Saturday, July 16, 2011

My history with history

I am really looking forward to the history of Vietnam, and Cambodia.  Both the Ancient and the US-related. I've always been interested in and fascinated by history.  The US educational system really falls short by barely teaching kids US history (I never had a class that got past WWII until college), let alone any foreign history. I love to learn it as I travel.  I've thought maybe its because Seattle, though a fantastic city with some interesting stories, is a new city. The whole of the west coast is relative to the rest of the US and the rest of the world.

I went to Washington DC, Virginia, Philadelphia and marveled at the Civil War sights, Liberty Hall and most of the major Washington DC monuments. It was old compared to Seattle.  I felt like I could see the start of the United States. 
The White House and Washington Monument
In 2004 I traveled to London and across France from Normandy to the German border and back. That's old.  Even the smallest towns had churches that were over two hundred years old. The wars, kingdoms, the plague. They'd all left indelible marks on the land and the poeple and helped to form and change the cities and their structure. I couldn't get over the way many of the buildings, especially the churches, had been burned bombed and rebuilt.  You could see the evidence.
A church in Strausbourg, not a big town but a big old church.
Guatemala was next in 2007. I didn't get to the Mayan ruins in the eastern half of the country, but I will.  Even in the western half one can learn about and see their influence.
Ruins at Tikal
2009 brought a trip to Italy and of course Rome. I toured the Colliseum slack jawed.  It's one of the few guided tours I've even gone on.  The clarity with which you could see into the past, the understanding that so much of western culture is shaped by what happened there, made it extraordinary.  I walked through the senate knowing that government proceedings happened over 200 years ago.
The Colliseum
For me, it doesn't get old (ba dum ching!).  I can't say I knew much of anything about Indonesia and it's history before I moved there and only slightly more about Spain.  By living in these countries and traveling from them I learn.  I find points of pride, even as I am a foreigner on a short residence, about the people and their history.  The struggles they fought and battles they won.  The ebb and flow of their power and kingdoms. I share what I learn with anyone who had two minutes and a slight interest. There's still so much I don't know about Indonesia that it would probably fill a small ilbrary, but I'm still working on it.  And adding Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and other Asian countries along the way.


  1. I think you missed a 0 when talking about Roman government.
    200 years is not impressive for Rome. At all.

    Also, I may have told you this before, but parts of my family home are over 250 years old, and there was a house where the house is now in the Domesday Book, so around 1080. With the same name.

  2. Yes M, as always, you are right, I missed a zero and I am wondering if you meant Doomsday. If not, what is Domesday?