A Lump in My Throat
Last week I attended an IFSA gathering at Pembridge Gardens. The executives from the head office in Indianapolis, as well as staff from Egypt and Israel, were in London for a visit. The London staff wanted some of the students to come and mingle. I had such a lovely time! I got to meet people from all over the world who have had unique cultural experiences which they are now using to guide us as we become world travelers. The food was delicious as always and the weather was perfect for a gathering in the garden…
…However, as I prepared to head home, it felt quite bittersweet. I realized that I might not get to see these people again for a while…if ever. I won’t get to have deep discussions about cultural issues with Anna, get a warm and welcoming hug from Lynne, or laugh at Andrew’s witty sense of humor. More so, I realized that this was the first of many goodbyes. With just a couple weeks left in London, I will soon have to say goodbye to new friends and new, yet familiar places. On the Tube, I had a bit of a lump in my throat as I thought about everything I will miss about London, the Tube itself for instance. The crowds of people all scurrying to get somewhere, anywhere, or nowhere fast. The rush of wind as it approaches the platform…the recording saying, “please mind the gap” or “the next station is Piccadilly Circus” in an idealized British accent. I’ll miss the ability to have a novel experience just minutes from my dorm…going to yet another free museum, checking out a new area such as the hipster scene in Dalston, or walking the winding streets of Covent Garden. I’ll miss walking along the Thames, staring up at Big Ben at night as it glows a regal gold and green. I’ll miss dancing at Heaven until it’s 2am, my legs burn, and I am drenched in sweat. I’ll miss trying new and strange foods with my friends at little unsuspecting restaurants. I’ll miss the opportunity, the wonder, and the excitement here in the greatest city on Earth.
I stayed out quite late on Saturday (don’t tell my mom). As I was walking home over Blackfriars Bridge, I watched the sunrise over St. Paul’s. I walked along the Victoria Embankment, crossing over from the City of London to the City of Westminster, and passed the famous Somerset House, where I was briefly part of a walk to raise money for breast cancer research…too bad I wasn’t wearing pink. When I got to the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Bridge, I walked to the center and stood for a while, admiring Big Ben and the surrounding buildings as the rising sun shone from behind me. I had never seen the Palace of Westminster quite like that, it was light out but the clock face was still illuminated as the sun was just then rising. It gave me a moment that I needed…a special moment with the city so that I could say “I’ll see you soon”. A few weeks ago, that would have been “goodbye”, but as I near the end of my trip, something tells me that it’s only a temporary farewell.