Hello, blogosphere! I'm sorry I've been so silent for so long; first there was the debacle that was my computer, and then my family came to visit me and finals happened, so... yeah. I've been away so long that Blogger has completely changed its posting format without me noticing! Weird! Well, I am back, and I should have internet access for the duration of my last two weeks in Europe. (Trying not to think too much about that: two weeks from today, I will be getting on a plane and going back to America. Hopefully this will be a plane that I don't get sick on, at least.) Currently, I'm mooching off the wifi in a cafe (I should probably buy something else, actually, I've been sitting here long enough...) in London; I'm here for the night before I set off on an adventure to Dingle, Ireland (the setting of The Long Road Home) and then one last week in good old London town.
The last two weeks have been kind of strange and awesome and sad, all at once. My family came to visit me (during the world's easiest finals week) and it was so much fun getting to show them around the place that has become my home over the last four months, in spite of the fact that it rained and was miserably cold almost the entire time they were here. Oh, England. You're in drought for months, and then the skies open the one week I don't want them to? Gee, thanks. On the one nice day, I took them on the South Bank walk that was my introduction to the city - it's the walk along the Thames from Westminster to Tower Hill, and it's a really great way to see just about every London landmark all in one go.
But by the end of the week, it turned into a festival of leaving. My mom and my sister left on Friday to go back to work and school (my dad stuck around; more on that in a bit), and then one by one my flatmates started to leave. Lisa moved out first, although she was still in London until yesterday; even though I still got to see her until it was my turn to leave, it was really strange to be in our room without her things there, or not see her huddling next to the heater in the kitchen. Matt left next, and with him most of my other friends, as the London Center's group flight was on Monday, and then Tory left the next morning, off for some adventures in Morocco with her sister. Then it was my turn to do the leaving - I had my last day of work and my last London pub dinner with Lisa. The next morning, it was time for my dad and I to set off on some adventures. I was really excited to go see Florence with him, but at the same time I was really quite sad to hand over my keys to my landlady, shut the door on my flat, and walk down my dimly lit three flights of stairs for the last time. It really punctuated the fact that this amazing experience that I am having is really coming to an end... and I don't want it to!
I just arrived back in London after a few days in Florence with my dad. It was a lot of fun! We climbed up an awful lot of things (the terraces in the Boboli Gardens, the Cupola of the Santa Maria Del Fiore cathedral (aka the Duomo), the Bell Tower of the Duomo...), saw some pretty stunning views from the top of those things, learned a lot about the Medicis, and, of course, ate a lot of really good food and lots of fantastic gelato! It was great to spend some time with my dad and to see some sunshine for a change!
I'm here on my own for another two weeks. Navigating European travel alone (granted, it's just to Ireland and then back to London, so I'll be in English-speaking places the whole time, not too bad) is both a scary and daunting prospect and... kind of liberating. I intend to stay in this cafe until the internet kicks me off (can it do that?) or until the place closes and they kick me out, and then I'm going back to my hostel and I'm going to bed. It's pretty early in the day to be thinking that, but I'm exhausted and currently, I have no one to please but myself, no plans but my own, no place to be but the airport in the morning. It's nice - I suspect that by the time the two weeks are up, I'll really want some friendly faces around me and I'll actually be ready to go home, but for now I'm quite ready for another adventure.