Oh, hello. This morning I got a notification that this website auto-renewed for the year. Miraculously, seeing that dollar amount reminded me how to write words.
Of more pertinence, is the epic Christmas travelganza I must share with you. This year for Christmas, my parents and I flew across the pond to reunite with my sister and her family as they adventure their way around the world. Our holiday trip was a dream… but before I get into all of it, here are some tidbits to know from my blog break before traveling:
- I got Invisalign. This is my first experience with orthodontia and, though it shouldn’t, it has put a damper on my sliver of self-esteem. The timing has coincided nicely with the end of my year of prioritized dating (though not optimal for finding a plus one to a wedding Im going to in March).
- Trying to snag a dude has been an exhausting and fruitless endeavor. I’ve concluded that my energy is better spent improving my own life (woohoo). Whenever/if my Chris Martin-Hugh Jackman hybrid of a soulmate comes along; the ball is in his court.
- I am in the infantile stages of learning the guitar, re-learning French, and researching grad schools…abroad. I never anticipated wanting to teach myself things which require practice and effort, let alone go back to school, but I’ve found myself here regardless.
- My friendships, all of my relationships, continue through the thick of evolution. Despite the aching of loneliness, I’m forging on and allowing myself to be carried along by ripples of change.
Yep, that’s about it. Glad we’re all caught up. Now onto Europe!
The people in my hodgepodge of a community were more excited for my trip than I was. In no way was I dreading it— it just was not something I had headspace for. Intentionally or not, I had no expectations for the ten days of travel. I suppose we can call it my subconscious guarding me from any letdowns, missteps, or emotional ambiguity. But rest assured, the excitement finally found me when my parents and I took our seats in the middle aisle of the plane to London.
I fell in love with London in 2014 after having been there for approximately one minute. Returning this December reminded me of how intensely I love and how much love I have for England. I make no secret of my obsession with all things British. I love the way they use words, I love the way they say those words; and most importantly, I’ve been saying that I’m going to marry an Englishman since I was 10. And then there’s Coldplay, The Beatles, Queen, Harry Potter, and all things I’ve ever obsessed over.
We flew into London with 24 hours to spend there. Our plane landed at 7:30am after nine hours of attempting to sleep vertically. We spent the next two hours with a couple hundred other travelers crawling through Customs. It feels wrong to complain about something while you’re waiting to cross the border of your favorite country, but holy cow, that room was so hot, we were hangry, and oh so tired. Fortunately, time did what it does and eventually we found ourselves in an Uber on the way to our hotel.
We spent our day in London on the Big Red Bus absorbing historical anecdotes from a very British tour guide. The Sun was shining, everyone was full of Christmas cheer, and much like a summer day in Chicago, the city was oozing hoards of tourists.
After lunch, we thought we’d leisurely cross one of the bridges over the River Thames to make our way back to our hotel on foot. Maneuvering through and around large groups of people at impressive speeds is a talent of mine. I’m good at this because being unable to move in crowds overwhelms me like nothing else. The skill often comes in handy when I’m traveling alone or with friends, but navigating through these groups of people whilst trying not to lose my parents— this was a new twist for me. Eventually we made our way through to the other side and the rest of our walk was delightful.
Before dinner that night, we went to a quintessential British pub called The Churchill Arms. The place was hoppin’. We drank our libations, made some friends, (including with an American girl who had moved to London from Chicago for Grad School…) and then walked a few more blocks to have dinner at a place filled with families celebrating the holiday.
After a yummy dinner and proclaiming my intentions to live in London to the Universe and my parents, it was finally time to sleep. We returned to our hotel where the hallways were lined with flickering candles and Christmas decorations. It was stunning. The setting, the whole day, was so whimsical that it was easier to absorb if I told myself it was fake. I didn’t want to leave when I woke up the next morning. I’ll never have enough of that city and am forever anticipating the next time I can be there.
We left the next day to board the Eurostar (fast train that goes under the English Channel) to Paris. I’m still working on putting those three days into words because I have a hard time accepting that my memories of that time are real.