There were so many good things about this last trip I went on. I was in England for ten days and met with old friends and met best friends for the first time. I fell in love with the city I’ve been in love with since I was a child. I squealed at every tea time and turned into a puddle with every charming accent. I stuck to purely British culture friendly food (which happens to not be out of my comfort zone… at all) and did my best not to stick out like a sore tourist thumb-except when I wanted to. Then I used the excuse, “but I’m an American”, to be loud and obnoxious. I took decent pictures and stole fantastic ones from my photographer sister. (@gems_intherough on instagram). I laughed with my family and explored with my new/old best friend. I didn’t run from life, I discovered it. And I fell in love.
I was reminded of a couple of things on this journey.
- I have the best family in the world.
I flew out a couple of days before the fam jam, which gave me time to experience England without them. I’m used to traveling without my parents. It comes naturally, actually. I tend to figure things out much quicker, because I have no mom to turn to when trying to figure out how to get my plane ticket or get my bags that were not where the screens said they would be. I figure everything out, with little difficulty, and I pride myself in becoming familiar with a new city. The moment I can navigate myself around a strange place is the moment it starts feeling like home. I did well without them (though I wasn’t completely alone, I had a great tour guide the whole time) but it was better with them. Looking back on all the vacations I’ve taken with the ‘rents’ and sisters I remember fantastic moments filled with joy and excitement, but I also remember stress, fighting, disagreeing on where to eat… like COME ON ITS THREE PM CAN WE JUST GET LUNCH NOW?! But this past trip had very few of the latter. Right now I can count two moments that there was extremely uncomfortable tension, and for a seven day trip in a completely strange place, that’s pretty darn amazing. My lovely sister and I had a blast exploring and making inappropriate jokes that caused my dad to snicker with pride and my mom to shake her head and rub her temples in the ‘they’re not my kids, Steve, they’re yours’ kind of way. I loved seeing my dad turn into a child again when we went to different castles and, despite what she would tell you, looked forward to my mom spouting off random facts about said castle that no one asked for but secretly enjoyed because, hey, knowing that Churchill decided to propose in that exact spot made the patch of grass so much more interesting.
I’ve always loved my sister, more than anyone would ever know, but to be completely honest, this trip brought us so much closer. One moment while walking across the not-London bridge, I had the thought “it’s so weird that Meg and I have known each other my entire life. Like… we played together when we were annoying little children. Weird.” And then I remembered… “OHHH. That’s because we are sisters. We grew up together. We are related.” I literally forgot for a moment that she was my sister because I was seeing her as a best friend, not just my friend because she has to be because, guess what, she’s my sister.
Also, we missed our oldest… A FREAKING LOT. “Why did we go on a trip without Haley? What were we thinking? Who said, ‘Hey, you know what would be a good idea? Going to London! WITHOUT HALEY.’ Because no one sane would ever say that.” We were missing the top cookie to our Oreo, the third musketeer (because two is just dumb), an ingredient to the S’more. Everything was only 2/3 as good as it could have been.
Anyways, I’m rambling and I don’t even think I got my point across.
I really love my family.
- The Internet is a beautiful thing
You’re going to read this and I guarantee you, you’re going to think, ‘that is so weird and kind of dangerous and why would you ever do that?’ but let me just beat you to the punch, I knew what I was doing.
A big part of this trip was me meeting a wonderful girl named Thea. We have been incredibly close friends for almost a year and a half now. But she lives in Norway and we have never met in person before, until London. We met on the internet and have continued talking, skyping and texting for months on end. She means so much to me and I know I can talk to her about anything. Meeting her, in person, was one of the best things ever. I expected it to be awkward, because though I know her very well, I didn’t actually know her. But I did. And it wasn’t weird. It was so normal. It was fantastic. And I’m so thankful I got to hang out with her in our dream city, London. And we never would have become friends if it weren’t for the internet.
The internet is a beautiful thing.
- Foreigners are hot.
This is pretty self explanatory…
Foreigners are hot.
- The small things are what make something great.
Yeah, Big Ben is cool and all these famous parts of London are amazing but it’s the accents, tea, and freaking glass cups that make me fall in love. Big tourist spots are what make a city great, but the little details are what make it a home.
- It doesn’t matter how much you walk or how small your bed is, if you’re in the city you love with the people you love, joy will follow.