“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Spring 2024 Tour: Entry #4

By Sam Hill

Grace College couldn’t be more of a change from Purdue. Whereas Purdue is a public university with 54,000 students, Grace is a private, Christian university with less than 2,000. The students attend chapel three times a week. It is a small, intimate campus; pretty, and the students smile at you as you walk by.

The students here are beyond friendly. Every need, every request is met with a smile and a ‘no problem at all’ or a ‘sure!’ Campus is easy to navigate, but of course I still got lost. Two very kind students escorted me to my class, which happened to be a Spanish class. I was particularly excited for this class as Elena, the teacher, had asked me during my meeting, ‘Do you like pastries?’ Is the Pope a Catholic? I had expected one pastry, but Elena had brought in an entire platter of Mexican pastries from a local baker. Gracias Dios.

Grace is situated near Winona Lake. Of course, when I say lake, I mean an American lake, which to an English person looks more like a small sea. Around the lake are trails through the woods that wind, like a rattlesnake, around the campus. Lucy and I headed out for a run and dodged, ducked, dipped, dived and dodged (guess the film?) through the Indiana countryside.

We have had the great privilege of being given access to the canteen here. Which means we get free, healthy food, I cannot emphasise how much of a blessing this is for us. The food is good quality, with plenty of vegetables on offer, which, in America, can be hard to come by. We get asked a lot about British cuisine and its terrible international reputation. I don’t want to seem defensive and trust me I LOVE U.S food, especially Culvers and the warm cookies they have at the canteen here. But British food has come a long way in the last 20 years or so. London has a wide array of different cuisines from all around the world. And look, I just feel the need to point out that a few U.S foods are just plain weird. If you’ll humour me….

Example A: Biscuits and gravy. These are a sort of a savoury scone with a meat sauce. I do not know what ‘meat’ goes into the ‘meat sauce’ but the fact that it is hard to tell, tells any reader what to expect.

Example B: Pickled sausage, I made the mistake of getting a pickled sausage from a store. What can I say, I love Jerky and Biltong, I thought this would be in the same ball-park, but it is not. All I can say is “no, no, no, never again”.

Example C: Pickles. Some pickles here are excellent. The pickled cucumbers you get with your burger. SUBLIME! But some of the pickles you get have a very strange mix of flavours. They taste sort of cinnamon-like, giving the gherkins a bizarre Christmas flavour. That’s the only way I can describe it. Christmas in a jar. But not a good Christmas, the kind of Christmas where everyone argues… and drinks too much… and someone burns the turkey.

Anyway, diatribe over…

It’s a big weekend this weekend as it is the Super Bowl. The biggest game in American sports. The 49ers and the Chiefs take on each other. The American way seems to be to throw a Super Bowl party so we threw our very own party in the hotel. We decked the lobby out with a case of beers, chips-n- dip, and wings. Did you know an expected 1.4 billion wings get eaten during the Super Bowl? Most of our snacks were very kindly brought by our new friend Niki, who worked at the hotel. We were also joined by our wonderful Techie Chris, who had done all our lighting, as well as being a general legend. We were all surprised by how much we enjoyed the game itself. The game stops an awful lot, but the entertainment doesn’t-with A-List celebrities appearing in the adverts, Usher doing the half time show and everyone chatting as the game unfolds. Although sadly the Chiefs won (I wanted the 49ers to win), we were very happy to have had experienced our own slice of American culture.