My fourth week here started off with a lot of luck. On Wednesday, some of my friends and I decided to tour Buckingham Palace, as it was only open for a few more days. Upon arriving, we realized there was something exciting going on. We went off to the side, standing in the front row behind a gate, and learned that we were fifteen minutes away from the changing of the guards. Seeing as we’d been here for four weeks, we probably should have known it was happening, but it was a fantastic surprise nonetheless. We got to watch the parade go right by us and through the gates of the palace. It was difficult to see the actual ceremony as there were thousands of people there, but stumbling upon that experience was amazing. I’ll definitely be going back to see the entire ceremony next time. Touring Buckingham Palace was also incredible. The exhibits that they have on the Coronation are stunning. I was able to feel propelled back in time, like I was watching the Coronation live. I never thought I would get to see the footage of that, especially not while standing in Buckingham Palace.
On Saturday, we heard that there was an NFL Block Party on Regent’s St. The Minnesota Vikings were playing the Pittsburg Steelers the following day. Even though the Patriots weren’t playing, I still bought tickets to the game. The block party was amazing. The entire street was blocked off and filled with everything football related. I felt right at home walking the streets and seeing everything. This was the start of my American weekend in London.
Sunday was game day. For the record, I will always be a Patriots fan. I was born in Massachusetts and I live in New Hampshire; no team will ever come between the Pats and me. With that said, I did support the Vikings at the game. While I felt like a bit of a traitor wearing purple instead of red, white, and blue, I was beyond happy to be there. I went to the game with four of my friends and it was probably the best day I’ve had here. I didn’t realize how much going to that game would remind me of home. Seeing every single team represented and so many different nationalities there to watch American football made me very proud to call America my home. Being at one of the most famous stadiums in the world didn’t hurt either. Our seats were absolutely amazing and the game was incredible. It was actually my first NFL game and I’m so fortunate it was in London at Wembley Stadium. And yes, the Vikings did win! I guess there is room in my heart for a new second favorite team.
This whole past weekend made me fully realize how lucky I am to be here in London and how much I take for granted at home. It took going to a football game for me to open my eyes and see the world around me. While it did make me miss home a little, it also made me fall even more in love with this city. London is so diverse and so large, yet so small at the same time. It is easy to walk the streets here and feel right at home. My American weekend here put things into perspective for me, allowing me to finally embrace British culture while still loving my own culture. I hope it’s a line I’ll always get to walk.