he would have been unknown. Which, brought me to think about all the people before and during and even after Shakespeare’s time that wrote amazing things and their things were not archived or taken care of—causing them to erase that person’s existence or so it would seem. I talked to another girl about that and she told me that if there had been some other writers that were good like Shakespeare then their work would have been remembered and noticed and saved. I would have to say I don’t believe that. There is a right time and certain choices that people would have to make in order to be someone.

When I was in Shakespeare’s house I found myself imagining about the young Shakespeare who was sitting in the kitchen writing on a tablet about his creative and genius ideas many years before. Did William Shakespeare know that he would be considered the world’s best writer? I don’t believe he did either, he just went with what he loved doing.

It amazes me how these artists are just two different examples of people living in unexpected times with an amazing talent and drive which led to an amazingly successful life. They changed the world as they knew it to the world as we know it. Now we need to be the ones to stand up and change the world as we know it to the world as our children and children’s children will know it.

See my point? You do have a story to tell, if you like it or not—it is a story and only you can tell it. Like with Shakespeare and the Beatles (It was only them that could do it) and those that didn’t follow through or archive, their things were forgotten. So, don’t be forgotten. Achieve for greatness as Shakespeare said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”


• “Here comes the sun.”- The Beatles

• “Strawberry fields forever.”-The Beatles

• “Hey, Jude.”-The Beatles

• “All you need is love.”-The Beatles

Imagine this– Juilia Baird

• The course of true love never did run smooth”– Hamlet, Shakespeare
• See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!”-Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

• Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”-Twelfth Night, Shakespeare

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