After a long night of packing and repacking all of my possessions for 2 weeks into a (much too small) backpack, the day was finally upon us; Friday, June 3rd, 2022 was the day we were boarding a 8 ½ hour flight to the United Kingdom! Being a student who has lived internationally before, in Singapore and the U.K, I was used to the feeling of both nerves and excitement rushing through my body before entering a foreign country. This time was different though; I didn’t have my parents dragging me through the airport, telling me what gate we were at and how to get there. I was completely alone and felt as though I was leaving the United States for the very first time.
When the plane landed, at approximately 2am Georgia time, it was go time. We grabbed our trusty backpacks and “scurried” (a common phrase used throughout this trip by Dr. Rubenstein) to catch the Tube to our hotel. We dropped our bags off and went to go explore London! As we entered Victoria near Buckingham Palace, I immediately noticed 3 older women who didn’t look much different from Americans on national holidays, such as the 4th of July or Memorial Day. They were dressed head to toe in the Union Jack, the well-known flag of the United Kingdom. Turns out we had stumbled upon the Platinum Jubilee celebration which was being held for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary on the throne! These British women wanted to be seen supporting and giving tribute to their queen. I was surprised to see that every citizen, business, and shop was fully decorated in either the nation’s flag or pictures of the Queen. The city looked beautiful and so festive! This is something that would never happen in the United States because of differing politics and beliefs. I couldn’t think of a better way to be welcomed back into British culture than to witness this very special holiday held for the Queen! Long live the Queen!
Ending this almost 32 hour travel/tour day, I was exhausted but couldn’t be more excited for the days to come!