The Sun Never Sets

Day 1 Home

My last week in London sure did turn out to be a long one. After two exams and 24 hours of flights, customs, and security checks without sleep, I somehow made it all the way back home. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. I made sure to have a little bit of fun before one of my great adventures came to an end after 149 days.

SATURDAY, LONDON Well my long day traveling home got off to an interesting start. I almost lost my wallet within the first ten minutes. I woke up around 7am and did some last-minute packing. After checking out of my flat, I grabbed all my bags and headed out to the train station. When I got to the gate and reached for my oyster card I realized my wallet was nowhere to be found. In a panic, I raced back to the dorm and thankfully I had left the thing on the front desk after I handed over my key card. So not the greatest start to my day.

Took the tube one last time out to Heathrow. A little bit cheaper than the black cab I had taken out to Stratford when I had first gotten into town. I managed to check my bag and get through security all pretty quickly and ended up having about two hours to chill in the airport before I even knew which gate to head over to. I watched some Netflix for a while before heading to the gate and boarding my first of three flights for the day around 1pm. I ended up with a blissful window seat and jetted off on the first leg of my journey.

ICELAND The first leg of the trip went rather smoothly. I got into Iceland on time. When we stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac I realized I really didn’t dress correctly for Icelandic summer. It was after all-around 45 degrees. Grabbed dinner and stood around in line for my next flight. Struck up a conversation with a couple from Alabama while I waited around. It took forever to get us checked, boarded on busses, and on the plane. I lucked out for the second time with yet another window seat. I settled in for the five-hour flight to Boston and prayed I wouldn’t have to sprint across the airport this time.

BOSTON Surprisingly another decent flight. The only annoyances were the guy in front of me deciding to recline the whole trip and a random screaming baby for half the flight. We made it into Boston and I had about two hours before my flight home. It was about 6pm EDT but my body sure knew it was still Midnight in London. The US border at Boston wasn’t too bad. It just turned out that everyone getting off the flights at that time were US citizens. Breezed through customs where the only question they asked me was if I had packed some booze in my bags (there wasn’t any room for a bottle of Scotch). I grabbed my checked bag and rechecked the thing. It was pointless in my opinion but hey at least it made it across the ocean with me this time.

Ran through security and headed to my last gate of the day. I slumped into a chair and waited. To my horror, there was a mechanical problem with the plane. Thankfully we were only delayed for about 30 minutes before they got us all aboard. I thanked my lucky stars as I got my third window seat of the day. Settled in for the dark flight home.

RALEIGH Got in around midnight, or as my body is still calling it, 5 am. I was thoroughly dead by this point and had managed to shut my eyes somewhere over New York before opening them up again over Virginia. Someone had a rough flight as I smelled the unmistakable fragrance of vomit in the cabin. Once we got to the gate, I grabbed my bags and rushed off the flight to the exit tunnel. At the end waiting for me, was none other than Mom, Miranda, Ian, Veronica, and Shannon. After some hugs, we all headed down to the baggage claim to wait for my bag. We chatted and caught up for a long while before my bag was finally put on the belt. After another round of hugs and welcome homes, I got in the car and headed home.

BENSON The only thing keeping me going at this point was the promise of cookout which we grabbed on the way to the house. It was the best food I’d had in weeks. I finally got to my bed at around 2:30 in the morning. After a full 24 hours and 30 minutes, I was finally, blissfully home.

FRIDAY, OLYMPIA LONDON Went in early for my last exam on the last day of testing. I met up with a few of my classmates in Olympia before we started testing. We’re all a little worried we’re all going to fail the final and French in general after not really doing anything with it for several weeks. Taking the exam sure didn’t help the feeling that I might end up failing. I did manage to write French for every blank, probably just not the right French.

LONDON Managed to finish the thing early and then ended up wandering around the streets of central London for the last time. I realized today how much I’m going to miss living in this place. I managed to stumble onto the Horse Guard’s parade ground where they’ll have the trooping of the color later this month. Walked down the Mall one last time and across and along the Thames one last time too. After a while, I managed to make it back home where I put off packing until the very last minute.

WEDNESDAY, OLYMPIA LONDON Two months after my last class I finally had my exam for War in the International Order. Headed over with Montana to the testing venue all the way out in Kensington. It was his final and my first. After waiting around for a while, we were finally let into the testing hall with a thousand other students all taking different exams.

The exam itself was just like any other political science exam in the world apparently. Pick two questions and write two essays. Easy. Well knowing I only needed a 23 on the exam I just kind of went for it. For one essay I rejected the premise of the question, which you should never do but I felt like living dangerously. I finished with 45 minutes left and left early.

GREEN PARK We headed over to James J. Fox and grabbed some Cubans to celebrate finishing up the exam and the end of Montana’s junior year. We chatted about London, what we’d miss about the city, and what we were looking forward to when we finally got back home. Honestly, I’m just ready to be finished with King’s and my Sophomore year.

 MONDAY, STRATFORD After a long day of studying I decided to reward myself by heading across the street to watch the new Star Wars movie. Strangely enough, it was the first time I’d ever gone to see a movie by myself. It was a rather liberating experience. Being a Monday night, I had the theater mostly to myself and enjoyed the film. It was alright, nothing to write home about. 

It sure is quiet back home. I never realized how much I had become accustomed to the hum of the city. While I’m glad to be back home and finally seeing people I haven’t seen in months, I’m always going to miss London. I learned so much about myself there. The city taught me how to fend for myself, it taught me what I want in life, it taught me to roll with the punches, and it taught me lessons I’m still trying to understand. While I don’t think it’s been one of those “I’ve found myself” kind of things, it may have changed me all the same. The only thing I know for sure is I’ve got stories for a lifetime now and if I ever start to annoy you with them, well too bad they’re pretty good.

Well, this it. The end of the journey. I’m glad you decided to follow along these past 149 days and I can’t wait to catch up with you in person. If you’re ever traveling over to London, give me a call, I may be able to send you to a good pub. And on that note, I’m going to bed to fight off some jet lag. See you soon.

La Fin

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