This past week, Zach and I, along with his parents, took a trip to the UK for his Cambridge graduation. It was the first time out of the country for my in-laws, and boy, did they get a crash course in trans-continental traveling! Zach and I were supposed to meet them in Atlanta where we would all be on the same flight to London, then catch a bus to another London airport to fly on to Glasgow. We thought we would be available to guide them through the airport maze and answer any questions about customs and border patrol.
But you know what they say about best-laid plans…
As Zach and I were walking away from the check-in counter in Atlanta where we’d just sent off our checked bags, Zach got a call.
“Hey, our plane to Atlanta has a problem with its brake system. They’re working on it and will tell us soon how long it will be before we can take off.”
Thus began hours of phone calls, delays, and scrambling to re-book flights and convey as much information as possible via text, while Zach and I flew over the Atlantic several hours ahead of his parents. They stepped up to the challenge of navigating these new experiences like pros, though, and met us in Glasgow later the next night. They even chose to walk the mile from the bus station with us to our Air BnB instead of catching a cab! We Vickerys are a strong bunch.
After all of that craziness, the rest of the trip was fairly smooth (and very cold!). We spent the next day and a half enjoying Glasgow while Zach met with his supervisor, and then it was on to Cambridge for the rest of the week. We enjoyed as much of Cambridge history, architecture, and food as possible in the few days we were there, even fitting in an Evensong Service at King’s College Chapel. And if Mrs. Susan’s FitBit data is to be believed, we walked a total of 145,834 steps (that’s 69.21 miles for those of you following along at home)!
Then came Saturday and Zach’s graduation ceremony. He got all dressed up in his academic robes and white bow tie and paraded down the streets of Cambridge with other members of his college on the way to the Senate House. He told me that was when he felt most like a Cambridge student. Then he stood with other members of Magdalene College while the Praelector told the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (in Latin, of course) that he deserved to have his degree conferred upon him due to his moral and academic standing. He knelt in front of the Vice-Chancellor (whose voice sounded just like Judy Dench) and she clasped his hands and, to put it in his words, “spoke some Latin at him.”
We met him outside the Senate House for pictures and admired his diploma. He was very happy to be allowed to walk on the grass, which, if you’ve ever been to Cambridge is much more exciting than it may seem.
We wrapped up our trip with a whirlwind tour of London and then it was back across the pond (and back to work) for our very tired, very happy group!