A view of the beach as a rainstorm quickly approaches. (Photo by Charis Hayward)

United Kingdom study broad: Brighton

Great Britain is a vast country overflowing with culture. 

The trip overseas lasted just over a month, but I still feel like I only got to see a very limited portion of it. Most of the trip was spent in Nottingham, with weekend-long visits to London and Scotland that allowed for a better understanding of those areas. 

However, those day trips around the country were still fruitful. In particular, an eventful visit to Brighton.

We were required to visit the Royal Pavilion before we could do anything else, but the real adventure began when we were set free upon the city. 

The first task at hand was to find lunch along with two of my classmates. After a little wandering, we ended up visiting a small, streetside store advertising Belgian Frites. 

The Belgian Frites were french fries that came seasoned to order and were served in massive paper cones. Perhaps it was not the healthiest choice, but it was a delicious one.

We headed straight for the pier after we got our food. It was a blustery day with high winds and heavy gray clouds covering the sky, but my swimsuit was burning a hole in my backpack regardless. 

I had bragged to my classmates earlier in the trip about my plans to go swimming in the English Channel and was not going to let something as measly as the weather make a liar out of me. 

If that meant going swimming in the middle of a storm, then so be it.

It started raining when we reached the boardwalk. The three of us had rushed down to the wharf and were staring out at the water when the storm really started. 

One of my classmates, Angela Yazzie, laughed and said we had to take the opportunity to dance in the rain.

Charis Hayward posing in the rain near the boardwalk. (Photo by Angela Yazzie)

When we were done, we hurried back to the boardwalk to take shelter in a musty cement room that smelled faintly of urine.

The English Channel being cold was not a new concept, however it was not too dissimilar than the lakes from my childhood in Wisconsin.

It felt warm once you had been in the water for a few minutes. The only major differences were the waves that kept knocking us into the water. 

The salt made my nose run until my sinuses were completely clear.

It took a long time to make our way back to our classmates. We had been swept further down the beach than we expected. 

Rather than endure the painful experience of walking along the pebble shore in bare feet, we decided to wade through the shallows of the channel, slowed down by the waves, but soothed by the soft sand beneath our feet.

We stopped to buy hotdogs before rejoining our study abroad group. We were by the time we got to the train station, but I opted to stay in my swimsuit rather than cover my clothes in salt. 

My first priority upon returning to Nottingham was to take a shower. Despite the cramped stalls that served as our bathrooms, it was one of the best showers I ever had. I ended the day thoroughly exhausted and five times as happy.

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