All of London sing, ’cause England swings the extra love the tales I bring. You know the rainy days they ain’t so bad when you’re the king, the king they want to see.
Fans by Kings of Leon
I feel like a king. I went from an oblivious foreigner to local Londoner in 3 and a half months. I went from walking around aimlessly hoping to just make it to the building where my classes were held, to conquering the public transportation, the streets, the different parts of this huge city.
Today two British women came up to me and asked me for directions. I knew exactly where they were talking about and I gave them appropriate directions. At that moment, I had the realization that my time here was done. 3 and a half months ago if someone asked me for directions I would simply tell them that I am not from around here and hurry off before even thinking about it. I still am not from here and never will be, but the fact that I was giving someone directions in their own environment brought this excursion full circle. I have completed my time here and now it is time for me to come home.
I must say, it is a bitter sweet feeling. I don’t think I will truly understand what I just did until I get back into the swing of things at home. One thing that all of my friends were telling me before I left was to leave Europe with no regrets. I can honestly say I did everything that I wanted to do (and more) and there isn’t one thing that I regret doing or not doing.
Everyone came here for different reasons. Steve came here to explore, Chris came here to work, Zach Farrell came here to skate. I came here to find myself–to figure out who I am. I needed a change in my life. North Philadelphia was depressing me and my college years were dwindling away quickly. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary to really understand what my purpose was. I am walking away from this experience with a whole lot of answers–and that is an incredible feat for me.
My last night in London was a good one. I woke up around 8:30 AM and headed to the Sandwich Shop to get my daily cappuccino with one sugar. After, I went to the money exchange place and returned the Euros that I had left over for good old American dollars. They felt so small compared to the money here…the bills were crisp and fit neatly in my hand. After, I went to the tube station to put some money on my transportation card so that I could get to the airport tomorrow.
Later, Andrew and I went to Harrod’s to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. As usual it was ridiculously packed, but luckily both of us stumbled across what we wanted to get rather easily and were out of there within a half hour.
Now, typically people would go to a nice restaurant to top off their trip…not Steve and I. We decided to find a nice hole in the wall fish and chips place and finish our trip off right. Of course we weren’t going to find a whole in the wall f&c place in South Kensington, so it took some traveling to find the perfect place. We wanted to go to an area where it smelled like deep fried fish and it was a little darker (if you know what I mean)…Brixton would be that perfect place.
We found a place called the Kebab Cafe (perfect!) and we decided to settle there and get our final meal in London. The place was empty, but the owners family was all there hanging out and speaking a different language to each other. There were babies on the tables and young kids working behind the counter. There was a big oven of fried chicken in the window and I spotted the owner grabbing wings with his bare hands and devouring them while making our food. There was a wonderful smell of deep fried cod and french fries. It was the perfect place. Oh yeah, Steve and I were able to get two dishes of fish and chips for less than one at a pub in South Kensington.
Which brings me to now. I am currently sitting in my bare room with my giant bag next to me and contemplating if I should go to bed and get a decent amount of sleep. My flight is at 10:30 but it takes some time getting to the airport, so I will probably have to get up around 5:45 AM. There are 5 others on the same flight with me, so hopefully we can all help each other get there on time.
I don’t have much more to say, but before I go I know you have all been waiting with bated breath (sike!) on what my number 1 thing is that I can’t wait to have back in the US–and hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Number 1: Family and friends
Okay, that is two things but this is my blog and I make the rules. I seriously can’t wait to see my Mom, Dad and brother at the airport. I seriously can’t wait to ring Rubin’s ridiculous door bell and hear his little rat dogs barking at the door. I seriously can’t wait to do the traditional church and Uncle Dennis’s on Christmas Eve. I seriously can’t wait to see how much hair Tisin has lost since I left. I seriously can’t wait for the traditional January “Taylor Christmas”. All of these things and SO much more are going to be an amazing treat.
Before I go, I just want to thank everyone who has kept up with my blog. It has been so nice to see that people were reading…it truly means a lot. This whole experience has really shown me how many wonderful people I have in my life and I am so grateful.