The object I have chosen is small, visitors walk past it everyday without noticing its there, but for my mother and it is a signifier of freedom, independance and alot of hard work. The item I brought back is a small wooden ornamental plate with Brandenburg gate carved into it, for me it signifies the first time I was really treated like a grown up, made to open my eyes and realise that life didn’t stop outside England and that my small town was tiny in comparison. By the time I came home from my German trip, I had decided that I wanted to study history as a hobby and that media was where I wanted to be.
My View: Growing up I was never particularly popular and spent a lot of time learning history, my mum had a degree in it and at 13 I was determined that I was going to follow in her footsteps. When my secondary school gave us the chance to go to Germany and visit Sachsenhausen Concentration camp, I jumped at the chance. I had been reading about the Holocaust and was both fascinated and horrified by what I had read. We were visiting other attractions such as checkpoint Charlie but the day I visited the concentration camp I felt as if my childhood was over, the atmosphere was dark and I felt really emotional as I went around it. The trip signified me truly becoming an adult in other people’s eyes.
Tina (Mum): I am a single mother, so money was always tight and we couldn’t really afford to go abroad on holiday every year so when this opportunity came up I knew I had to send you. I spent weeks gathering the money, borrowing of my sister as well because we both knew how important this was for you to experience. I was so proud as I watched you pull away on the coach, not just of you but of everything I had achieved. I think in a way it only helped cement the view that you didn’t need to have a Dad around as I had proved that you wouldn’t be missing out.
Looking at how mum wrote the meaning of the ornament, I realised that she doesn’t really mention herself, she is proud that she could give me this experience. I think, as you grow up and have children, the way you look at life shifts slightly. Whilst I am still seeing the world as a blur of dreams and possibilities, my mum sees the real picture and how hard life can be so wants to give me the best start. I was raised by 2 very strong, very independent women and that shows in how I am today. Our reflections may be different, but our ideals are very much the same.