London, Where do I begin? Do you know the feeling where you are so excited you can’t help but giggle? It is the moment where you so badly want to be cool calm and collected, to not be the teenage mid-west tourist in a big city, but you can’t help but revert back to a wide-eyed giggling schoolgirl? This was me in London. Every corner I turned I saw an iconic statue, or building or bridge that brought me so much excitement and joy I could barley keep from skipping. OK, maybe I skipped a little. I wanted to experience EVERYTHING. So I did. I spent the whole day learning the metro system-which was exciting just in and of itself. A corn fed Indiana girl, who had no experience with public transportation was elated at the idea of riding and simply understanding the “tube”. And yes, I chuckled every time the lady said “mind the gap” which means to not fall in the space between the platform and the metro car. Which, in Retrospect, is actually good advice for me considering my lifelong battle with gravity.
The thing about London is that it is JUST like you have always imagined it to be or what you have seen in the movies. I spent the day discovering numerous places I have always heard about and had always wanted to see. It was a day of checkmarks for me. Not only was I ticking away at the Iconic locations “you just have to see when you are in London”, I was also fulfilling personal checkmarks. These were like hidden gems. I would turn the corner and see a blue door in Notting Hill or a street named Durey Lane (No one knew the muffin man though! I asked several people.) Those things may seem small to you but they made me just as happy as seeing the Tower of London.
Perhaps one of the best memories of my first trip to London was seeing Les Miserables at the Queens Theater. Our group got dressed up and rode the Tube to Piccadilly circus. When I stepped out of the underground I had suddenly transported myself to…well a circus of color and lights. The place was alive with a flowing stream of traffic, lights, people, buildings and energy. The place was magical…but that was nothing compared to the play. It was like nothing I had seen before. I had never felt a production more. I was seriously shaking the entire performance because I could no longer contain how truly thankful I was for this entire experience. It all seemed to culminate in this moment. I left the theater in tears, not only because it is a very moving production, but also because I felt so blessed. I had had a trip of a lifetime. I had seen so many things. How could I go home and share these things with others? How could I express the feelings of joy and wonder that seeing these sights stirred in my soul?