As we travel north, up the bay I am becoming more familiar with my surroundings. I know the rivers and hills like the back of my hand. Others seem impressed by the scenery, while I experience comfort in the picturesque waterways and historic buildings. I understand the area as I have lived here my entire life, but this trip to Annapolis has been one entirely different than anything I have experienced here in the past twenty years.
I have always been aware that I live in a town rich with history and crawling with opportunity. Until today, I thought I had taken full advantage of all the city had to offer me. I have attended an anti protest on church circle, drove my boat into the harbor for a riverside dinner, said the pledge of allegiance at breakfast in Chick and Ruth’s and wandered every back street of the town. I expected the lectures about Annapolis to be repetitive for me, but they were the opposite. Most of what we were learning was entirely new information to me. We walked to city dock, an area I was very familiar with and I was asked if I knew what the statues represented. My mind was blank. I have walked passed that statue more times than I can remember. I have sat upon the man’s lap and played around him as if he were a jungle gym, but I had no clue as to who he was or what he represented. I was embarrassed. His name is Alex Haley and he is the descendant of Kunta Kinte, a slave brought to Annapolis who fought to keep his sense of heritage. The statue is there to remind us to be aware of and preserve our cultural heritage.
There is a great amount of history in Annapolis that I have seemed to miss and it has brought me to think that my sense of place is not as solidified as I had previously thought. Signing up for the Chesapeake Semester, I had a similar thought; I know a decent amount of information about the Chesapeake, so I should be ready for a lot of review in our lectures. Certainly, I was incorrect. There is always something new to learn when you look at it from a different perspective and there can always be something more to take away, even if it is the smallest piece of information. I do not want to be so comfortable that I lose my sense of curiosity and I guess it goes to show that you should always keep an open mind and continually look for different experiences even if it is in your hometown.