Sunday, June 26, 2011

Amazing Thing, Amazing Thing, Amazing Thing, Amazing Thing

I can't believe our good luck, but we're here! Flights were good, food was bad, Detroit airport gets five stars from the McFarlands (fountain, express trains, charging stations, shopping -- Joss was ready to move in), and one poor, poor little girl on our flight screamed herself hoarse. I think she may be the Worst Child On A Flight in my experience. Our kids were so good. They played Bookworm and Bejeweled and watched Dawn Treader and Yogi Bear and Charlie Brown and Elmo and barely needed us. Only downside was that with their own personal screens for eight hours, they didn't sleep either . . .
. . . so that when we walked off in Heathrow everyone was trashed. Joss couldn't walk and kept flopping on the floor. The kids treated each other like human Socker Boppers. We took three hours from landing to our apartment that were excruciating and made us all question this layover, the study abroad, or the feasibility of travel at all. When we arrived, our apartment was being cleaned, but the housekeeper graciously let us stay in another apartment. We all zonked out in chairs, couches and the floor. Once it was clean, we made our way up four flights of stairs and zonked out some more while Rob took all our bags up the teeny tiny staircase and launched the students.
At around 7:00pm we were all ready to get out of the hot hot top floor apartment and stop fighting. We're right next to King's Cross station as displayed by Maddie, and truly, no one with capes or wands or rats or owls would arouse suspicion here.
We rode the tube a lot on Sunday, the Piccadilly, the Circle and the Northern lines.
And we were so happy to be off the plane and without baggage. Whoo! But everyone was still beating up on each other whenever they were within arm's length. At one point Joss sat up in his stroller and pointed indignantly shouting "Lolo?! Sebi?! I am so tired of you two are fighting!!" We were all surprised, and not just Will and Sebi were feeling sheepish when they heard that.
Unfortunately we didn't know the code to take us to the Ministry of Magic.
But we went by and saw where Wills and Kate were married. In explaining royal things to the kids, Rob taught them Charles' title. Sebastian's response: "The Prince of Wales. That has a nice ring to it."
It was an absolutely beautiful evening. It had cooled off and the sun was still setting.
Joss wanted to see the river Thames.
We had a great talk here. I'm not sure why, but the kids are more excited about this Study Abroad than they have ever been before. Maybe it's because they're older. Maybe it's because they have friends doing the same thing right now. Maybe it's because they've read books and seen movies about London and Berlin. From Westminster Bridge we pointed out points of interest from Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee Returns, and Sherlock Holmes. It is a party when the kids are interested in something. And Joss liked the boats and the birds. Also gratifying.
A nice Italian lady took this for us. The bell was tolling 9:00pm as it was taken and I pointed it out. One of the kids said "That's not a clock, that's a doorbell!"
Joss's nose injury is fading, but awfully slowly.
We walked along the Thames and past the London Eye where we found a playground that was just right for running around and working off some noise and energy.
Then we walked back along the Jubilee (Millenium?) pedestrian bridge, through Charing Cross station and since we were already there, visited Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. The kids' fondest wish was to climb up on one of the lions, and so we obliged.
Rob has this theory that when you visit someplace new, you should go immediately to the center of the place to feel like you've seen it first and get a feel for what that city is like. I don't know if Trafalgar square is the heart of London, but all distances are measured from one of these lions, so it is some sort of a center point.
So having walked around for almost four hours, we schlepped home on the tube and went to bed. It was a great first day for London.
And the title? It's just the way that I feel, wandering around London again. It comes from a Strong Bad email on love poems if you haven't seen it.

4 comments:

Tueller 3 said...

OK, Maryann! I am going to comment while you are gone, so you don't forget us Grandviewians. I am glad you made it safely and without too much trouble (too bad about the room not being ready). Thanks for showing us all the beauties of London, too!

Nedra said...

It is SOOO exciting to see you all in London! Picture on Westminster Bridge just like 20 years ago. You look like you're having fun.
Love, MOM/Grandma

Ann said...

You made it and it looks lovely. Enjoy the world for me.

Nigel said...

Sounds fun! If you run into Dr. Who, tell him I still have his screwdriver.