Hello everyone! It is currently 4.30am in London and I am wide awake and cursing jetlag something fierce. I thought since I was up, I might as well start a little daily diary to share my trip to London with you all. This is my fifth trip to London, but my first since Claudia moved back to Australia. I was a little bit apprehensive about how coming back to London would feel, I mean after all those amazing experiences I had with her here, I was worried that coming back without her would make me feel a bit empty, and I would fall out of love with London.
I shouldn’t have worried though. I’m actually in London with three students for the Genee International Ballet Competition, as well as a little 11-year old student who has come in a cheer-leading capacity, and an ex. student-cum-good friend. Although I’m missing Claudia like crazy, having my two little companions with me is making me see London through new eyes and that’s also really special.
Our trip didn’t start of as well as I had hoped. When my friend dropped me to the train station, I realised I’d made travelling mistake 101 and left my wallet in a different handbag (oh the problems of being a girl who changes handbags to match outfits). I had to turn back home to grab it which meant I missed my train. Thank goodness I possess OCD qualities and had planned to catch a train an hour earlier than was actually necessary, so it wasn’t too much of a drama! The flight to London was tedious. For Australian’s it’s about a 24-hour-long trip with bad food, uncomfortable seating and less-than-ideal hygiene facilities. I was so pleased when we hit the tarmac at Heathrow. We were all dreaming of warm showers and some decent sustenance, but it wasn’t too be. At custom controls, we hit a particularly nasty officer. He was confused as to why I would have a minor with me (despite the permission letter I was carrying from her mother) and didn’t believe that she was with me of her own free will (I mean nothing says “I don’t know this lady, she’d kidnapped me and flown me to London” like an 11-year-old who is fully co-operative and keeps asking the person she’s with if they can play “The Game of Life”). I was given a form with several frightening clauses on it such as “detained until further notice” and “confiscated passports pending investigation” and we were led to a holding area. For the next two and a half hours we waited while the customs official called the girl’s parents, who both gave him a proper dressing down. By the time a very embarrassed official let us go, our driver had left and our luggage had been unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the baggage collection hall. Having used the last of my energy on a mega adrenaline rush (being a fake criminal is really exhausting), the girl’s and I were absolutely exhausted. Makes for a good story though doesn’t it!
Yesterday was our first full day in London. We decided to go on a bus tour so that the girls could get an overview of the city and decide what they’d like to go back to. There’s just something about the pomp and circumstance of London that makes it so special, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. Continuity and tradition play such a big role in the way of life over here, which is a novel idea for us Australians and something that we are keen to explore. I’m missing Claud fiercely, but the excitement of being in this cultural metropolis with so much to see and do with two people who have never seen it before is making this a very special trip for me. Until tomorrow…