When you’re sitting on the side of the road crying over what feels like the end of the best damn thing you have had -well at least you had it.
My time in London has come and gone once again and I was right- it passed by in what felt like seconds. I’ve never experienced a feeling as great as the one I experienced when I stepped off the plane and onto the soil that feels most like home to me at the moment. It was like seeing an old friend and knowing nothing had changed. I had to leave London behind for a period of time but she was forgiving and accepted me once again into her arms, allowing me to come home.
As soon as I left Heathrow, I headed to Jordan. What an amazing reunion that was. The test of true friendship is, as they say, not about being together, but being apart and having nothing change. Four months apart did nothing to lessen the bond we formed so quickly last September- we simply fell right back into step.
Because no one does Christmas better (or more glamourously) than London, I decided to go ice skating at Somerset House the night of my return. It felt like an appropriate way to celebrate. Somerset House is an iconic London location and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and the skating center they have set up certainly does not disappoint. Surprisingly, I managed to stay on two feet the entire time, despite there being a few close calls. I was joined by a friend of mine, Maria, and we both did a pretty exceptional job of pretending we knew exactly what we were doing.
The days that followed consisted of catching up with old friends and reacquainting myself with the city I hold so dear to my heart. I spent most of Sunday wandering around by myself, visiting some of my favorite spots in the city. Obviously checking up on Buckingham Palace to make sure my future home is in order.
On Monday the culmination of my efforts as a grad student was celebrated at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank. It was graduation day. I expected pomp and circumstance (literally), after all, we were in England. Disappointingly though, I was let down. There was no procession, there were no horse-drawn carriages, there was no Queen. It was simply a ceremony where our names were called, we were ushered quickly across the stage and we were forced to sit through a speaker who, we were all quite sure, had had a bit too much to drink before the ceremony. I think my penchant for royal watching has left me overestimating the way the British organize every celebration. From now on I know to work on my standards and save the glamorous expectations for my wedding to Harry.
Despite every activity and milestone that may have occurred while I was in England, there was one happening that no one could have predicted- one that I must admit has me the most excited. If you’ve guessed the royal baby announcement, you know me too well. What timing on my part to have been there when the palace confirmed Kate’s pregnancy. Harry and I are thrilled to be and aunt and uncle. He’ll be amazing, I’m sure. As I’ve been asked many times, I have no preference whether it’s a boy or a girl. Only that it would be quite exciting if it’s a girl given the new rules that have been put in place, stating that the first born to Will and Kate will inherit the crown, whether the child is male or female. (Obviously the current rule is that the first born son would take over).
For two of the days, I decided to take a break from the fast pace of London and slow life down a bit up north. On Wednesday I visited a friend in Nottingham- a city about an hour north of London. There isn’t much to say about Nottingham save for the fact that it’s where Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Pity he isn’t still carrying out that duty. A few extra pounds would have been helpful.
Sunrise over Nottingham
Thursday I trekked up to the North East and visited a friend in Durham. To give you an idea of just how far north I travled, Durham is just one stop away from the England/Scotland border and it was absolutely frigid. London was a tropical oasis in comparison. Despite the cold, Durham is a lovely town. It’s incredibly old- there are no streets, just cobble stone paths weaving up and down, separating the buildings. It’s a very quaint city but incredibly beautiful all the same- the heart of the city is Durham cathedral, an exceptional structure built in the 1000’s.
Thursday night I traveled back to London, where I spent the rest of my time in England. Although it was a quick trip, I feel so fortunate to have been able to return, if only for a fleeting glimpse of time. Leaving in September was difficult, but there was always that knowledge that I’d be returning for graduation in 3 months time. However, leaving this time felt much more finite and the idea that I don’t know when I will return is absolutely terrifying, but I will work tirelessly to find a way back. However, for now, I will continue to dream in the colors of the city I call home and hope that when I do return, she will still have her arms open, ready to accept me back in.