When planning our trip, I was somewhat torn. Did I want to visit all of the places I'd been? After Elaine's wedding, we'd only have about a week, and it may be a smaller country than the U.S., but there's still much, much more than you could ever cover in 7 short days.
I decided to spend a day in Liverpool because I did want to revisit the school where I had volunteered. Many of the same people were still working there, and some of the students were even still there. Looking older, but recognizable as kids I'd worked with.
I'm glad that we stopped in at the school, but it was a difficult visit. Enrollment has gone down, and no one's exactly sure what the future holds. The next time I visit the UK, St. Vincent's may or may not be there, and definitely all of the kids I knew will have moved on.
Walking from the bus stop to the school, it almost felt like time had stopped. Like I was going to work and, after the school day was over, I'd be heading back to our house and on with the routine of life in Liverpool.
Out of the whole trip, this was when I felt saddest, as I had feared on the way over. Sad that my time in Liverpool is just a memory, when all the buildings and the people are still there. Disbelieving that once I had made a life in a different country, and worried that I would never have the courage/opportunity to do something like that again.
In Liverpool, visiting the school was nearly all we had time for. After the visit, Keith and I caught the bus back into town and called Elaine's Uncle Martin, who had kindly offered to put us up for the night. He and his daughters picked us up from the train station and whisked us out to their house for dinner (chicken this time—not Yorkshire pudding) and a relaxing evening watching footie on the tellie.
All in all, we probably spent a total of maybe 2 hours in the city centre, and that's being generous. I'm still undecided about whether I wish we could have spent more time there. Anything we did would probably be a trip down memory lane, as opposed to something new. But it still seemed like short shrift. Hopefully, we'll be able to revisit in 2008, when Liverpool will be European Capital of Culture. And maybe by then it will be a mix of old and new, instead of just me revisiting the past.