My initial farewell to London was messy, emotional and drawn out. My leaving party, while full of good intentions, was a failure of epic proportions.
In April when booking my ticket for a quick visit back to London I was experiencing inclement weather and a balmy 14 degrees in Turkey. London was suffering under oppressive blue skies and 25 degrees heat. At the time I was worried that twelve days would be too much and that I’d get bored. Having not spent more than I few days in each location on my travels, twelve days seemed extravagant. I wish I’d had another week!
I arrived into London from Jordon. On the plane trip Adrian and I decided to drink our duty free alcohol. Nathan and Balea, our other two travelling companions, after a single drink chose not to partake in our stupidity. Adrian took this as an excuse to drink more. I bowed out of the contest when I started to feel a little queasy. Adrian took this as a further sign to drink more. Only when he was throwing up in the cramped airplane toilet did he too decide to throw in the towel – after he’d used it to clean up his mess that is. We arrived in to London after midnight and made our way to immigration. Adrian was not looking or feeling his best. At immigration he stood behind us hoping he wouldn’t have to answer any questions for fear of projectile spew reducing his chances of entering the country. My sister was lovely enough to pick us up from the airport and drive us all back to her house. At 2am we were greeted with chocolate and drinks. Around 3am we all went to bed.
Jordan has a two-hour time difference from London. This affected me more than I expected. I was wiped out for the first few nights by 8pm and awake by 6am at the latest. Less than a week into my stay I had adapted to London time again. I was sleeping on the lounge room floor of my old house. It was initially a strange sensation to have my bedroom occupied by someone else, even though it was a good friend of mine. Little things like this helped reinforce that my stay was only temporary.
Over my twelve days in London family and friends spoilt me rotten. The Royal Ascot Races, fancy dinner parties, movies and concerts, oh my! I had a great time. My final weekend felt more like a fitting farewell with friends than my previous departure. Although both times I left the country just as exhausted.
As I had fatefully predicted London rained more during my short visit than I had seen it rain in my entire two years stay. Typical. I was not surprised considering what I had encountered over the past few months. Only on my last two days did the sun come out to play.
Apart from the weather my only complaint was that I didn’t get to see everyone that I had hoped to. Having no sim card and limited access to wifi outside of where I was staying I decided that I would use Facebook as my central means of communication. The majority of my London friends use Facebook regularly, with a few using it religiously. What became clear though is that those who broadcast more frequently on Facebook seem to spend less time actually keeping up with what other people are doing. When I left the other day I found it amusing and dismaying to have some friends suddenly exclaim loudly that they were sorry they’d missed me but had thought that I was in Syria or some-other-place. I hadn’t been in Syria for almost three months. Facebook is an imperfect means of communication and I shouldn’t be critical of Facebook connected friends who don’t use it to keep up with others. It’s just that during my trip I found it was my most efficient and effective means of staying in touch with everyone and feeling as if I was still a part of their lives, albeit in a small way. Through my blog and through Facebook was also how I was in turn expecting to keep my friends up to date with what I was doing. For the most part this worked, but in a few disappointing instances it was clearly a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Somehow the focus of my blog update shifted and turned sour, when my intention was to write hilarious prose about my London antics. I could end with a funny story about my friend who thought her excruciating perforated eardrum which was continuously excreting a bloody discharge was less important to have looked at by a doctor than seeing me, trust me it’s funny. Or my swaying drunken state at the Clapham street party followed by amusingly indecent behaviour. Or how I ended up at a freaking Rod Stewart concert. Or how a good friend waved me goodbye in nothing but his y-fronts while explaining to me what a great final memory of him he was giving me. Or why I am carrying around a Little Miss Dotty book. Or my joyful send off with good friends and family sharing a bottle of champagne with me at the airport. But mostly I want to end by saying that when I first left London I wasn’t ready, this time I was, I am. No tears. Next adventure.