In the midst of everyday chaos, we must still stop to consider what is truly important in life. I think about this more the older I grow; I remind myself that what may seem to be the end of the world really isn’t, and there are more important things to focus on. I realize this as my great aunt, whom has stage 4 lung cancer, is visiting us for 6 weeks before going back home to start chemotherapy. As she sits in the living room with my mother, I sit in the dinning room for hours on end, working on my endless pile of classwork. We do not eat dinner together, my family never really has, we only say hello in the mornings and goodnight when it is time for bed. I have never minded spending scarcely any time with my parents, but now that she is here, and my time with here while she’s here is limited, I realize how important every minute is.
My parents decided that while she was here, we would go on trips on the weekends. We would go to Bavaria, Austria, France, Italy, and England. This particular weekend, we went to London England.
We arrived in West Minster around 11 in the morning, and the first thing I had noticed was the varying architectural style. Some buildings were from the 1500s, others were from the 70s. As we rode down the busy streets, i could see everything from the unenclosed upper level of a red double-decker bus. We rode past Big Ben, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. The first stop we got off at happened to be the Buckingham Palace stop, and we happened to meander into a large white tent. We were not sure what the event was that was going on until we got to one of the ticket booths. They had been giving tours of the Buckingham Palace staterooms all summer and this was the second to last day they were doing the tour, so my mother bought us all tickets.
The inside of Buckingham Palace was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life. I had seen pictures before of the elaborately furnished rooms, with their ceilings and walls covered in ornate, gold carvings. The Palace was filled with such unbelievably beautiful art and furniture, I was devastated that I couldn’t take pictures. It was surreal to walk down the hall of paintings and sculptures I had seen in books and magazines, to see the brush strokes in centuries old paintings. I was in awe at how these people lived, constantly surrounded by beauty. In a way, I am not upset that I could not take pictures, for my camera lens would not have been able to capture the beauty of the Palace appropriately.
My family and I later went on the London Eye, which was one of the most surreal things I have ever done. As we climbed the wheel, I watched my view of the city expand. It was so clear up there, high above the city. You could’ve saved your self the money in bus fare and instead just have seen it all from up there.
The last highlight of my trip was being able to see all of the history of the city. Across the bridge, in London city, we drove by contemporary skyscrapers that looked like large shards of glass, then you could drive a while and see a building with wood black from a fire decades ago that nearly burned the whole city. In West Minster, it was the same; next to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace was Piccadilly Circus (The city’s very own Time Square) full of Hard Rock Cafes, casinos, and T.G.I. Fridays. The combination of tradition and history with progress and contemporary style brought the city a natural charm. Riding down the busy streets, with the cool September wind in my hair, it was hard not to stop and reflect on what it all meant, which, to me, was the most special part about this alive city.