Just when we thought London couldn’t get any better, we experienced an England New Year’s Eve, and something incredible happened. From the locals to fellow foreigners, the celebration of a new year all sounds the same. It sounds like pure joy. Being in a different country for nearly a week, you start to realize how big the world is and all the differences every human you come in contact with has; but today was different. Today, we shared the joy of new beginnings, a time for celebration and, most importantly, an opportunity to reach out to a stranger and say, “Happy New Year” or, in other words, “Happy Birthday, World!” We are thankful for the people we’ve met on this trip, the All-Americans and their incredibly big hearts, the Londoners who have made us feel so welcomed, and our friends and families who are here (and not here) pouring into our lives, making us who we are. We are all a collection of the people we meet, and we’re better because of those we’ve met on this trip.
Did you really go to London if you didn’t have English tea? We started the day at the most spectacular bistro, which just so happens to be where the Queen visits periodically, and, to say the least, we felt like “royal-tea“! In London, tea is about as common as water, and it was a wave of fun!
A short tube ride later, we arrived at Parliament Square, completely surrounded by history in every direction. Our next stop was Westminster Abbey which has been the coronation church for the British Monarch since 1066. In fact, 39 coronations have taken place here. Over 3,300 people have been buried or commemorated here, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare! Our personal favorite, though, is Diana, Princes of Wales. If you remember the death of Princess Diana, you remember the shattering effect it had, not only in England but across the globe; a very similar feeling we felt when entering the cathedral. Princess Diana, your love and legacy will be honored eternally.
While London is known for its rich and preserved history, history is continually being made every day! Next on the itinerary was the London Eye. Carrying over 800 people each rotation, which is comparable to 11 red double-decker buses, you can see up to 25 miles, 360°. This attraction receives more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza, and today we were a few of them! What better way to end the year? 2018, we’ve got our eye on you!
Now we’re off to ring in the New Year with hundreds of our newfound friends. As for tomorrow, we can’t wait to fill the streets of London with cheer!
Happy New Year!
– Henry and Liza, your #VarsityLondon Correspondents