I never quite understood why most famous sites gather tourists from all around the world year-round, while many people living in the area have never bothered to visit it. That is, until I was in London. I was a faithful tourist who did all the touristy things like visiting Westminster Abby and The Tower, following tour guides while snapping away with my camera. By the third week, I was thoroughly sick of site-seeing, so I started bridging and fell more and more in love with the comfort of my room and afternoon/weekend naps. It was only during my last two weeks in London did I suddently realize I still had not seen much of the city and there were still half a dozen places that I wanted to go. Being the procrastinator, I should not have been surprised. The last week was divided between last-minute sight-seeing and spending as much time as possible with friends that I would soon be leaving. I felt like some kind of terminally-ill patient, not ready to leave or say her goodbyes.
All in all, my last days in London were the best they could have been: trips to Kensington, National Galleries, Picadilly Circus, and the nights spent trying to work but mostly talking, karaoke, latenight snack at Chinatown, and sipping cocktails in Detroit bar (not the American city). My last night in london was spent with all my best friends in London. There was a hotpot, during which everyone had more than enough to eat. Afterwards, Sinyee, Hong King, Chloe and Zoey helped me pack for the entire night. It was fun and wonderful. We all crashed afterwards in my room for two hours before getting up, cleaning out my room, and heading to Heathrow. The train ride passed all too soon and we were at Terminal 4 before we knew it. There we stood as I searched my mind for some words of farewell to Zoey, but everything that came out of my mouth just sounded inadaquate and trite. Never before had I had a teary goodbye, so I was quite at a loss as I gingerly put my arms around Zoey, trying my best to console her. When she left with the train, it almost seemed like she was the one we were sending off, not me.
Checking in was a nightmare, or rather, between queueing for check-in and boarding was a nightmare. The line for check-in was long as usual (it happens everytime I’m flying back to the the US), but I wasn’t particularly worried. It meant I had more time to say goodbye to my friends, or i thought. It turned out that only passengers could stay in the queue. Half way through the queue, I was booted to the front because we were less than an hour away from when the plane is suppose to depart. But then check-in took absurdly long time because they couldn’t locate a seat for me. By the time I had my boarding pass, the plane had already started boarding. So my friends and I sprinted to the security gate and I waved a hasty farewell as they watched me run towards the security. All through security, I was worried about missing my flight. By the time I got myself to the gate, which was fotunately not too far from the secutiy point, I realized I had left my carry-on luggage at the security. So I ran back to security, grabbed my luggage, and ran back to the gate…only to be told my luggage will have to be searched because I left it unattended. Fortunately, I got on the plane in one piece, albeit my suitcase was in a mess after the guards threw everything out and then back in….
The trip back was relatively painless. I passed out half the time on the plane and spent the other half gazing at ice sheets from the window, reading notes from friends, and watching The Notebook. I spent the 4 hours layover in Mineappolis calling friends and dad and burned through half of my phone’s battery. By the time I got home, it was almost 11pm, but oh I was so happy to see my room again. It was wonderful. The very next day began the slew of hanging out with friends, bringing bridge back to the States, and general holisday goodness.