November 26: Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I had my last breakfast of soupy oats and peanut butter with the spoon I ‘borrowed’ from the hotel earlier this week and some grapes I bought at the market. I’d like to think I am a low maintenance traveler. I hate to spend a lot of money on breakfast and I have no shame in drinking the tap water wherever I am and filling up my water bottle.
The peanut butter was 3 pounds and was 95% peanuts. It was sugary compared to my usual Trader Joe’s and the label proclaimed that it was free of butter, which made me laugh. Side note: don’t give your dog peanut butter with the stabilizers. It makes them sick, so be sure to only give them the natural kind for an occasional treat.
On my way to Gatwick Airport for a long day of traveling, but I hope y’all have a blessed day of too much food, family, and lots of love.
Update: My bag weighed 12.5 and the maximum is 12, so I was .5 over. The forced me to check my bag and pay 50 pounds. Visualize a disgruntled American wearing all of her heavy clothes and you have a good idea of what I look like right now. Once we got to our gate, a group of brosefs were downing Smirnoff and orange juice. Brosefs = guys that think they’re really cool with the ladies. Popped collars and other brightly colored attire with some sort of name brand that mainstream marketing has convinced them is cool to wear. Add some slang terms and talking about how hot a certain girl is and you have yourself a brosef.
Thank God we were not seated next to them and I am sure my face said I was not amused. Sure sign you’re getting old, but I am also relieved I was never that immature. Part of traveling is being at the mercy of airlines, airport staff, and locals. You’ve got to go with the flow and remember to count your blessings.
Memories that I will hold onto: Yelling our grievances in Waterloo after the philharmonic. Eating macaroons in bed and recalling how far we’ve come from our Statehouse days. Sharing our fears at a pub and being thankful for our health and families. Wearing my big curly hair untamed on the tube and feeling free. Being impractical and buying fancy lipsticks at Dior. Falling asleep to Adele with a shared earbud in one ear. Helping a British child at Harrod’s find their mom. Conversations about our uniqueness. How we don’t look like anyone else. The truth of the importance of timing. Wondering if someone still thinks of me or even cares. A rush of memories when I passed the London Eye. Realizing the cruelty in the world and knowing you may never understand other people’s actions. Promising to never let any of my relationships become routine. Making everyday the best that it can be. Appreciating every small act of kindness because in the end, those will be the big moments. Hoping I’ll someday return to London with kids of my own and make new memories, each year more and more content and at peace with myself and the legacy I’ll leave. All reflections on the plane and a culmination of my week across the pond.
The second Audible book that I tackled on the flight prompted me to record my thoughts. Marina Keegan’s ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ is beautifully written and the first story in particular tugged at my emotions. You may recognize her name as the Yale student that passed away in a car accident a few years ago. She left behind eight short stories that will force you to reflect on life. I found myself tearing up as Keegan tells the story of a college boy that passes away and his former girlfriend is left with an emptiness that cannot be filled and a current ‘girlfriend’ that hates the former. He left behind a journal that details his thoughts and needless to say I could relate. The uncertainty, the girl that wasn’t right at a particular time, the family members she had grown to love and had to leave behind, the unbreakable bond, the shared history, and the promise of a lifetime juxtaposed with the desire to not be ‘tied down.’
These are deep thoughts, friends. I also blame being sleep deprived, but I am sharing this to encourage you to read it. Her short stories are fiction, but powerful and thought provoking. WOW Air had no idea what hit me when they asked if I wanted to buy overpriced Pringles in Icelandic money. Keegan was taken from the world too soon, but she lived a full, vibrant 22 years. If only more people had the same depth of perspective.
I found this quote while scrolling through Instagram. Do what makes you happy. Stay up ridiculously late dancing to silly songs with your dog. Bake and deliver cookies because you feel like it. Fly to London because you can. I suppose this is what my trip was all about. Turning 29 and opening a new chapter. Self love will attract the right love and in the meantime, I plan to make my adventure pretty incredible (or at least interesting). Like one of my very best and wise friends says, ‘buckle up.’
Self portait: Disgruntled American