In January, our daughter went off to do a full semester of study abroad in London, England. It was hard leaving her at the airport and waiting to hear from her when she finally landed on the other side of the pond. But today’s technology made her physical absence easier to handle. We used WhatsApp for texting and Skype to talk face-to-face. And it was great hearing about the places she went.
Then, we came into a little more money than we were expecting and my wife and I actually got to travel to England in April. We never dreamed we would ever be able to have such a wonderful experience. We saw the things we had only heard about: Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the River Thames, etc. We even got to spend a couple of days in Dublin. It was exciting to see places that have existed for 800 years or more. And yet, it was all so new to us.
Even so, that was not the wonderful experience we had. That came in watching our 20-year-old daughter guide us through one of the largest cities in the world as if she had always lived there. She had only been in London for about three months, but we followed her lead at every step. Our little girl was now a woman. It was a whole new world for us, and it all took place in the old world of Europe.
To say the least, traveling in London City is confusing. There was one bus stop after another with sometimes three double decker buses lined up. We not only had to find the correct bus number, but also the correct stop to be at to catch that bus. The underground, or The Tube, was often a maze of tunnels that led to who knows where.
And we had to stay out of the way. Native Londoners walk fast, when they are not running. I’m sure we were called bloody Americans more than once, but that’s okay. We hardly noticed. Our attention was on our daughter who was tracking our route through meandering underground tunnels and winding city streets that were crowded with pedestrians, little cars zipping along, bicycles, red buses, and black cabs. We were amazed and proud of how our daughter had adapted and conquered this new, old place all on her own. Not only had she mastered London, she also travelled to several destinations in Europe (France, Norway, Germany, Italy, Greece, and other countries), sometimes alone. We have no doubt she can conquer any place she desires, new world or old.
So I take my hat off to her. All I can do is hope I can guide you through my stories as well as she led us through the streets of London.