During our recent trip to DC, I realized it was easy.
Easy being able to visit memorials and being able to read the plaques without the help of a translator – as well as having a complete understanding of the history – because it’s my country’s history.
Going into a museum and understanding what I was reading as it was in my native English, was exciting! I knew what I was seeing, reading and had probably learned about it in school.
The boyfriend hadn’t been to DC since he was a kid. He remembered there was a huge whale in the Museum of American History. When we saw it, he said he remembered it to be much bigger. I guess when you are much smaller everything seems so much bigger.
Another example of the awe of young kids was when we passed several groups of school kids peering into a huge (huge doesn’t even seem big enough) fish tank in the Museum of American History. I smiled when I heard one of the kids say ‘how beautiful.’
It made me reflect and wonder how much of ‘that’ I miss when visiting museums and other memorials in other countries. There have been countless times I’ve been in a museum and it’s only in the native language of the country – there isn’t an English translation so you have to guess or revert to pictures and diagrams to understand what’s going on or hope for a stranger’s kindness and a small understanding of English to understand.
In those situations, I become that kid again because that’s almost my level of understanding, if that, in those foreign museums and memorials.
On the flip side, as an adult, I can continue to read, and learn, about that history, in order to gain a better perspective about the world around me than I could have done at six or ten years old.