Just Touched Down in London Town

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Bumpy Landings

What a whirlwind. After just six short days living in the “poshest” borough in London, I am beginning to feel right at home in my new city. However, I cannot claim that the journey getting here was easy, and admittedly, the few problems I faced were entirely my fault. I had quite the eventful airport departure experience — to make a long story short, I miraculously managed to lose my passport somewhere post-security and pre-boarding my flight to London.

As you can probably imagine, I was distraught when I reached in the front zipper of my backpack to present my boarding pass and passport only to have the heart-dropping discovery that neither could be found. After several tear-streaked hours, talking to many security department heads, and a night in an airport hotel, I received the glorious news that my passport had been turned in to the lost and found and I would be placed on the next flight out that evening, free of charge. The relief I felt was palpable, but the hesitancy I felt about now arriving to my program one day delayed from the rest of my peers moved to the forefront of my mind.

Fortunately, the fear of being an outcast proved to be fruitless. Albeit exhausted, I arrived just in time to attend the first orientation and seamlessly entered into the folds of the group. As I write this now, sitting cross-legged under a shady tree in the heart of Hyde Park, I can reflect on the hurricane of emotions that arrival had caused with a clear mind. Quite contrary to the “why is this happening to me? This cannot be happening” torrent of thoughts racing through my head while running to retrace my steps through the Miami International Airport, I am now posed with a different question – what can I learn from this experience?

Responsibility is a valuable lesson to learn, and although the way of which it is taught may be less than ideal, I am humbled by the chaos. I can admit that pre-losing the passport, I had a swagger of confidence in my maturity and ability to live abroad. I have always viewed myself as the organized, trustworthy, adult friend; the one in the group that you could count on to remember important dates and navigate overwhelming situations. Yes, the irony is clear to me as well. I can now admit that I may have been slightly overconfident in my own abilities.

Post-passport fiasco I am a triple, quadruple checker. I am grateful that the problem was resolved in the manner that it was, and that there were no serious consequences to my negligence. Moving forward, I’m positive those feelings of despair will stick with me in every future trip – causing me to move slowly and deliberately when handling any and all important documents. I am very lucky that this didn’t happen while I was traveling somewhere else abroad, in a foreign country with little to no ways of obtaining a new passport. Clearly, the universe had a lesson to teach me, and I am so very glad that I learned that lesson in the safe boundaries of my own home country, where my parents were able to turn around and drive back to the airport to help me handle it. I can confidently say I won’t allow myself to be so careless in the future.

With the first of the many lessons I am sure to learn through this three-month journey somewhat painfully noted, I am eager to press forward and fully delve into this jaw-dropping city. London is unlike any place I have been before. The life pouring from the streets is intoxicating. Even though my stay has just begun, I can tell without a doubt I am going to fall in love with this place. I love taking the tube around the city, running and doing my homework in the vibrantly green landscape of Hyde Park, eating meals at cafes street-side, and have already attended two theater shows in just my first six days. I am so excited to see what comes next.

Until next week,