London — Part 1

Leading up to this trip to London, I wasn’t particularly excited — probably because I was flying the day after my last exam. I remember my dad and I were sitting in the airport waiting to board, and I found myself wondering when the residual stress from exams would fade. I really should’ve been getting myself excited for the fact that I was about to go to London! I’d get to see my sister! But instead, I felt nothing but anxiety and exhaustion— mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Day 0

The flight itself was exhausting because it was a (delayed) red-eye flight. But there were still good aspects, like Air Canada’s improvement in assortment and quality of food. I also had an aisle seat with only my dad to the left of me so I was grateful strangers didn’t have to crawl on top of me when they needed to go to the bathroom. Surprisingly, one of my fonder memories of this trip was when my dad and I ended off the flight by watching Suicide Squad without sound, just reading the subtitles together.

View from my dad’s hotel, facing the railroad behind the Arsenal stadium.

Once we arrived, I was itching to shoot because it was foggy and the Heathrow airport was architecturally interesting but I couldn’t shake this feeling of nausea so we headed to the hotel my dad was staying at. There, I washed all the remaining nausea out of my system, then went to visit Soho, the neighbourhood where my sister worked.

Aside: The rhythmic rumbling of the subway and melatonin have the same effect on me. I experienced some of my best sleep in London on the subway.

Oxford Circus: The downtown core was filled with Christmas lights and decorations. I really had no idea London was so big on celebrating Christmas.
Inside the A.P.C. store in Soho.
Karissa working along with her favourite co-worker nicknamed “Tall Miguel”.

It was four months since I last saw Karissa but it felt much longer than that. Maybe because it was the first time I visited her since she started living in London, over two years ago. As my dad and I took stalker-like photos of her through the storefront, I started to get nervous about seeing her. Would she treat me like I’m still a child? Interrogate me about all the boys in my life? Would she be angry at me for not being as responsive as she’d like me to be during the last four months?

I soon found out that I had nothing to fear because once she saw me, she gave me a big hug and all I felt was love — one that continued to strengthen as the trip progressed.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18

Turns out Karissa had not only worked the entire day, but she also had a fever so she fit into our little troupe of the general exhaustion pretty well. We ended the day off by eating homey Korean food in the basement of a Korean supermarket called Center Point Food Store. Sketchy — but good.

We all headed home and I was pleasantly surprised that Karissa’s residence was more like a very small apartment rather than the upper-class-jail-like residences McMaster has. I’m glad I got to stay with her and see how she lives her day-to-day life.


This series of posts will follow my trip to London, documenting the places I visit, the people I see, and the food I eat, as well as my thoughts and reflections.

For my mom who wasn’t able to come on this trip — I hope you enjoy these.

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