The time has finally come to wrap up my time in London. This week has been such an odd limbo state of doing things for the last time but also trying to pretend that it’s not the last time we’ll be doing things. I can’t believe that the semester is really over. The past five months have flown by and have been an absolute dream come true. So here’s to my last week in the best city on earth.
On Monday I successfully completed my first British exam. It wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take long at all and was such a relief to have finished. Right after our exam Emilee and I met Lauren and Allie and we headed over to Abbey Road to cross off one last touristy attraction. Its really awkward posing for the photo in the middle of the road as cars wait for you to stop being an idiot but it was fun and definitely something that needed to be done before we left.
That night Emilee, Lauren, and I celebrated by getting two for one cocktails at the London Cocktail Club one last time. Lauren and I ordered the Porn Star Martini (basically just a passion fruit martini) and a really yummy daiquiri type drink. Emilee got a French Martini (I’m not sure whats in it but I stole a sip and it was good) and we spent the night drinking and chatting and all around avoiding the topic of leaving.
Tuesday night may have been one of the hardest goodbyes I had to say in London. Lauren and I went to our favorite club, The Roxy, for the last time. We met up with one of our friends we met in Amsterdam and danced the night away drinking our last pitchers of Filthy Habit. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope when I get back to America and my favorite cheap club isn’t right around the corner from my house. Hopefully I can find a recipe for filthy habit somewhere to recreate the magic.
Lauren and I spent our day Wednesday wandering around central London doing all our souvenir shopping. We bought plenty of tacky items to remember London by and loved every second of it. While walking around the Goodge Street area Lauren and I accidentally wandered into a Transport for London advert being filmed. We stopped to watch for a second trying to figure out what was going on and apparently ended up right in the back of one of the shots. We signed release forms so they could use our faces and I guess we very well may be on British TV now. I don’t want to brag but I think I’m basically a celebrity over there now (this will be my second British TV appearance). For dinner Wednesday night Lauren and I finally went to Bubble Dogs which is a restaurant that serves champagne and hotdogs. I know how incredibly weird that sounds but it was delicious. It’s the one place we had scoped out before even getting to England and I can’t believe it took us until our last week to actually go there but I’m glad we didn’t miss it. The hotdogs have all sorts of crazy toppings. I got a caesar dog which had caesar dressing, lettuce, and crispy chicken skin on top. It was absolutely delicious and I got sweet potato fries as a side. Lauren got a hotdog with chive cream cheese, garlic, and onions on top and tater tots as a side. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Thursday was entirely uneventful because I spent it studying for my last exam and pretty much didn’t leave my flat. We did have our API farewell dinner that night which was very bittersweet but a good time. The food was delicious. They took us back to the pub where we had our first lunch after landing in London. It was cool to see the trip come full circle. I ordered a chicken and leek pie with sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Both were amazing and I was so full after the meal. I had such a good time seeing everyone together one last time, even if it meant saying goodbye after the meal.
Friday was definitely the hardest day this week because it started to truly set in that we were leaving. My apartment was almost completely packed up by Friday morning. I had to wake up and take my last final Friday morning which was a bummer but it went quickly and it felt great to be done after. That afternoon I finished up my packing and cleaning and wandered to Regent’s Park one last time with Emilee and Lauren. Regent’s was definitely my favorite park in London. Its huge and filled with so many little flower gardens and beautiful fields. Sadly the weather on Friday was less than ideal for park going so we didn’t last very long lounging in the grass. It was great to go one last time and see all the flowers in bloom.
Friday night for dinner Lauren and I went to a pizza restaurant called Homeslice with Tim and Chris for one final flat dinner. The pizzas at Homeslice are massive and amazing and because there were four of us we split two. If you’re ever in the Covent Garden of London and need somewhere to eat Homeslice should not be missed. It was great to sit with Tim and Chris and just relax and reflect on our past semester.
We finished off our final night in London at our favorite pub (Jack Horner’s). Lauren, Emilee, Allie, and I ended up playing a really intense game of heads up while we drank our last pints and we were both the most popular and the most hated people in the bar. Heads Up is a game that started on the Ellen show where one person holds a card up on their forehead and the other people have to give them clues as to what the word on the card is. You do as many as you can in the time given and it always ends up being hilarious. We played a version on the iPhone that films you acting out the words so you can save the hilariousness. Everyone in the bar was watching us play and laughing along with us and it was a really great way to end our semester.
Saturday was officially move out day. We got kicked out of our flat at 10:00am on the dot and the morning was a frantic blur of cleaning, emptying trash cans, and lugging suitcases down the 75 stairs in my building. Lauren, Angelica, and I dropped off our suitcases at our reception building and met Emilee and spent the morning in a cafe killing time before our cab came to take us to the airport. It was so weird walking out of my flat for the last time knowing I’ll never be hiking up those stairs again. Although our flat was simple, it was home and I’m really going to miss it.
After we overstayed our welcome in the cafe we trekked over to Big Ben one last time to snap some photos and say our goodbyes. I never quite got over having Big Ben right around the corner from my house. It’s a view that’s always incredible and I can’t believe it won’t be so close anymore.
The first photo Lauren and I took in London way back when was a selfie with Big Ben. To truly finish off the trip we took one more (with slightly less excited faces this time)
The rest of Saturday was a blur of airport security and flight announcements. I had a surprise reunion with my best friend from Saint Mikes at the gate for my plane and I have never been so overwhelmed in my life. I saw her from a distance and did a double take before realizing that it was in fact her, screaming her name, and running over to her. We both burst into the tears we had been holding back all day and started laughing hysterically and hugging while making a huge scene at the gate. It was hilarious because throughout the 5 months that we were only one country away we never managed to see each other and there we were on the same flight back to America. My flight back home was long but uneventful and reuniting with my parents was exciting. Being home feels really strange and I’m having a pretty difficult time coping to be honest. London was the most incredible experience of my life and I truly can’t believe its over. Adjusting back to life in a small town is going to be really hard and I’m not looking forward to it. I will never forget all the experiences I had, the friends I made, or the magic of London from this past semester and I truly feel like the luckiest girl alive.