The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday September 29th

Life in London: the best day of my life at the Jane Austen Centre

<p>Outside of the Jane Austen Centre.</p>
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Outside of the Jane Austen Centre.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a romantic nature, must be a huge Jane Austen fan.

It was a clear, brisk February morning in London. A young woman, ostensibly an adult, was looking forward to her upcoming visit to Stonehenge and Bath. She had been informed by a reliable source (the internet) that the Jane Austen Centre was located in Bath. She had also been informed (by her calendar) that there would be plenty of time between scheduled tours for a visit to said Centre.

She was pumped.

In fact, she made her excitement known to all her friends and her program director. 

“Today is the day,” she said. “I can feel it. Nothing will stand in my way.”

Ah, how innocent. How naïve.

Their first stop was Stonehenge. She saw things she had read about all the way back in AP Art History. She left her gloves on the bus and regretted it. She took selfies. She listened to the audio guide because she is a good and dutiful tourist. It was beautiful. 

“What a time to be alive,” she said.

She was peacefully reading a play on the bus to Bath when it happened. Her program director came to the front of the bus. “Folks,” he said, “we are on a very tight timetable today. When we get to Bath, you’ll have about an hour for lunch. Then we will meet up for our guided tours of the Roman Baths and the city. We’ll get on the bus promptly at 4. I’m very sorry, but if you wanted to go somewhere else, such as the Jane Austen museum, you will just have to come back another time.”

Did she cry? No. Was she sad? Yes. Her dream had died. Did she pout? Of course not! Our heroine is not a spoiled brat! She fully appreciates all of the amazing places she gets to see!

She was trying to find a good spot to eat in Bath when suddenly, she had a thought. She whipped out her phone. The Jane Austen Centre was six minutes away. She did a quick Google search. It was open. She looked at the time. Fifty five minutes until the scheduled Roman Baths tour. She searched her heart. Could she do something so spontaneous, so reckless? She searched her stomach. Was she willing to forgo food, the love of her life, to experience the museum of her dreams?

Five minutes later, she was buying a ticket from a woman whose nametag said “Emma Woodhouse.” She was greeted at the door by a random dude in a top hat who was taciturn enough to be Mr. Darcy. She drank the “Jane Austen Blend” in the tearoom, took the tour, freaked out, kept saying, “I’m freaking out,” wavered between buying the heart-shaped pin and the “I love Mr. Darcy” pin, checked her watch every two seconds, forgot to breathe and generally conducted herself in the annoying way that teenage girls usually do in the presence of One Direction. 

When the tour was over, she rushed back to the group and checked the time. 1:29 p.m. One minute to spare. 

The friend that she had so rudely dragged along shared a candy bar with her (thanks, Cheyenne). Flushed with the thrill of spontaneity, she told everyone who would listen about her adventure. 

She had not let her dream die!

So I guess the moral of the story is this: Follow your heart and chase your dreams. If you do, you will inevitably look like a teenage girl at a boy band concert.

And it will be worth it.

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