After working overtime for a year and pushing myself to the limit, I finally made it to Europe. It is so surreal being here, thinking of how I had to put in my blood, sweat and tears. I made sacrifices and received a lot of help, but it was all worth it. The beginning of my journey in Europe was the start of my dreams coming true. It is hard not to get extremely emotional as I type this. I chose London as a starting point because I have always highly regarded it. There was always something intriguing about the grandness and historical significance of London. It has always been an irresistible destination to me.
Let’s make sure we have our priorities together and start by talking about the food! Oh my God! London’s variety of food is both overwhelming amazing. As a new vegan, I was nervous I wouldn’t find anything that accommodated my diet. It turns out that London has a ton of places to choose from. My all-time favorite place was Mooshies. Even the name is freaking adorable, like you’re about to visit your hippie Grandad. As a strictly vegan burger joint, they also offered hot dogs, milkshakes, nachos, cheese sticks, and seemingly every type of junk food you could dream of. I was in heaven.
Buckingham Palace was the place I was most taken aback. The fact that British royalty lived on the other side of that fence was completely mind blowing for me. This is a high-profile spot! It is the administrative headquarters, where special events unique to the occasion take place. It’s also where the monarchy shows leadership hospitality. It was the moment I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore; I was in a country where Queens and Kings exist.
The Tate Modern Museum definitely stood out with its very special pieces, so I wanted to share my two favorite artworks. I was entranced by a geometric painting from Jean-Pierre Yvaral called Ambiguous Structure No.92 because it began to move before my eyes if I stared at it long enough. The artist mostly worked with black and white, but featured this in 1969 as a beginning of his experimentation with color. It almost feels as if it takes you to another dimension for a moment, where only geometric shapes exist. The glowing ball of light behind the purple reminded me of the sun.
Babel by Cildo Meireles is a tower of radios playing different stations all at the same time. The artist refers to it as the ‘tower of incomprehension’ and the piece references the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. The summary of this story is that God gets offended by builders creating a structure high enough to reach the heavens so he makes the builders speak different languages. Ultimately, the project fails because of the confusion. I love the way it symbolizes miscommunication. I strongly believe that if the people of the world learned how to collectively interact and respect one another we would be closer to world peace. As a result, the symbolic tower of confusion would crumble to pieces.
Does this bridge look familiar to any of my fellow Harry Potter fans? I’ll give you a hint: rewatch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Yes, that’s right! In the movie, a small group of Death Eaters led by Fenrir Greyback destroy this very bridge! In all seriousness, this bridge is a gorgeous architectural feat. Interestingly, when the bridge was first opened, the Londoners who walked on it experienced an alarming swaying motion and it had to be closed for another two years so the necessary renovations could take place to make it more stable. It was nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge” after that.
Remember to enjoy the view and chase your dreams, even if it seems scary. As someone with previous experience being abroad, I was so nervous about going to a different country. Not knowing what to expect was the most challenging fear I had to overcome. The views of London were such a gift for conquering that fear. I hope you are inspired to conquer yours.