Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

Back in the USA tonight (though as I’m writing, it’s 8am in London – strange to remember the huge time difference). On that note, I really cannot believe that breakfast and watching everyone leave was really 24 hours ago. It all feels like it’s been one day – seeing the first group leave at 4:30 am, breakfast at 8, leaving at 11:30, plane around 4 in the afternoon, getting to the US around 8 or 9 at night. I suppose I did some proper time traveling there.

But back to this (yesterday?) morning. I didn’t really get much sleep. Kelsey and Nicole got back around 3am. There was some tackling and running going on in the hallway too. As people continued packing, I took a wool blanket into Adam’s room – Alexis wanted to hear fairy tale stories, so Adam and I came up with the girl and the elephant – going line by line, which degraded quite quickly. Better than my story about a middle eastern prince. Though Alexis tried to tell one about a Russian prince – sorry to say that I fell asleep. But Adam woke me up about 20 minutes later.

We waited around, and 4:30 soon came around, and we had to say goodbye to Adam, Stephanie, Nicole, and Katie. It was a bit sad – some tears, pictures, and many hugs going around. We waved as they walked around the corner with their suitcases. Though they were lucky in some ways, because I think they got home before my flight even left!

A thoughtful morning
At 4:30 though, the sky was already pretty light (higher latitude), and I thought it’d be cool to watch the sunrise. Ahren, Tom, Alexis, Kevin and I trekked out behind Lawrence to the grass and the lake to watch the sun rise. It was really peaceful in the morning – morning light in the sky, the sounds of crickets, ducks, and geese, and dew on the ground. It felt like 6am, and it was quite relaxing and calm. It was a nice way to remember the presence of nature at Roehampton. Though we didn’t stay out long enough to watch the sun actually rise (it was cold!), we did stay out there for a little while.

Soon, it was time for Tom, Ahren, Brendan, and Sophia to leave, and we did the routine again. More tears, pictures, and hugs. It was a bit sad coming back in though, with just four of us remaining – Kelsey, Alexis, Kevin, and me. It was quite quiet – and Kevin was finishing his postcards, the rest of us went to sleep for a whole hour and a half or so.

Putney breakfast!
I woke up a bit after 7 – and then the tiredness really hit me. I was so tired! Wasn’t feeling that great either. But the four of us had decided earlier to go out to breakfast for our last morning – get real food! We took the bus to Putney, which was a lot busier in the morning than I thought it’d be, and went to an Italian restaurant that Talah recommended to us. I had scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes and toast (first eggs since I’ve been here!) with breakfast tea, and everyone’s food looked great! We took the bus back to Medfield Street, where we stopped for stamps and at the convenience store. We got back and saw that the cleaning staff had already started cleaning out the rooms of the others – the doors were open, beds stripped, rubbish bins outside – it was a bit sad too! We got our things together and finished packing, then went down to say bye to the marketing team before heading out to our taxi.

Empty hallway....
The taxi took us to the airport – it was our first time in a car! Alexis was dropped off first, then Kevin and I, and Kelsey was last, so we all gave each other our last hugs. We checked in at Heathrow and proceeded to go through security – pretty much like American airports. However, what was different was that once we got through security, there was a central waiting area, with shops and seats, and boards telling us what gate to go to about 30 minutes before boarding, instead of waiting by the gate. We bought lunch – I got mine from a pharmacy – chicken sandwiches, and potato crisps, and a tropical fruit juice. Kevin napped a bit, and I read Bossypants, and then we had our gate assigned, and had a 20 minute walk to the gate – the airport is huge! After presenting our boarding passes, we were ushered into another waiting area by the gate, where yesterday’s Evening Standard was there for free, and then waited another 20 minutes before boarding.

It was nice not to have my rolling case on the plane – it felt a lot freer! The seats were small again, but it was alright, I slept as soon as I could. I woke up a bit, we were still on the ground (delayed), but they turned on the entertainment system, which was not working earlier. When we took off, I put together a music playlist on the entertainment system and fell asleep again. Later, there was a meal (roast chicken), and I watched the movie “Morning Glory” – I thought it was interesting, though I guess I was expecting a more Sorkin-esque view of news, but it was a good couple hours of entertainment (though I felt a lack of closure to the entertainment vs. news debate, and the love story felt unfinished), but it had a nice feel good ending at the end. I fell asleep again, waking up for the second meal of spinach quiche, on the 11 hour flight. I played a racing game and battleship on the entertainment console, before sleeping again. I woke up once we landed, and made it through customs. We grabbed our luggage, and Kevin and I bid our goodbyes.

I had an amazing experience – again, thank you to the US-UK Fulbright Commission for offering this program, and to the Roehampton University Academic and Marketing teams for making this an experience of a lifetime – this has probably been my best summer! It was a lot of fun, and I was looking through my pictures the other day – we have done some amazing things that I never thought I would get to do – and saw places I never imagined I’d see!

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