Ypres

UGH, I’m tired, and WAY too tired to make this post, but I’m a rebel so…

Yesterday, I went to Ypres – like I was supposed to do last year, but that got canceled… That was kinda messy; if you want to know what happened with me then (you don’t) look up the post called “I’ve Snapped”. T’isn’t pretty.

ANYWAY, Ypres was fantastic. We got to school at 5 in the morning, arrived back at 12 at night, and we went to see cemeteries – one little one and then one huge one – and a museum and we walked in some trenches. Let me list some of the highlights:

1. Feeling so sad in the first cemetery we went to, mainly because of the unknown graves where there was just a date of death, or “A soldier in the Great War”.

2. Walking around said cemetery in near silence, away from everyone else, just thinking and discussing with my friends about how it felt wrong to write about this, because all the people had lives and it was just chilling to think about it.

3. Walking through a trench, learning what it was like for the soldiers in those trenches – I got to hold a rifle, two grenades, British and German helmets and a Trench club.

4. Wearing gas masks – or the first “gas masks” – along with four other people, and nearly crying with laughter at our class’s reactions. Birch nicknamed us Gas mark 5 and that had me in stitches.

(Speaking of Birch, THAT was unpleasant. Last year I said I was going to possibly sit next to him on the coach – THANK GOD I didn’t this time (I don’t fancy him but just imagine if I HAD sat next to him?). He was with his friends and he was kind of an arse – not really, but we barely spoke, and I just remember feeling horror when I found myself sitting by him when we were at the first cemetery. I remembered that feeling I had for him before – which isn’t there at all now because Aspen – and man, I was so naive!).

5. Getting a group photo in a reconstruction of a dugout in the museum – I felt so socially excluded at one point (fuck you, support blind help person), but that was the best part of going to the museum. I also talked to this person – bagpipes were playing and we were yelling “IT HURTS!” and I actually don’t know who he was, and I want to find out because I’m glad he actually spoke to me.

6. Visiting the largest cemetery in Belgium and going inside these huge domes – on the walls, there were plaques with what must have been 20000 names or so on them, and there were two of these domes. It was haunting as we walked around the graves, and my friend found a relative of hers – and again, we all discussed how much unnecessary death and pain there was.

7. Going for dinner and sitting in a group with 5 or so of my friends, laughing and talking. We also went to the chocolate shop and OH MY GOD, the owner was the loveliest woman ever. Afterwards, we were all so hyper because we got a fantastic deal, and we kept on shouting “THIS IS THE BEST THING!”

8. Going to the Last Post Ceremony. What else can I say? It was sad, even though it was short, and I just felt part of a community.

All in all, it was a fantastic day – I laughed, felt like crying and even though I sometimes can’t stand my year, they’re good people. I don’t want go to back to school on Monday, or learn my french or revise for music, but I am SO glad I went to Ypres. I think I needed it.

How was your day yesterday?

From Elm πŸ™‚

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40 thoughts on “Ypres

  1. That sounds amazing! I wish I’d been there – I’m officially moving to your school now haha πŸ™‚ I’m catching up on your posts now. And ‘Gas Mark 5’ does sound rather fetching… πŸ˜‰ Text me when you get a sec

  2. That sounds fantastic! Well, fantastic compared to my Saturday of piano super early and then a bunch of maths and english homework! πŸ™‚

  3. Elm, your personality is perfect.
    “UGH, I’m tired, and WAY too tired to make this post, but I’m a rebel so…”
    LOL

  4. I go to the Gallipoli memorial most years, and it’s so heartbreaking. The Last Post gets me every time. It’s amazing that you got to go though, even if it would be awful. Haunting is the perfect word to describe it

  5. I love your style of writing! This makes me laugh and feel so jealous of you! Where are you from? (If you don’t mind me asking)

  6. Sounds like you had a good day, even though it was emotional. Ypres was where I went for 3 days in July and where my panic attacks started and I couldn’t believe it when I started reading this post! Glad you had a better experience of it than me πŸ™‚

  7. I did pretty much this exact school trip last year around Remembrance Day, for 3 days, and it was just heartbreaking. I spent most of the trip either crying or in a state of deep contemplation, but it was incredible, and I’m so glad I went. X

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