Sc-sc-sc-screeeeech. That sound? That’s you, skidding to a halt before reading the rest of this blog post and clicking here instead: http://bit.ly/aKhsoN. And then come back!
Alright, now that the background music to my life is jammin’ away, settin’ the scene for my journey, and makin’ you realize how much you truly wish you had background music at every pivotal moment in your life, we can proceed.
I was tired. I was groggy. And I was upset—with myself. According to the screen on the back of seat 33K, we had 57 minutes left until landing. Why so upset, you may ask? I was about to land in London, for goodness sake, wasn’t I? LON-DON. Get excited, Tessa. Get pumped. Get jacked. Yeah, that reasonable voice in my head, which I’ve just now decided to name Teresa, lost a pathetic fight against Tessie, the little kid voice that just wanted to sleep because she knew she had a long long long long long long day ahead of her. Then, something incredible happened that shut both of ‘em up and let Tessa to her own thoughts.
I had breakfast.
Heh. Just joking. That wasn’t the “incredible” thing that occurred, though it was above average plane food. A little yogurt and an apple filled pastry of sorts. And WATER! Oh my goodness, water. Water so good!
Moving away from food related talk and back to the more important bit where I describe the so-called “incredible” something that happened to me.
I looked out my window.
The sky, or land, I guess, had been a dark abyss of nothingness for the entire six and a half hours prior to this moment. I had wanted to see my good friend Mr. Sunshine to have him give me a pep talk for the day. Turns out, his cheery goodness was absolutely, entirely, and unconditionally nothing compared to seeing the whole of London, lit up, waiting for a new day to begin, a new year to inaugurate. For months and weeks and days on end, it hadn’t hit me. My friends and family continued to jump and scream and show off their beautiful smiles, as they would tell me, or rather shout at me, “You’re going to LONDON!” I would respond with an awkward and horribly unattractive half smile/half grimace that usually received a variety of confused expressions. I would tell them that it just hadn’t hit me yet. Or that I was too busy worrying about packing everything.
But that moment. When I saw London, beautifully lit up. Pff. Yeah. My reaction? Slightly different. I had to reattach my eyeballs to their right sockets (gross, I know) when I first caught sight of the Tower Bridge. I made a barely audible squeak of delight as I glimpsed the London Eye for the first time. I squared my shoulders with pride (and a touch of self-awe) that I was able to spot the street where I would soon find my new humble abode from kilometers and kilometers above the city. Oh yeah, that’s right. I just used kilometers. Look who’s a regular old Londoner/Brit/Anyone-not-from-the-US now?
The most important and most embarrassing reaction, though, came from my first notice of Big Ben and all of its Parliamentary glory. I cried. Actually cried. It was that moment that I realized that I knew all along. I knew that it wouldn’t feel real until it was. Not when I was packing up all of my belongings. Not when I arrived at the O’Hare airport. Not even when I, once again, tearfully said good-bye to my parents.
No. None of that nonsense. I didn’t believe it until I saw it. B-I-G to the B-E-N. Big Ben! Barely resisting the urge to dole out my classic thumbs-up, I turned to my neighbor Dr. 34J and instead provided him with a huge, huge, HUGE pearly white smile. And what do I get from him in return? A beautifully crafted sarcastic and I-think-you’re-a-bit-pathetic one-liner: “Excited?”
Teh. Heh. Excited? What is this word? I was JACKED! Thrilled. Wound up on my newfound London life.
So here my journey begins. With once detached eyeballs (still really gross, I know), a mousey squeak, and tears.
Bring it on, London.