Hellooooo from London! The past couple days have been absolutely lovely, yet still incredibly bittersweet.
Let’s start with Monday. At 3:40am, I woke up and finished packing up. At around 4am, my sister and I said goodbye to our dad and hopped in a taxi to Changi. The past year, I’ve been at Changi 18 times, and it’s weird knowing that my 19th trip won’t be met with a 20th. Saying bye to Dad was short, which may have been a good thing. Any longer to say goodbye probably would have ended in lots of tears on my part. It’ll be five months without seeing him, and although I’ve spent the majority of the last year away from home, this feels so different and permanent.
As I sit on the plane from KL to London, the full realisation that I will not be living in Asia anymore set in, and honestly, I’m really upset about it. I have fallen absolutely in love with Asia and I’ll miss everything about it. I also spent a good hour or two just zoning out and staring at the map on the entertainment system in front of me. Seeing the little plane figure slowly inch it’s way towards Europe really showed me how damn small the world is. There really is no excuse for not exploring the entirety of it. Sure, time and money are limitations, but it IS possible to travel for nearly nothing if you try hard enough, and well, without an office job, time is readily available. One of my life goals is to find a balance between work and travel, and that little map on the monitor of the seat in front of me is really pushing me to make travel a priority for the time being (whenever I’m not in school). That shouldn’t be too impossible; I’ve already got tabs on flights for Summer 2017 bookmarked!
I don’t really call myself a travel blogger, but that’s exactly what I want to be (with a chemical engineering degree), and as I sit on the plane, looking at my dream desk, I realised that maybe that’s what I’m becoming. Some people have beautifully organized desks, complete with cute little mugs and a couple succulents, but I’m sitting here in a tiny economy-class seat, tray table down and little cup of tea beside my laptop (risky with turbulence), absolutely and completely satisfied with where I am.
Upon arriving in London, Sophia, Montserrat, my mom, and I took the tube towards the city. Sophia and I got off at Gloucester Road and walked to our hotel, the Cromwell International Hotel. The woman at check-in was a bit rude, but everyone else has been lovely, and other than that, the hotel is wonderful, very cozy and in a lovely area close to the tube.
Sophia and I spent the day catching up, and when we got hungry, we went to a pub near Piccadilly Circus. We stayed up chatting for ages, then eventually passed out.
We set an alarm for 9am, although I woke up at around 6 because of jetlag. Sophia and I were on opposite jetlag schedules (I would wake up early and sleep early; she would wake up late and sleep late), so I played on my phone until she woke up. We headed out for a late breakfast at Beyond Bread, an adorable little café in the Fitzrovia area. We sat in and had brunch, deciding to try their avo toast. It definitely didn’t disappoint and we left with full bellies! Also, everything at Beyond Bread is gluten free!
From Beyond Bread, Soph and I walked the mile or so to Big Ben. Big Ben is actually the bell inside the tower, not the tower itself. It rained super heavily and we couldn’t avoid getting wet, despite the umbrella that I had packed. Also, BEWARE OF CARS, as a red double-decker splashed us. The walk was enjoyable nonetheless, and we decided to continue walking around the Thames River, catching a glimpse of the London Eye and grabbing some froyo from SNOG, a pink double-decker bus.
The rain started to get super super heavy, so we quickly walked over to the British Museum. I will never get tired of exploring it; the Egyptian mummy exhibit is my favorite! After tiring out a bit, Sophia and I headed back to the hotel to plan our next couple days/unpack a little bit (as our room was becoming consumed in clothing).
We also got a chance to see Ruchi from Everest Base Camp for dinner! Sophia and I walked straight past her- neither of us recognized each other clean or in nice clothing! We ate at Dishoom, a wonderful Indian restaurant that left us full and incredibly happy- everything we had was absolutely delicious. I had the Daal and basmati rice and could not recommend it more. The food was absolutely amazing, but it was definitely seeing Ruchi that made the meal immensely special.
Sophia and I decided to walk home instead of taking the tube, a decision we were very happy with. London is absolutely stunning. What a perfect way to spend our first days here.