Today is my last day. I sit here, forearms coated in little star-shaped confetti bits that were strewn over my desk when I arrived here, nudging aside the blue and yellow balloons crowding my computer and trying to take breath after slow, deep breath to keep from getting all sappy and emotional at work. Man, do I wish I could stay here. I just can’t really wrap my mind around the fact that this is my last time writing copy for the magazine, the last time I’ll laugh with my coworkers, the last time I’ll answer the phone, “Good morning, Bayswater Media, Michelle speaking – how can I help?” In a matter of hours, I’ll be hugging my colleagues goodbye. I’ll be walking down lovely, bustling Regent Street for the last time. I’m getting a lump in my throat as I type this.
So, here’s a quick summary of my last week here. It’s been fun, but nonetheless suffused with that niggling awareness that I’m leaving soon. Perhaps (but hopefully not) forever. This is how I’ve tried to make the most of it.
MONDAY: A knight on the town.
After work on Monday, I met up with Maureen, Kaitlyn, Hannah and Chelsey at the Round Table, a fun little pub in Leicester Square. I enjoyed a pint of London Pride and my first English roast (so what if it wasn’t Sunday?) and it was delicious – so delicious, in fact, that I didn’t even think to snap a photo first. Just trust me when I say it was beautiful. We chatted and giggled away a few hours, then walked to a nearby shop where the girls made some purchases and I just browsed the racks – muttering all the while how badly I need to save money and luggage space and convincing myself not to get anything. We then walked the short distance to the heart of Chinatown, where I made good on my Wish List pledge and got myself some bubble tea from Candy Cafe – honey peach, to be exact. It was so tasty and chewy and a perfect way to combat this sudden summer heatwave.
TUESDAY: Oh, we’ve still got most of the week ahead of us but, – oh, wait…now it’s
WEDNESDAY: The Scourge of Thursday
The weather was surprisingly summery (and has been all week – I’m still
sweating a lot acclimating in preparation for the heat wave I’ve been hearing about back in the States) so I took full advantage and walked straight to St. James Park for some me-time immediately after work. I hadn’t realised exactly how close it is and plan to go there during my lunch break today. I strolled through the park, people-watched a bit, duckling-watched a bit more, and pulled up a sunsoaked patch of grass near the pond, slipped off my sandals and reclined with my eBook version of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I spent an hour and a half in bliss and actually allowed myself to reflect on this entire experience. As I synchronised my breath with the sounds of the wind in the trees, I thought to myself how lucky I am to be here. It’s been wild, informative, stressful, challenging, lovely and affecting. Thank you for being a part of it – whether it was a quick skim of this post today, a letter in the journal Sarah put together for me, a Skype date, an email or a fleeting thought, you’ve all played a huge part in making my time here so special.
I had to peel myself away from my quiet spot in the park in order to make it back in time to grab dinner and head out with the Fab Four. We had put ourselves on the guest list for the Roadhouse – a distinctly American bar in Covent Garden and a favourite haunt of many Dreamers. Mondays and Wednesdays are Rockaoke nights at Roadhouse. That is, amateur barhoppers can perform and compete with solo karaoke acts in front of a live band. Because of the high demand for these slots, one must sign up online in advance. I filled out the form, selected my top three song choices from the list given (“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness was, in fact, my first choice), and let my cursor hover over the Submit button before promptly chickening out. I regretted this, however, once I got there and had had a few drinks…er, gained some confidence. The first prize was a £100 bar tab (roughly $160), so I probably should have gone for it. Well, there’s always next week…oh, wait.
We wiggled our bums until the wee hours of the morning and had a killer time nonetheless.
THURSDAY: So long, farewell.
Thursday morning dawned rainy with a chance of hangovers and saw me struggling to get my tired butt to work. I made it there and was forced to face the harsh reality of my present circumstances when I received an end of the day email from my supervisor (well, the one who hired me, anyway), Eve, saying that she wouldn’t be in the office on Friday. Which meant I had to say my first real goodbye. And it was hard. I felt so unprepared and silly when I choked out a hurried “thank you” as she hugged me goodbye. There are so many selfish reasons why I’m not ready to go back to the US (e.g. it’s too damn hot there, the nightlife is weak, I won’t hear cool accents everywhere, etc.), but I’m starting to realise just how important these people here have been to me. I’m working towards something big here; each and every person I’ve met this summer has helped me along the way, and it’s really hard to stomach that I might never see them again.
All right, that’s enough. Stay tuned for the pictures I’ll probably add to this post later and – maybe – another post or two before I retire this blog for good.