Kansas City – Well, the time at last has come. I spent the last night of my stay in the Alexander Fleming Halls of Residence in Hoxton up reading, and doing some minor research on local history. My thought was that it would help me to sleep on the plane if I didn’t sleep at all the night prior to. Hitherto, my abilities of sleeping whilst flying have been almost non-existent, but I thought I’d give this most extreme tactic a try.
At about 4.32 BST, I noticed some light creeping into my West facing window. Looking out, I beheld the last British sunrise that I’ll see for a while. It was a nice, soft sunrise, quite different from those out in the Midwest. At 5.00, I went out and walked about the neighbourhood, hoping to find a café that might be open where I could get a cup of tea to help cure my allergies, and possibly inhibit the oncoming cold. Sadly, all the local cafés were closed, as it was Saturday. Even Starbuck’s hadn’t yet opened. So, it was back upstairs to my room to sort out the last minute packing that I might have missed the day prior. Thankfully, there was nothing to have missed, so it was onto another hour and a half of waiting until anything would be open.
I spent that period of time sitting on the benches outside the hall, bidding farewell to my friends as they went on their ways in ones and twos. At 7.30 BST, I too left Fleming with a pair of friends, Cara and
Mike, and headed for Old Street tube, to catch a train to King’s Cross St Pancras and then onto Heathrow.
As noted in my last post, the hardest thing I have had to do in the past few weeks was to say goodbye to all these friends that made up what we’ve called the Old Street Gang. It really did seem like we were all together for a good year, when in fact it was a mere three weeks.
Luckily, I ran into two Old Street-ers, Kendall and Allison, in the entrance to security at Heathrow. We later ran into another member of the Gang, Kelsea, in the duty free area just past security. The four of us spent our last moments together in London, attempting to avoid thinking about the inevitable, but at the same time unable to avoid the reality that we faced. I was the first to leave, as my 12.30 flight to Minneapolis was due to begin boarding at 11.35.
I walked down the path to the plane, looking out the windows, capturing the sights for the last time for now. Mentally preparing myself for my return to the US, and future return to the UK, I boarded the
plane, and took my aisle seat. The flight back was mostly uneventful. I slept a good deal of the way, with the aid of a couple films like The Hobbit and Life of Pi, the audio of which helped put me to sleep. I was surprised at Delta’s hospitality, considering that they had 3 meals for us. Still, I’m switching to British Airways/American Airlines after this trip.
After a good 8 and a half hours in the air, we passed over the UP and began to descend into Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. The process of going through Customs wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it could be. The biggest difference between the British and American Customs agencies is that HM Customs wasn’t understaffed. There were only 4 open desks at MSP, processing hundreds of people. After heading through Customs, I had my first experience of culture shock, when I went on the wrong moving walkway in the airport, realising that things in the States are on the right, not left. It just so happened that I was on the phone with my parents at this point, informing them of my arrival back in the Americas.
After a good three and a half hours sitting about in Minnesota, I boarded my flight to Kansas City. It was a short 58 minute flight between the homes of the Twins and Royals, but at long last we landed in Kansas City. It was great seeing my parents again, I missed them very much. It was just as good to see my dog, Noel, once more when we returned home.
I’ll really miss London, and all my friends. Since we’ve returned to our homes in the States, the group has been staying in touch, writing fervently about a reunion of sorts at some point in the near future. When and where that’ll be, we shall have to see.
Now, I may have started this blog as a way to record my study abroad experiences in London, but I intentionally named it so as to allow for it to continue after my return home. There’ll be more blog posts coming in the future, about such topics as my film work, return to Rockhurst, and other upcoming travels. For now, and to all of you who have been reading since I started this blog about a month ago, go raibh míle mhaith agaibh, thanks so much for reading and following my adventures. Until next time, tá!