3 July 1995

I rode the bus with Nick to SBS [Simon Balle School] but couldn’t find any PtoP people [People to People students]. I thought I was confused before. After things were straightened out, we walked to Hertford Castle. (or what was left of it. In 912, the Saxons built a wooden castle on top of a mound near the river Lea. 1180 saw an enlargement. A noble used it as a residence until the hunting got bad and moved out. Prior to this it was a summer residence for the royal family. Now the remaining part serves as a museum. The inner tower building, front of the wall 3 guard towers and the inner moat were destroyed.

We started a scavenger hunt in down town Hertford. Smitty, Chad, and I won.

We ate at the castle, walked back to SBS, and our hosts took us to their next class. In shop class, I just sat there and blinked. So did Nick. Then came math class. The teacher yelled at some kids to shut up, tried to introduce some projects yelled again, introduced the projects, yelled, introduced, yelled, introduced, etc.. She finally finished then we left for the day. Dinner came then we played Scotland Yard 3 times. I was Mr. X the first two times, they caught me in 7 moves, but on the third, I got to 22 before dying of stress and got nabbed by guess who, Nick. Gifts were handed out. They like the do-nothing and the constitution. Good-night.

Similarities – school day broken into periods.

Differences – electric socket and plug are bigger and prongs odd shaped.

Future Ryan says: Our guide at Hertford Castle was the mayor of Hertford himself. He kept saying "mayor" which I kept assuming was "mare". My mind imagined anthropomorphic horses in medieval garb, probably a mental artifact of my Brian Jacques fanhood which had I had outgrown only a year or two earlier.

It was that afternoon at the school when I overheard the most awesome and memorable insult to meet my ears. As I followed Nick down the corridor, a teacher emerged from a classroom door, shouting at a retreating student and calling him, quote "a subhuman breathing instrument". I can safely say from my vantage point in 2010 (officially the Future) that never was a greater insult uttered in fifteen years.

Of the gifts I took for my homestay families, I remember that I took a paper hat from the Steak-n-Shake fast food franchise, some T-shirts from local companies who donated money toward my P2P trip, and a copy of the US Constitution of 1787. In return, I received as gifts a stone medallion with a painted squirrel image (rumoured to contain Ice Age fossils), and a 1986 Fodor’s Guide to Ireland.


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