Colette Whitney is a student at Ohio University. She is currently studying in London, England at the University of Westminster.
Tonight, I was sitting in my room, after having eaten a particularly delicious homemade stir-fry thing, and I was like, it is 8 o’clock on a Friday night and you just had dinner for one in your 7-by-10 closet of a dorm room. You gotta go out. Which worked because I really wanted gelato anyways, and there’s this gelato in Covent Garden that makes me want to give up the whole ‘find a man and settle down’ thing in favor of a life filled with gallons and gallons of milk chocolate gelato. So I put on my snazzy Primark trench coat, wrapped my black, London-approved scarf around my neck and set out on the great gelato adventure of 2013. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped out of my building, I was filled with dread because the air was thick with English rain. You know, the kind that doesn’t exactly fall and isn’t exactly mist, but you end up getting soaked anyways. And I had forgotten my umbrella. But this journey was bigger than petty rain. I was not going to be able to just forget about my gelato boyfriend. So I hopped on the tube and 25 minutes later, I was a happy girl.
Afterwards, I didn’t feel like trekking back yet. I decided to go for a ride on the bus, as they aren’t very busy around 9 o’clock and it was a guarantee that I could sit in the front row on the top deck, which is as close to quidditch as a muggle can get. I rode on the bus for a bit, crossed over the Thames, then hopped off. I wanted to walk across the river. I wanted to see where I would end up. Meanwhile, it was still English raining, and I was still utterly umbrella-less. I found myself walking next to Big Ben. It is impossible not to fall in love with this classic structure. I don’t know what it is about it, but everyone who sees it falls in love. It’s proven (by me). I wandered past Parliament and Westminster Abbey, which were lit up golden in the wet air. When I stopped walking, I had no idea where I was. I looked around me and I could see the London Eye, shining with blue light, and the Shard, but both were across the river and quite a distance away. It was 10:30 and dark and rainy, and I was totally lost, but I wasn’t scared. I don’t think I can be scared in London. No matter where I am, I know there is always a way back to where I need to be. London gives me that, everyday, and it is pretty freaking awesome.