Friday morning: Travel time
Per my usual self, its a race against time to get everything in order before my 11 a.m. train to London. After almost an hour of trying to print my train ticket, I hurriedly jammed a dress or two, a pair of black skinny jeans and a toothbrush into my weekend bag making sure to leave room for any purchases I will undoubtedly make at Topshop. There are so many thoughts running through my head as I prepare for my trip. The truth is I am more excited about seeing old friends than about visiting the city itself. So with a half empty bag and a whole heart, I'm out the door and on a train to St. Pancras station.
As I sit in a window seat, I look out to freshly snow covered plains and freezing grape vines. Living in Paris, it’s easy to forget how much more there is to France outside of its capital. As I look out the window, I make plans to spend a weekend in the countryside near the water. But that has to wait. For now I’m off to Londontown.
Friday afternoon: 'Ello poppit
London is very different from Paris or the States. It’s kind of a funny city actually. When I hear the woman overhead in the tube say “Picadilly Line, mind the gap” I think I’m in a Harry Potter movie. I expect her to say “Sixth floor, Department of Mysteries,” but she never does.
I arrive at the Boston University dorms in Kensington barely three hours after leaving Paris. My friends are anxiously awaiting my arrival and bombard me with hugs at the front door. We monopolize the front entrance hugging and laughing because our excitement cripples our ability to multitask. I didn’t realize just how much missed the beautiful faces of my best friends until I saw them.
After a solid ten minutes of hugging and chatting, as all girlfriends do, we finally step out of the entryway and into the kitchen for a quick bite. I sip on coffee as the other girls recount their Thursday night. We seven girls sit around the kitchen table excitedly talking over each other just like back at home. For the first time since coming abroad, I am reminded of the Boston I left.
Friday afternoon: I can't be stopped
Topshop. All Saints. Topshop. Don't even get me started...
Friday night: The London Bridge is falling down
I slip into my new beaded white crop top from Topshop before making myself a Gin and Tonic to start off the night. My go-to drink is even more fitting tonight. When in London right? The London girls inform me that we're going to a drum and bass club tonight. Um okay? Usually clubbing isn't my scene but again, when in London...
My friends and I make our way down to South London and find ourselves walking under the arches of the London Bridge. We find the club, built into the stone-walled arches of the bridge, with dozens of people huddled near the door. You can hear the bass pounding from 20 feet away.
Saturday afternoon: Roaming evocative streets
“You’ll like this place,” my friend told me. “It’s very you.” Instead of going to Portobello Market with the rest of my girlfriends, I boycott the generic tourist destination and flee to the seedier outskirts of London with my British friend. Needing more time to recuperate from last night’s marathon, we don’t set out until mid-afternoon.
As I step of the Camden Town tube stop and into the fading daylight, I am once again reminded of home. This time it's a different home: San Francisco. Camden Market reminds me of a combination of Haight Street and the Mission, a little touristy, a tad dirty, and very eclectic. Stores selling records, punk clothes, and rave paraphernalia litter Camden High Street. I bought a double LP at a record store for 3£ by some british band I made sure I didn't know. Some people collect shot glasses as souvenirs, I collect records.
Saturday night: Pints on pints on pints
It is common knowledge within the group of girls that tonight is going to be a calmer night. So we go to O'Neills pub in Soho, a four floor Irish pub right off Piccadilly Circus. While last night was one aspect of London nightlife, tonight is a different one. I spend most of the night on the fourth floor terrace drinking pints of Caffrey's and London Pride, while keeping warm next to the heater and making friends with a crew of Irish boys.
Sunday morning: Goodbyes
Another late start to the day, due to deep late-night conversations, the crew rolls out of bed and stumbles over to a small british breakfast joint. Everyone has the tell-tale signs of an exhaustive weekend: oversized sweaters, bar stamps on each hand, and blood-shot eyes. We piece together the weekend over plates of huevos rancheros.