I want to rewind a little bit today and tell you a story very close to my heart and one that I’ll never forget.
London’s a city that’s never really, and still doesn’t, interest me whatsoever. I’ve been several times and nothing’s ever stuck out that makes me want to go back. I have a similar feeling towards Paris, yet Paris still has that French edge that sucks me in to the whole Paris vibe every time.
However, on 6th September 2014 I visited London with my dad for a very specific reason. I was moving to Aix-en-Provence, a city I’d never visited and knew nothing about, right after our weekend in London.
The plan was, my dad and I would get a train down to London from Edinburgh before I took the Eurostar to Paris and then move to my new city. This would be good for two things; firstly he’d help me carry my life in the 40kg suitcase I was taking, and we’d get to spend some quality time together for the last time in a while. It was lovely, considering I’ve done spa days and nights away with my mum a lot, this was the first time me and my dad were getting away together.
We got in to London and my dad told me that he’d booked a random hotel for us. It turns out he’d gone and booked us the grandest hotel in London as a surprise! We started walking up to the hotel and, oblivious as I was, I thought we were grabbing a taxi from the hotel. Then my dad does that cute, happy-guilty smile and I realised we were staying there!
One of the first things we did was go and buy my new camera, my first real camera. The whole reason I wanted a camera was to be a classic year-abroader with really great photos. I couldn’t have imagined developing such a passion for it over the past couple of years. On the left is my dad in the first photo I ever took on my own, adult camera.
The next couple of days were spent exploring all of the sights we possibly could, and being proper tourists. And of course, we even went on the open-top bus around the city. Considering I’d just bought my first camera, I got very photo happy with the touring and ended up taking photos that exist on 729472 other cameras…
I can’t remember the exact occasion or the right name for the monument we’re at (I think it’s the Tower of London), but my dad was really happy to have this photo of him anyway!
We stopped off at Wagamama’s, one of my favourite restaurants, as I knew they had Kirin Ichiban, one of my dad’s favourite beers.
Having just found these photos after not seeing them since our trip, I’ve just been reminded of a really funny memory that sums up my dad as a person. We decided to go to a (very overpriced) aquarium during one of our days there. In the middle of the aquarium, we saw a “Hurricane Simulator”. Of course, dad got very excited and had to go in. I remember giggling trying to get photos whilst adults were grimacing and kids were jealous as they were passing us. The before and after photos are priceless…
Anyway, once all the fun was over, it was time for the hard part. Time for me to leave.
Sometimes I think about the moment that I left my dad at St. Pancras randomly start to cry, for happiness and sadness. It was such a life altering moment for me in so many ways. It makes me sad to remember that gut-wrenching feeling of pure dread and sadness, but it makes me feel so blessed for two main reasons. Firstly, I now realise that I’m a strong person for using that fear so positively and gave myself such a great life whilst on my year abroad. Secondly, and most importantly, it was a moment I shared with my dad that brought me so close to him and that is something I’ll never forget. He helped me through one of the hardest moments in my life so far and his hug is one of the only things in the world that could make any situation better.
It was a weekend I’ll truly never forget and I’m so glad I have these memories and photos with my dad. I hope in the future we’ll have more trips just us two. When I finally have money to pay my parents back for everything they’ve done for me – despite that no matter how much money I ever earn I could still never pay them back for the impact they’ve had on my life – I already have a few trips up my sleeve. Prepare yourself dad!
Happy birthday Dad.
I love you xxx
À bientôt !