Return to London
I rushed to the airport to catch my flight to London right after my first and only class today, arriving at the Florence Airport in time for my 1:50pm flight. This was my first time so far this semester flying out of the country – all the previous trips had been overnight busses, so this was a bit of a change. I did not miss the hassle of airport security, though… nor the lack of food available at airports. I ended up spending €10 on the most subpar burger I’ve ever had. Oh well, though, that’s the price to pay for convenience of traveling right out of the relatively small Florence airport. I was happy that I got randomly assigned to seat 14A – a window seat in the row of my favorite number.
I touched down in London at Gatwick Airport at around 3:30pm and, thanks to the Gatwick Express, was at NYU London dorms, excitedly hugging my friend who I hadn’t seen in over a month, by 4:30pm. Being abroad and having some of my closest friends living a few countries away from me is difficult at times, but I’m so thankful for how easy and relatively cheap it is to travel from Florence to London – or anywhere else in Europe, really – to be able to visit my friends.
We headed out to dinner at Nando’s, which has always had a soft spot in my heart since I first heard of Nando’s since it was one of Ed Sheeran’s favorite restaurants and he even wrote a song about Nando’s. We all ordered the same chicken burger for dinner and it was really good – totally worth the sticker shock of meals in London compared to the low cost of meals in Florence.
It just so happened that one of the singer-songwriters I like – Lewis Watson – was having a concert at Scalia, which is only a few minutes’ walk away from where my friends live in London, so we went to that show after dinner. Getting to experience a concert for a British artist while in England was rather cool. My music taste skews towards British artists, probably all stemming from artists related in some way to my favorites Ed Sheeran and Bastille, so it was very fitting to finally see a show here. I’ve always had deep respect for Lewis’ music and lyricism and he brought the same wonderful performance that he always does. My friend and I really enjoyed the show and both noted that the crowd in England seemed much more chill than an American crowd, with no pushing whatsoever.
Afterwards, we headed back to the NYU dorms to relax for a little bit and enjoy some of the fruit we bought at the local supermarket, Waitrose. Even going through that supermarket after a month of living in Florence really showed me how much I missed certain foods, especially fruits like mangos, which are pretty hard to come by in Florence.
It felt so nice to be spending time with my friends again – after having seen each other almost every day during freshman year, being apart for an entire month while abroad was definitely tough. However, I can attest to the cliche, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” because I do find myself missing the people who are farthest away the most, and accordingly I treasure the little time I have with them every once in a while.