I’m no longer writing you from six hours later time. I returned to the United States on Saturday evening to the welcoming arms of my parents and sister. Even though I’m back, I want to update you through my final days in the Kingdom.
Wicked: Right after I last wrote, I went to Wicked The Musical at the Apollo Victoria. The EUSA program provided us students with free tickets to random events across the City. I chose Wicked as my free event because I had heard a lot of good things about it, and why not see something that relates to the Wizard of Oz being from Kansas? Wicked is the preface to the Wizard of Oz and explains how Glenda (the good witch) and Elphaba (the bad witch) came to be, as well as the tin man, lion, scarecrow and Dorothy. Like the last musical I saw, the voices were outstanding and acting was spot-on. I still think that the original Wizard of Oz is better though.
Last day at M2M: Thursday was my final day at my internship with M2M. Most of the people during the day were packing up, much like me, although, they were heading to the floor above. The company has grown and expanded enough to add another floor. My last day consisted of pulling some final reports and chasing clients for documents needed to make deadlines. At the end of the day, the agency surprised me with a gift. Everyone had signed a card with nice notes. Along with the card were four movie DVDs, all Momentum Pictures productions, one of our clients. One of the movies was The Fighter, a movie that gained rave reviews. From there we went to a social at a park not too far away. Awaiting us was Pierre, a Frenchman who works in digital media. His job was to inform us how to play pentanquet, a game similar to boules. Each team alternates trying to throw a heavy ball near the “jack”. The closest team’s ball at the end of the round wins. My team did quite well to start out with, but was defeated on the last throw by the opposing team. It was a great time, and I got to know some people even better. Drinks were provided, and of course I had some Pimm’s.
Farewell party: From pentaque, the other intern Grace (from Buffalo, New York) and I went to our student farewell party located near King’s Cross station. The place was called Smithy’s, where we were served bangers and mash for dinner as well as free drinks. I spent the rest of the night watching British television at our place.
Friday’s class and field trip: I entered my last full day in Britain with a lecture about power and sovereignty. The final field trip was to Tate Britain, a modern art gallery. A lot of the modern items included objects, lighting, abstract art and perspective. One of the pieces was literally a trash bag with pink paint on it, although, the pink ‘paint’ was made of women’s products like toothpaste, cooking ingredients, cleaning materials, etc. My favorite item was an Native American headdress made of the metal from a wash bin.
Hyde Park picnic: Friday afternoon, Paige, Chelsie and I created a wonderful end to a great trip with a picnic in Hyde Park. The weather was near perfect, and the swans were out on the lake. Our meal included brie cheese, salami, baguette, English black grapes, beets, pasta salad, chocolate minstrels and boxed French wine. We all spent a while laying in the grass looking up to the British sky for a last time. For me, it was a time to collect my thoughts before the subsequent day of jet lag. From the park, you can also see Kensington Palace, an official residence of the Royal family.
Dinner in Soho: Not long after our picnic, it was time for dinner. We went to Piccadilly Circus and walked to Soho where we would find a nice Italian restaurant. I ordered a sausage pizza and olives with wine. After that, we went to none other than Snog, the recurring location for my late night frozen yogurt cravings. I needed to go home to pack, and so I did. I made a pile of what I needed to take home, things I needed to throw away and things I wanted to donate.
The day of departure: I woke up to finalize my packings and to clean up the room before I left. To be honest, I will not miss the room I stayed in because of its size, along with the bathroom for the same reason. I said goodbye to Chelsie, who was staying several weeks past the program to peruse Europe with her mother. My suitcase was quite heavy, but everything fit that needed to. Paige and I, who traveled together, made our way to our Gloucester station and headed to Heathrow Airport. We arrived in plenty of time and waited to board the plane to Minneapolis, our first and only stop. The nine-hour flight nearly drained me. First, the audio did not work on my screen, so I couldn’t watch the movie to pass the time. Second, I’m too tall to have sufficient leg room anywhere. I was able to doze off in 30-minute increments, but that’s about it. We arrived in Minnesota safe and sound, but goodbye in-shape people and British accents. The Minnesota airport greeted us with thick northern Midwest accents and unflattering clothing. There wasn’t much of a wait until we headed to Kansas City. The flight to KC seemed like a car ride across town, after surviving nearly half a day on the first flight. I sat near a baby once again, but the flight was short enough to keep my sanity. After walking off the plane, I was back home. My mom, dad and sister stood waiting for me, probably expecting me to look different. I don’t think I did, but I’m sure I looked a bit weathered. We left, got a quick snack, and after a while, I was back in my childhood home; back in my 6’5″-friendly bed; and back to rural life.
And welcomed by American debt politics on TV.