Days 54 – 56

Day 54: Many oofs

The mountains are the arms of God.

What if you came seeking to be filled but really needed to be emptied even more?

What if you came hoping to find yourself again but found more of God?

(If you want to hear more about today you’re going to have to ask me in person and be ready to sit through a very long monologue. And that’s all I have to say about the matter.)


Day 55: Bizarre

Today we make our way from Ambleside to London, a 7-8hr coach ride that the professors scheduled to split up into shorter spurts. We stop to hike a mountain somewhere, get on the road again, stop at Coventry to see the cathedral ruins and eat dinner, and take the last two hours straight through to London. It’s odd to be right back where this entire pilgrimage began.

It’s the city I never fell in love with.

***

I find myself in the side of a mountain. Again, alone, anxious, I sing “Don’t Wait Up” quietly to myself, acutely aware that there are crowds of other hikers walking along the ridge just above me.

God, I’m so empty. Why am I so empty?

Cassidy is a gem and waits for me even when the rest of the group has already headed down the mountain to the coach. We walk down together, commiserating over our deteriorating bodies and laughing away the pain of hiking down some very steep steps that don’t allow us to enjoy the view.

I tell her about the time I wondered if the rocks beneath my feet were a metaphor for faith. So I looked up and promptly tripped.

“Promptly.”

“God gave us frontal lobes for a reason.”

We find the path down with only a few frantic backward glances and arrive at the coach in one piece (or two?). High fives are in order as we’ve successfully navigated our way and can now be deemed responsible adults.

***

The new and modernized cathedral in Coventry gives me bad vibes as soon as I walk in. It has nothing to do with the avant garde design; I love the art and the meaning behind each wall, stained glass window, and pulpit. I just feel uneasy, like I’m being watched by someone not God. I manage to convince myself I’m just being ridiculous until a few other peers share about feeling the same.

What is here that shouldn’t be here?

***

I don’t know what to do with the luxury of the Mentone.


Day 56: Last day

The nice thing about being back in London is we get to prove we haven’t forgotten how to use the Tube.

Four of us girls take a special trip out to Highclere Castle to see the place where much of “Downton Abbey” was filmed. It’s such a surreal experience and I’m still not sure I actually stood where my favorite actors and actresses stood while creating one of the most stunning TV shows ever produced. (As you can see, I’m definitely not biased.)

We also get to hang out in Paddington Station for a while, which is reminiscent of so many books and movies. You can just feel the magic of the place despite the hustle and bustle of commuters and business people and annoyed ticket window people and stressed out travelers trying to catch their trains without running into Winnie the Pooh.

***

I buy more books, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. I get to read poetry in the comfort of my hotel room with my last Tesco meal deal on the bedside table. Calling my mom reminds me how excited I am to come home despite already feeling waves of nostalgia for this beautiful country I’ve had the privilege to visit.

Then follows movie-watching, ice-cream-eating, teary good byes and packing frenzies.

I settle down a little after midnight to take a four-hour nap before waking up terribly early to head to the London Heathrow airport.

This is it.


Day 57: 24 hours

That’s how many hours it takes me to get home and it was only supposed to take me 17.

Ask me about it. It’s kind of comical, but not really, looking back.

Good bye, England. You were one heck of a journey but I look forward to the day when I can come back and see you again. You’re beautiful.

Gosh, that’s so cliché…

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