8.04.2008

something has changed within me, something is not the same

I miss London. It's been over a month that I've been back in the United States and not a day goes by where I don't think about it or miss it or wish I was back. For six weeks I lived: on Great Russell Street, WC1 3LA, three minutes walk from the British Museum, in the West End, ten minutes walk to Covent Garden, with Soho at my fingertips, and most importantly, one block, about one minute, from High Street shopping--Oxford Street.

Our first day there, we got off the plane exhausted, but ready. The bus ride was weird, it didn't feel real. Then we passed a TGIF's and a T.K. Maxx and it started to get too bizarre. When we walked into our flat (2 bathroom, 3 bedrooms, but shared between 7 people) and went upstairs to the room that had been designated for the three of us (J, D, me)...it was surreal. There we were. Our new home. It was smaller than an attic, yet still managed to house 3 twin beds, 3 dressers, and 3 armours. It was perfect.

Somehow, in some crazy turn of events, I ended up loving my other four flatmates. So did D & J. This rarely happens. It was weird. We all have completely different personalities, yet they all complimented each other so well. I could not have been luckier.

During those six weeks, I was not myself. I did things that I never would have thought I would ever do. And I don't mean what you probably think I mean. I always knew I would travel and see the world...I just mean that something inside changed during that time. Cheesy, I know, but being in London just made me feel so insanely normal and at ease for once. I have never had so much fun. Even when things went so wrong, they were still so right.

For example:
D, J, & me went to Dublin. We got stuck in a hostel with so much mold that our throats closed up in the few hours that we slept there. (Brown's Hostel--I do not, under any circumstances, recommend you to sleep here. Do whatever you have to do to sleep elsewhere. We did.) Oh, we also slept in a four bed room that consisted of me, D, J, & an old Russian man who was naked when we arrived into the room. I slept under him & J slept in the top bunk across from him while he stared at her out of the corner of his beady eye all night. The next morning, we optimistically thought we could just switch hostels. However, Bruce Springsteen had ruined any chance we had at that by having a concert in Dublin that weekend. We got stalked by a woman with brown teeth who wanted to charge us 150 euros for a bed in a spare room in her apartment. D & I got in a huge fight. J wisely stayed out of it. We drank Guinness at the factory even though it tasted bloody awful and the factory itself was more boring than watching water boil.

We booked a pub crawl for that same night, so we figured we might as well go, even though we were homeless and had no bed to sleep in afterwards. Upon arrival at Oliver St. John Gogarty's pub (which was around four stories tall and full of alcoholics), we realized our pub crawl was full of elderly people, around the average age of 70. Our executive decision? To forfeit our £8 and get mind-blowing, body-numbing, drunk, as fast as we possibly can. The day had been an absolute nightmare, we deserved it, and we were in one of the most famous pubs in Ireland--what else could we have possibly done? After a solid hour or so of drinking endless vodka waters, we approached the turning point to our night:

California boy: "Would you girls like a Jagerbomb?"
and the three of us, in unison, before the words could leave his lips: "YES."
And we then charged the bar like a pack of starving, wild wolves.

The guy had two brothers. Three of us, three of them, it worked. It worked all night long and we stopped having to pay for our drinks. Then, our creepy roommate showed up to the pub. Of all the pubs in Dublin, he chose this one. And he tried to speak to us. So we ran, the six of us, hand in hand, ran out of Oliver's and through Temple Bar, in and out of different pubs all night long. We never stopped drinking. I have no idea when we decided to go "home" but eventually the decision was made and we realized we had no home. We were absolutely not going back to that firey pit of hell that was our hostel. So we went with the boys. We slept in one of their three rooms at the Westin Dublin. I know, you think we are officially crazy for thinking that was even remotely appropriate. Trust me, it was. Desperate times call for desperate measure! I ordered four bowls of ice cream from room service before passing out. In the morning I realized the ice cream was untouched and ended up costing me 60 USD. This was only day 1.

So, as you can see, a lot of craziness went on during my six week stay in London and the trips I took while I was there. I learned a ton of important shit about myself that eventually lead to making some life altering decisions upon my arrival back to the States.

In 6 weeks, I saw Spamalot 5 times. I saw Wicked and cried. I saw Avenue Q and realized that I am not alone, other people share my humor. When I saw Hairspray, it was one of the first few days we were in London and I was just so sublimely happy. I walked across Abbey Road, pretending I was a Beatles roadie and lived in a different era. I stayed after hours at Frevd with the bartenders while they did "interesting things" and gave us free shots all night while we sat around talking and listening to Cypress Hill (they thought we would like it because we're American). I kissed two Americans, an Italian, a Scottish guy, and of course, a British guy. The Tube; I love taking the Tube. I saw a Midsummer's Night at the Globe and Andy Warhol at the Portrait Gallery. The Eiffel Tower sparkling was so dazzling that it made me dizzy with euphoric happiness. I watched J do Communion during mass at Notre Dame. The sun rose in London before my eyes ever shut from the night before.

And more than anything, I experienced it all with two of the most important people in my life.
And I met three more of them.

It's a magical city; there is no other way to describe London Town. It will let you fall madly in love with it, but it will love you back. It will dazzle you, swoon you, take you out for dinner, make you laugh, and let you sleep in its comfortable, gray, rainy arms. London, I will see you again soon.

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