Missing London

It's been almost 3 months since I returned from London. As I sit here in the middle of boring Findlay, OH drinking my morning coffee from my Tower of London mug before I go to class and work, London seems so far away and almost like a long lost dream. The girl who lives my mundane life back home just doesn't seem like the same world traveler who took on London less than 3 months ago. Though it seems like it was all a beautiful dream, I know it was not. It was real and it was hard; it was stressful, confusing and exhausting yet it was the best experience of my life. The more time that lapses from my time across the pond, the more I realize how incredible the whole experience was. London is a city like no other... I took for granted being there for three weeks in a beautiful flat with unlimited time to explore. I am already completely ready to return. There are many things I miss about London but I tried to keep the list short.... or I might start crying into my coffee.

So here we go- 9 things I miss about London in no particular order: 

1. I miss Pret. Such yummy and healthy fast food. We really need to get those on every street corner here like they are in London. I especially miss the Pomegranate Hibiscus juice :( USA needs to get on Englands fast food level ASAP.

2. I miss Primark. Cheap, adorable clothing and accessories. Emphasis on cheap. and adorable.... but rumor has it they are crossing the pond and we will soon have Primark in the USA!!!

3. I miss being about to see history on every street corner and anywhere I look. Even just walking from my flat to the Tesco Grocery led me past adorable little Mew's that once housed the London carriage horses and now have cute apartments and townhouses. We lived 2 blocks from Regents Park; a fact we sadly did not realize until the last week. Even our flat was a 100-year-old home that once belonged to a rich London family. Though it was converted to apartments, elements of it's past still can be found such as the servant elevator we used to get to our 5th floor flat and the ornate fireplace in our living room.
Our beautiful home away from home, Hampden House

4. I miss castles. There were castles everywhere. Since I am secretly a princess, this was just perfection in my opinion. Someday I will go back and maybe I will buy one. There are no castles in Ohio and it is incrediably depressing.

5. I miss UCL and Dilke House. UCL (University College of London) was our school while we were in London and it was a huge, sprawling, historical campus. Our classroom and host office (AIFS: American Institute of Foreign Study) were in Dilke House right smack in the middle of campus. To study at such a prestigious and historical university was just so fantastic. Also, AIFS was fantastic. They were there to help and hold our hands when London got confusing and overwhelming or just to have a nice chat after class. Oh and they had Kareoke night and it was absolutly great.

6. Abbey Road. I went all the way to the tube station St. Johns Wood and walked across it (barefoot of course) at least 3 times during my stay. I want to walk across it again. I want to walk where they walked just a few more times... or a lot more times. I want to go back and spend a day just sitting and waiting to see if Paul will wander past on his way to Abbey Road Studios. But for now I will settle for my poster in my bedroom and my Abbey Road mug of course.
The one time I didn't go barefoot
7. Believe it or not, I miss the Tube. It was so easy to just go anywhere. Tap your Oyster card and off you go. Despite when it was crowded, hot, smelly or randomly not running- it is a great form of transportation and once I figured it out, super easy to navigate. Also, all the Buzzfeed lists about the Tube and all its quirks just make me want to balance and wobble my way from Great Portland Street to Tottenham Court one more time... which of course would spit me out right in front of Primark (see what I did there??)
Home base Tube stop
8. Oh how I miss the British way of speaking. Why did American have to lose that accent and word usage when we fought for our independence???? It's just such a nice use of words and the accents *swoon*. My goal is to make Brilliant and Savage happen in Findlay. Hopefully I will be more successful then Gretchen Weiners and "fetch".

9. Ireland. I could make a whole separate post about Ireland but I will keep it short and sweet. 3 days was not enough on this beautiful Emerald Isle but it was still incredible. I kissed the Blarney Stone, walked along the Cliffs of Moher, drank some Guinness in Dublin and discovered that it is truly as green as they say. I am Irish and being in the land of my ancestors was purely moving. Already planning another trip in the future because 3 days just wasn't enough.

Well I am not crying in my coffee yet but I am still missing this city something fierce. I just can't describe it. It was wonderful and beautiful and hard and stressful. We walked to much, slept too little, traveled like crazy and explored everything while making many a mistake along the way and had a few too many #TouristAlert moments and yet it was imperfectly a perfect study abroad experience. I am probably driving my roommates insane because every five minutes: "Omg while I was in London" or "So in London they do this..." or "look what I got in London".... but it's just still at the forefront of my mind nearly 3 months later.

Those three weeks taught me to wake up every morning anticipating an adventure and to take whatever happens in stride and find the beauty in it. Like when it took me two hours to make my way to the Churchill War Rooms despite the city mapper estimation of 20 minutes. Though the tubes I needed weren't running and I walked around South Kensington for an hour in the wrong direction; I found beauty in the mess. I saw beautiful houses and families out for a morning stroll. I passed famous landmarks and Kensington Gardens (3 times...oops). It was a sunny, warm morning and the walk was lovely and refreshing. Something like this normally would have put me in an automatic bad mood and destroy my whole day but through my experiences in London I learned to take it as it was and find the beauty. This experience changed me as a person.... my eyes have been opened to the world and different cultures. I just feel as though I can understand and appreciate differences more after 3 weeks in a different country, culture, and continent. I seek out adventures I never would have before. Instead of holding back and not taking the opportunities that pass by, I want to take those random opportunities and see where they lead me. Every opportunity in London led to something great and I just had to try everything once, even if it was just to say I did, I am trying to apply that to life back home as well; you only live once so make the most of it.

I know I have rambled and gotten sappy but it all came straight from the heart. I cannot say enough about this experience and how completely beautiful it was. Saying goodbye to London was hard but I know I will go back someday. I left a little piece of my heart there.

....and  I have to buy a castle.

Does it get more British and beautiful than that?

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