Quick! The parents are coming! The parents are coming!
Hello friendly readers! Well, I am quickly winding down my study abroad time in London, but the month of May has been quite interesting. On the very first day, my parents arrived in London for a week of adventures. It was beyond wonderful to see my parents after four months; it’s the longest time I’ve ever been away from home and I was so excited to share the London I’ve discovered with them. Of course, being the marvelous daughter I am, I marched my jet-lagged parents across half of London their first day here just to show them the sights. Trust me, they didn’t look this awake at the end of the day.
We stopped in on the current production of ‘The Sunshine Boys’ one of their first days here. Perhaps it wasn’t the most ‘British’ thing we could do, considering one of its main stars is Jersey guy Danny DeVito, but the production was fantastic and I’m really glad I had the chance to see it with my parents rather than with my British friends. Because we understand the Jersey thing better. (Same goes for seeing Zach Braff’s ‘All New People’ with my American flatmate; it’s something that just clicks from your youth.)
In all seriousness though: I wore my parents out with everything I showed them. Especially since their middle age dictates that bedtime is before 11pm, however, I’m quite proud of them for keeping up with me. And if I’m being truly honest, I was ready for bed early most nights too. My parents visited Westminster Abbey while I handled the pesky thing called lecture, but perhaps the best attraction was the Churchill War Rooms on the very edge of St. James Park. We essentially stepped back in time to walk through the underground bunkers at the heart of Britain’s defense in World War II. It’s painstakingly hard to imagine daily life beneath the turmoil of the Battle of Britain, where you can see the reinforced concrete slab in the ceiling meant to protect the bunkers from missiles. I also took my first trip to the Tower of London with the parents to see the Crown Jewels and walk among those historic caverns and popped by the British museum to see the gold medals that will awarded at this year’s Olympics. (And you can see which parent my looks take after most from our picture on the London Eye.)
We topped off our experience by trying the best of British fare through fish and chips at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese in the City of London near St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sunday roast at a pub and watching my dad plan a Friday night dinner while exploring one of my favorite places in London, Borough Market. On our final few days, per suggestion of my dad, we pub crawled throughout London, stopping every few hours at the closest pub. I got to show my parents some of my favorite little places in London, like The Blackfriar, an old Dominican friary saved from demolition hundreds of years ago so we can now appreciate its Art Nouveau style.
Having my parents in London for a week was one of the best experiences of my time here because they are such a huge part of my Hopkins experiences. I loved the opportunity to introduce them to the city and explore it further with them. It certainly helps seeing them with six weeks to go until I return home. Now if they could have only fit my six-foot-four little brother into their suitcases to tag along….