Today, I did something that I don’t think I would’ve dare done before this trip: I went and did the entire day by myself.
To a lot of people, I feel like what I did today was not a big deal at all. Going about your day all by yourself is really nothing at all. But for me, who has never really been that confident about my sense of direction and is so very comfortable in her comfort zone, this was a big thing.
Since I don’t have classes on Fridays, but my closest friend in my program does, I decided when I woke up I was actually going to go somewhere. Although, I did wake up with a wicket cough so first I made my way to the grocery store for some cough drops and cold relief medicine (and snacks because you can never have too many snacks). On my walk there, I decided that when I got back, I would get dressed in a cute outfit, do my makeup, and go out for the day. And so out I went.
My first stop was Borough Market. It was mildly a sensory overload since there were vendors in every direction and a myriad of smells coming at me from all angles, but I quickly embraced my new, confident, “I am not a tourist” walk and weaved through the booths looking for lunch. There were so many wonderful booths and products for sale, and everyone was so nice! I eventually settled on a Cajun chicken sandwich from a game vendor and WOW OH WOW was it delicious. I’m from Georgia, and I have close family friends from New Orleans so I know Cajun flavor — and this was it. SO. GOOD. I kept wandering as I ate my sandwich and came across a wine booth, where I promptly bought some sangria. (It was noon.)
After I finally escaped Borough Market (I say escaped because had I stayed any longer I would’ve bought myself more food and that was not what I needed), I walked along the Thames for a while. I stopped by a man with a typewriter and a sign that said “poet for hire” so naturally I bought a poem. When he asked me for a title, I couldn’t come up with anything, so he asked me where I was from and what I liked to do. I told him America, and I liked to read. He asked what kind of books I liked, and I replied, “true crime.”
That was the title of my poem.
I popped into the Tate Museum of Modern Art for a few minutes, but decided to come back when I had more time to dedicate to it. In search of a good bookstore, I got way too turned around trying to find the bus stop (all a part of the growing journey I’m on here, remember?), but eventually found it. Just as the bus I needed was leaving. So, I sat on the bus stop bench and pulled out my book to wait for the next bus – which was 15 minutes away (plus traffic).
Finally, I got to Waterstones – a five story mecca for book lovers. It was the Borough Market sensory overload all over again. But if there’s anything to learn about me, it’s that I love books.
Surprisingly, I managed to spend an hour and a half in Waterstones without actually purchasing anything. I don’t know if I was trying to save money, or I genuinely didn’t find anything that I had to have, but me coming out of a bookstore with no book isn’t something I find happens very often.
That Waterstones location was about half a mile from the British Museum, so I decided to pay my favorite place in London a visit. I walked around the gift shop a few times, went through Room 4 (the one with the Rosetta Stone and the Ancient Egyptian statues and Assyrian gates), got angry on Twitter about the Library of Alexandria (don’t even get me started), and got elbowed in the chest by a tourist because I was in the way of her picture. To say it was an eventful hour in the museum is an understatement LOL.
I took the bus back to my dorm, and I’m about to go for dinner with a friend. I can’t help but reflect on this day. It’s been something else. I knew that when I left for London, I would become a more independent and confident person, I just never expected it to be so soon. It surprised me that I was so motivated to go out and have an adventurous day by myself.
Today was one of my best days since I arrived here in London, and I am so proud of myself for navigating the city and making spur-of-the-moment decisions about where to adventure to next. I can’t wait to see where his newfound confidence takes me in life.