I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. I, Shannon Lindsay, was studying in London for six weeks. Can you believe it? I couldn’t. There had been only one spot left in the program, with less than a week left to apply. I had enrolled in the Creative Writing and Strategic Communications majors just this semester. And now I was in London. I’d travelled before. I had been to Mexico, Canada, Ireland, and France, but my dream was to always go to London, and here I was.
I was the first to arrive to the flat, unpacked, and showered (almost burning my skin off, I might add). The only problem with being a transfer student and opportunities like these falling into your lap is that I didn’t know a single soul going on this trip. But I was eager to know who my roommate would be.
As soon as she arrived, we all went to Starbucks together, because what’s more English than American Starbucks, right? We were told to not nap that entire first day because we should adjust to the time change. But I caved. Around eleven, I woke up about thirty minutes after my roommate, and the first word that came out of our mouths was, “pizza.” That’s when I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about coming on this trip alone. Fitting in that night felt almost as good as the bread, pepperoni, and melted cheese in my stomach, blanketing it with happiness. As Annie once said in that sad orphan musical, “I think I’m gunna like it here.”
The first few days in London were a blur. I couldn’t remember anyone’s names and they couldn’t remember mine, but none of us minded. The food was amazing and the sights were amazing and, well, London was amazing! I was learning so much about the city and its roots, and I felt like I was actually important to the rest of the group on the trip. I didn’t know how I’d gotten here, but I didn’t want to leave.
There were many different personalities in this group of twenty-six or so, and some clashed with others. Anime fans next to the “Miami Basics” next to losers like me. What brought us together was this incredible opportunity that each of us wanted to relish for as long as we possibly could. I had never seen such a unique dynamic of people interact with one another as I did with this group. We became a family.
With only a few moments on tour buses to catch some shut-eye, everyone in that group should have seen the monster come out, but they didn’t. Maybe it was some London magic, but if so, I was begging for a little more magic to soothe the literal pain in my ass from walking so much. But it was worth it: I was really loving the opportunities to relive Mary Kate and Ashley’s steps from Winning London and see sights from Peter Pan, If Only, and Harry Potter! I cherished every touristy moment.
The books I was reading were interesting and my fellow participants on the trip actually wanted to talk about them, something I never do even with my family. They loved to write, too, and they wanted to see as much of London as they possibly could. We were all a bunch of losers together on this trip, and each and every one of them was beautiful in their own way. I didn’t know if it was the tea, fish and chips, or lack of MSG in the food talking, but I felt like I was home more than I did in the humidity of Cincinnati or the bubble of Oxford – so I dug in for another bite.