December 10, 2014
This is perhaps the weirdest time I have spent in London. Finals are now over. We have about three days left to explore – and to pack. It feels odd not having to think about classes while we are here. It also is very bittersweet. Some people really want to get home and others do not want to leave. But most of all, we do not want to say goodbye to London and to each other. I am luckier than most. My parents are flying out and I get to stay in the UK until December 22nd.
Although it seems that after finals we should be celebrating, it is not that simple. We are exhausted. And there are still so many places to see, which is overwhelming. I feel we have taken advantage of the city as much as possible. There is simply too much of it to see it all.
I think I will end this last blog post talking about random observations of London. It is too sad to contemplate really talking about what my time here has meant to me. So here it goes. Londoners are not overly concerned with second hand smoke. Directors have actors smoke on stage and the smell travels into the audience (I experienced this twice). You also see plenty of people rolling cigarettes with a tobacco case that says, in huge letters, smoking kills. And yet, they are healthier than Americans in a lot of ways. Their food has far fewer preservatives. This, though good, can sometimes be frustrating. Tesco (a grocery store) frequently sells food that expires in two days.
When dropping our friend off at Heathrow last week, I noticed that Heathrow smelled like bad eggs. This is in contrast to the Dublin airport, which smelled like cow manure, and the Barcelona airport, which smelled like bacon. I honestly cannot tell you if I prefer one of those smells.
In London, police do not carry guns. This has been especially significant when looking at recent events in the United States. However, in certain places, special police officers will carry huge guns, which is intimidating. Piecing this all together makes what I witnessed on Sunday extra strange. As we were walking down Pentonville Road, a tank drove past. It was actually just an advertisement for an American movie, but it was very startling.
One of the things I love about London is that you do not have to spend the whole day exploring. You can go out for an hour just to see one thing. I was getting stir crazy last Sunday, so I took a study break and went to Brick Lane Market. How amazing is that? I could just go to a world famous market on a whim. I cannot take that for granted. And I cannot express how much I will miss being able to do this. I fully believe IES when they tell us it will be harder to adjust back in the US than it was when we came to London in September. And though it will be nice to be home, I’m glad I have more time in London. And I just have to keep promising myself that I will come back.