Oh London. Where do I even begin?
How about with my flight cancellation? That’s right. As I was trying to check in online I found out that my flight no longer existed, that it had been canceled. So in a panic I called my mother and started tearing up. I didn’t know what to do! Of all the weekends to have a canceled flight! I was going to have a long relaxing weekend in London and the only flight online British Airways was going to put me on was one for Friday afternoon. And I’d lose so much time! So I called British Airways per my mom’s request to ask them a few questions. If I had bought a one way ticket on another airline it would have voided my entire BA flight. So talking to the guy on the phone he helped me get on a different flight into a different London airport. Turns out all flights into Heathrow were being cancelled. I was to take Cityflyer into City Airport instead. My flight was also earlier. I was supposed to be on a 6:45 flight, but the new one was at 4:50. So I threw my last minute things into my bags (luckily I had packed the night before), messaged my friends who I was staying with, and was out the door! I grabbed a cab and headed straight to the Madrid Airport. After I got my ticket I found out that I had to head out to the satellite terminal so I took the tram. Once I got through security with 40 minutes until boarding to go, I felt much calmer. In fact I treated myself to a glass of wine. Then it was time to get on the plane! My fingers were crossed until we took off. There was still a chance that they could cancel my flight! The flights into Heathrow were canceled on account of the fog. But we were up in the air and I’d be in London in two hours! Once at the airport I made my way through immigration and hopped on the DLR (one of the tube lines). Everything felt so familiar! Next thing I knew I was knocking on the flat door of Suzy, Justin, Jonathan, Melanie, and Christian. It honestly felt like I had never left. After catching up for a bit I took a much needed shower and got ready for my first big night out in London. Suzy, Justin, Coline, Benjamin, and I headed to The Court to meet up with everyone! This included new friends Paulina (from Antwerp), Julia (from Munich), Philippe, Raphael, Camille, Wendy, and Jonathan. And we stayed there for a few hours. It was so wonderful catching up with everybody! From there a number of us continued the night at Proud Camden. And we danced the night away and it was wonderful. I then headed back to Schafer with Justin and Suzy.
Friday morning Suzy and I slept in a bit and then got ready to go out for the day. Benjamin met up with us. The three of us went to Borough Market…one of my favorite places in all of London! We each got a delicious lunch. I had this yummy chicken sandwich and empanada. They each got duck sandwiches. We then snacked on all of the bread and cheese in the market. Benjamin did a little food shopping. He also went halfsies with Suzy on this delicious cheese. It was French, of course. And the guy who sold it to us wore it a beret. It fulfilled all of my stereotypes. The three of us then headed off to The Churchill War Rooms. It was the number one place I wanted to go to upon my return to London. And they were totally worth it. It was so interesting seeing a piece of history. All of the maps in the map room were as they were at the end of the Second World War. After spending a few hours there we made our way back to Schafer and got ready for the night. Paulina, and Julia went with us to ICCO for some pizza and then headed to ULU for cheap drinks. I ran into Ana, Marta, and Carmen which was super fun! Alice and Philippe then met us at the ULU bar. We all hung out for a bit and then it was time to go back to Schafer.
Saturday Suzy and I found ourselves woken up to banging on the door and loud music courtesy of Justin and Julie. After we finally got up and got ready the four of us grabbed a quick MacDo and then went to the UCLU union to start off St. Patrick’s Day. After a few hours and a rugby game I had to leave for a little bit to meet up with people. I made my way up to Camden Town to Yumchaa (in the pouring rain….without an umbrella) to meet up with Shanthi, Laura, and Nicola. We dried off and warmed up to some deliciously tea and treats. It was great catching up with them! I’m also so glad I was able to meet up with them over the semester on various excursions! I then headed into the Blue Kitchen (another favorite spot of mine in London) for a cider while I let the time pass before meeting up with friends for dinner. As I made my way down Camden High Street I finally reached Taste of Siam. And Tanja was waiting outside! Turns out she was meeting Wilma, Christian, and Melanie for dinner. And I was meeting Sahana and Juliana. So we decided to join forces and we all ate dinner together. It was so delicious! And it was great seeing everyone. Juliana then went back to her room to work, Sahana went home, and I went back to the Phineas. By then the party had increased greatly. Philippe, Elias, and Raphael were there. As well as Marta, Ana, and Carmen. And even more people came as the night progressed. It was another amazing evening spending time with people. After the union bar closed we headed for a late night snack. Then it was back to Schafer once again for a late night.
Sunday morning I got up slightly early and made my way over to Fortnum and Mason (my favorite store in London) to do a little shopping. And I bought a ton of tea! Dear god I bought a lot of tea! By the time I got up it was time to wake up Suzy. She and Justin got ready and then we went with Philippe, Julia, Paulina, and Laura to Trafalgar where there was a St. Patrick’s Day festival. So we hung around the square for a bit and listened to some Irish music. Then I headed to Harrod’s with Justin to pick up a few things for our moms. And the others split up into different directions. After our shopping trip we hung out with Suzy for a bit and watched some F-R-I-E-N-D-S. Then I made my way back up to Ifor Evans to cook dinner with Melanie, Christian, Jonathan, Natalie, and Annka. It felt like old times. We ate this vegetable in peanut sauce dish and I made a tortilla de patata. For a first time it wasn’t all that bad. After dinner I headed over to Bar 55 (for 2 for 1 cocktails) and met up with Suzy, Justin, Paulina, Julia, and Philippe. We stayed until the bar closed which was around midnight. Afterwards we headed back to Schafer for a bit and then it was time for packing and bedtime. So I said goodbye…scratch that…see you soon, to some of my friends and I headed upstairs with Suzy. Then it was time to pack, to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind.
Then it was Monday morning. I made sure that Justin and Suzy were awake. Christian, Melanie, and Jonathan were awake too. I put on my jacket, collected my bags, and said goodbye, I mean, see you soon, to my dear friends in Schafer House. I then continued on an emotional trip to the airport. Leaving London was really sad for me. Like that chapter in my life was finally closed. You see, at least in December when people got upset about leaving I could say, “don’t be upset! I’ll see you when I visit next term”. Because I knew I’d be visiting, I knew there would be a next time. Now I don’t know when I will see anyone next. In a few months? Years? Never? Also London will never be the same ever again. Most of the friends I had made are all Erasmus students. So they are only there for the year. Meaning in June they too will go their separate ways and spread out all over Europe. It’s like London was a one stop destination for me to see everyone at the same time. And it’ll never be like that again. The next time I make my way to London it’ll feel significantly emptier because it will be missing so much. I’m so grateful that my British friends will still be there though. Call me overdramatic, but the thought still makes me sad. But I’m so glad I was able to go for a weekend. To have the time of my life. To be with people I absolutely adore. Thank you London. For everything.