My week in York and Leeds was great. It felt like I was back at Holy Cross again getting to hang out with Katie. Even though we were 3,000 miles away from the Hill, it really felt like a reunion 🙂 We got to explore the center of town a bit which was gorgeous. Cathedrals, cobblestone streets, the whole shtick. I got to know her flatmates too and they were lots of fun.
Then I jetted off to Leeds, a 25 minute train ride away, to see Gabby, my oldest friend. She and I met when we were 11 at my English nanny’s wedding in Yorkshire and we became penpals. For awhile we saw each other every summer and now we see each other ever two to three years. Being in the same country this year has been such a treat. She was able to come down and see me my second week at Oxford and we can text with British mobiles… sounds trivial but it’s rare for us and it’s pretty special. She told me she’d have a lecture till 4 (I arrived at 3) so I was supposed to wait in a coffee shop but she ended up surprising me at the train station which was so sweet. Leeds is much more cosmopolitan than Oxford and York but really vibrant with good food and shopping. We did a lot of vegging out and ordering in but we got to shop, go out to a really cool bar / club that played 60s music, and had a girls night with her flatmates with wine and chocolate. So nice 🙂
On my 5 hour 45 minute bus ride back from Leeds to Oxford I had two experiences that made me kind of sappy … I met a girl while waiting in line for the bus that I ended up sitting next to. And she was truly the sweetest thing. We talked for awhile and actually go to know each other. She was telling me all about her long-distance boyfriend and we just connected over a bunch of stuff. I was reminded of how nice it is to meet a stranger and connect in the most random circumstances. She even checked on me as she left with her boyfriend at the Oxford bus stop to make sure I’d be all set to get back to Dale. After she left, I figured out that the buses into town stopped working. Another girl standing there struck a conversation with me and she was incredibly friendly- she told me she didn’t want me to be there alone and offered me a ride into town. Her boyfriend showed up and even put my luggage in their car and was all set to take me, two big smiles on their faces, when the cab I had called before I talked to her showed up (and told me I’d have to pay anyway, even if I didn’t come… that cab driver = not so nice). So I ended up taking the taxi but I was really blown away by the kindness of these two girls. And I can’t help but associate it with England and its friendliness. It was such a nice way to say goodbye before I came home.
Speaking of which, I AM FINALLY HOME! After an 8 1/2 hour flight (of which I slept 6… score) I arrived to Darien, Connecticut. It feels amazing to be back with my three pooches and my parents; to be in my own bed again; to buy and put up the Christmas tree this morning; to sip a pumpkin latte from Dunkin Donuts; to watch TV in the family room again. So, so content.