What a blessed way to end my time here in London – the sun is out, the food is good, the city is alive! I’ve been having mini-panic attacks lately knowing that I can count the number of days left here on my two hands. I can’t even express how excited I am to go back home but at the same time, leaving a place that has been your “home” for 5 months isn’t without sadness (or tears).
Thursday night, I performed with the King’s Chix for the final time at Imperial College in South Kensington. Loads of groups were also there at the student bar and it was a really casual event. Before I talk about the actual gig, I’d just like to point out that South Kensington is posh. Goodness, no wonder Imperial has ridiculously high residence fees. There were only six of us singing that day and some of us learned the new song (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow) at 4PM. Cheers for uni students cramming even for a live performance! It wasn’t our best but hey, it was fun and that’s all that matters. I was really impressed by the Yale Whiffenpoofs though. Apparently they’re the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the world and the students take a year off to tour/sing, so I couldn’t really feel bad about not being as great as they are.
Friday was a little leaving party with all the American study abroad students. I tried ginger beer and Desperados for the first time and my life has been forever changed. I never knew drinks could taste so delicious and refreshing and sweet and everything good put in a cute bottle. We stayed out a bit late at the good ole Dover Castle and Blue Eyed Maid, but I still managed to force Viv and Vlad to wake up at 9 the next day for a day of last-minute tourist plans! We picked up scrumptious breakfasts from Borough Market. I finally got to try out the toasted cheese sandwich from Kappacasein and see how their famous raclette is is made. When I could smell the cheese even before I found the stand, I knew all this waiting was worth it. Just look at all that cheese grilled to perfection with onions!
We headed towards Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards but it was rather underwhelming (too long). There were a lot of people even though this happens everyday at both the Royal Guards and Buckingham Palace. We got to see the stage set-up for this week’s Jubilee concert, which I’m really sad to miss out on! Apparently England still really loves their royalty who are not Kate Middleton because the entire city has been decked out in preparation for the event (flags, special Jubilee biscuits, tea, etc.)
It was such a beautiful day so we rested for some time at Hyde Park just chatting. A lot of people were hanging around basking in the sun with their bikinis. I guess Hyde Park is similar to Central park but the greenery is much more artificially planted. You get to see many different types of flowers and trees that are planted in specific patterns. Across from our spot, I saw a group of kids enjoying the summer climbing this giant tree! I couldn’t help but reminisce on the times I went to Central Park back in high school climbing trees similar in shape.
Next, I finally got to go to the Victoria and Albert museum and Natural History museum! I probably mentioned this before, but I’m not a museum fan unless it’s a science museum. I was super excited 🙂 The building itself looked similar to AMNH in New York actually. They were having a cool “Animals Inside-Out” exhibit (sort of like the Bodies Exhibit) but it was pricey to go in.
I’m pretty biased when it comes to comparing the London and NY natural history museums since I worked in the NY one for a year. London had some cool exhibits (a simulated earthquake, a mechanical dinosaur that looks surprisingly real, an elevator leading up to a giant planet) but the NY marine exhibit is unparalleled!
An ice cream and two sore feet later, we decided to go to an India restaurant nearby where I ordered Chicken Korma (a coconut curry)! It was quite delicious but the portions were small, as usual. We headed back to GDS for some Pimm’s, TV, and home-made pasta.
There are still so many things I would have liked to see in London during my time here, but I’m pretty happy about how well I know the city now. I’m constantly looking for things to buy to bring back home (chocolate, tea, biscuits) so I guess I’m mentally preparing for my departure. I couldn’t ask for more than a great last weekend with perfect weather.