Friday, January 27, 2017
Finally the day dawned for my departure home again to the USA. I could not have been more ready! Indeed, while usually, I am sentimentally and nostalgically taking my last looks of my surroundings with wonder about when I will return, this time, I was so mentally set to leave that I did not wish to look back.
Preparing for Departure:
I awoke at 5.30 am and decided to have a very early shower. So before the rest of the Fradley household was up, I was done with the upstairs bathroom, had washed, dressed and had my backpack ready. By 7.15 am, I was downstairs joining Matt and the boys Jacob and Daniel who were deep into their breakfast bowls. I had Dorset muesli with skimmed milk and honey—a really hearty breakfast—when Rosa joined us. Matt said his goodbyes to me and left shortly for work.
Rosa and I continued our chatter over breakfast and the boys watched telly. But by 9.00, am, she was driving Jacob off to school, leaving Daniel with me. Fifteen minutes later, we were all in the car and she was taking me off to the station at Stanstead Mountfitchet to say goodbye to me before dropping Daniel off to his nursery. It had been a heartwarming two nights with his delightful family and I had enjoyed every second of it. My life away from home and in the UK was coming to a slow end as I had unwound fully with this family, enjoyed their family life, had partaken of their delicious generous meals and had found a way to start thinking of my life back home in the USA while in the serene bosom of their quiet ,almost-rural hamlet.
Back in London:
I caught the 9. 24 am train that came bang on schedule to drop me at Liverpool Street Station. There was a mistiness to the entire journey that allowed me to call several of my UK friends to say Goodbye and Thank-You. They all wished me a happy journey and safe return home. When I alighted at Liverpool Street, I went straight in search of Marks and Spencer to buy tinned Ox Tongue. Alas, they had only 3 cans, but I bought them all. Had I wanted more, I’d have had to go to the one on Bond Street and I decided I could do without the stress. I bought a few more biscuits from Tesco Metro at Bishopsgate (where I had a horrible experience with my credit card that I almost left behind in the store and got told by the clerk Monica there that it was not in the drawer—when all the time, it was!). Armed with my goodies, I took the bus back to NYU—an excruciatingly long and slow drive as there were some traffic issues .However, reach there I did.
The immediate business of putting away stuff from my backpack into one of my two suitcases and, at the same time, dividing the weight was far from easy. And although I have become something of a pro at it, it is still always stressful. Thankfully, this is the last time I will find myself in such a situation for a long time to come. About an hour later, after I said goodbye to my colleagues at NYU, I called an Uber cab to Bedford Square and went directly from Bloomsbury to the airport at 1. 30 pm—right on schedule. I had a very chatty Sikh cabbie who dropped me to Heathrow airport at 2. 30pm—Uber is so much cheaper and I ended up paying under 35 pounds.
Off Home—At Last!
All went well at Heathrow. Since I was a half an hour early and before my check-in counter could open , I indulged in one more treat–a Chocolate and Caramel Sundae at Carluccio’s (how could I leave the UK without one visit to Carluccio’s, right?). It filled me up and prepared me for the ordeal of checking two bags in and going through the strain of finding out whether I’d have to pay for extra baggage—fortunately, I had no such issues as I found myself a male traffic assistance called Stuart Brock with whom I flirted shamelessly so that he would overlook my excess weight. Well, my strategy paid and I was off without so much as paying an extra sou! There was then time enough to visit Jo Malone and spritz myself for the journey ahead as also the Lancome counter at Terminal 5 which has developed into a classier mall than most British high street malls. Sadly, there was nothing on sale at Harrods’, so I bought nothing. About an hour later, I was juicing up my phone and then making my way to my gate and in no time at all, on a very light flight, I had a most comfortable ride home. Throughout the flight I watched a TV series called Marcella, about a British detective, in eight episodes. I finished them all before we touched down. Talk about superb timing!
I could hardly believe that six incredible months in my life had passed just like that. I had done so much, seen so much, achieved so much, met so many people, changed house so often, moved far more than I had intended to, ticked off most items on my To-Do List and am living with a gigantic sense of fulfilment that will see me through a very long time to come with little longing to return.
So goodbye London and thanks for all the good times. May they roll again—but not too soon.
Thanks to all of you for following my blog posts and for armchair-traveling with me.
Until the next time when I am footloose again, cheerio…