In London, there is a major PSA that is painted on the grown, blown up onto huge posters on the walls, and there’s even souvenirs, hats, t-shirts, you name it with these words on it. When I first got to London, I did not understand the obsession or the worry over such a thing. I guess this is the one thing all people in London have to worry about because it is their largest public service announcement that I came across, and towards the end of my visit there, It definitely grew on me. That “PSA” is:
Mind the Gap
I did not know what to expect from London, I only planned to stay two nights since the USD doesn’t go far in London. I stayed in a hostel named: The Queen Elizabeth. I was so happy that one of my friends from Brussels would also be meeting me there, I was sad my trip was coming to an end.
London absolutely took me by surprise.
I just checked in and changed into some other clothes to got meet my now good friend, Holly. I went to sit at the bar to have a drink while I waited to learn where to meet my friend in London. I ordered a Guinness, I was strongarmed into it because I almost ordered a Heineken. It was then explained to me that in London Guinness was their beer of choice. I drink the whole thing and ordered another.
The bartender caught my eye and then my ear. He had an accent. He was from Australia. Girls, you know what that can do to you. I noticed he seemed to not have much positive expression on his face. So, I decided to go in for the kill and make a move. I said,
Do you ever smile, or do you always have a resting bitch face?
He looked at me and said,
Yeah, I smile sometimes
with not even a smirk, not even a fraction of a smile. I was intrigued. I liked that he was witty and could spark interest. I definitely had my eye on him.
I met my friend Holly at Big Ben and we decided to have the worse service ever at an English pub where I continued to drink Guinness. Having never drunk beer prior to this trip, I sure was changing that every day. I mentioned to Holly about the bartender, Pete. She knew who I was talking about because she stayed the night previously. She said I should go for it. I did not know what she meant knowing I had only two nights in London. Well, I guess I had a small idea.
Here’s something about me, I do not like to hook up knowing there is a short future ahead. WHY? Because what if I accidentally end up really liking everything about you? That is setting myself up for disappointment. I ignored what she said and we decided to stay in and drink at our hostel which was located on top of an English Pug.
He was there.
I got excited and then nervous because Holly has no filter and I have seen her be a good wingwoman in Brussels. We ordered drinks and hung out with the people who worked at the hostel and the regulars at the bar. What an interesting crowd.
At some point in the night, Holly decided to wingwoman it up for me and told Pete to take me on a date the next night. After a few times, he said okay, and she looked at me. Let’s blame this part on the alcohol but we both giggled as we looked at each other like we had won. He added me on Facebook and told me he had to work in the AM. I planned on going on another walking tour to get some history of the city of London.
I am not going to lie, I was excited to spend some time with this witty, sarcastic Aussie. I did not know what to expect.
The next morning, Holly said goodbye to me. I was sad. That was the last friend I had met in a previous city I would see on this journey. Before she left, she told me to enjoy my date with Pete and to invite me to the wedding. I remember thinking she was so ridiculous and I loved it.
I was on my own and so I got up to make the most of it. I was sleeping on the bottom of a three-bed-bunk-bed. You really learn a lot about yourself staying in hostels across Europe. Trust me there.
After getting ready, I walked down to the bar to see what kind of breakfast they had for two euros. It was nothing special, so I decided I wanted a full-English breakfast. Pete was sitting at a table. He told me that he did not have to work in that morning or day, and asked what I had planned. I said,
A full English Breakfast
Another guy who worked there, Ashley, said,
Why don’t you take her to breakfast?
Pete got up and said that he would. I waited while he went to grab a few things. When he came down, he walked me to the cafe.
Little did I know what would happen after that breakfast. He paid for our breakfast and walked me back to the hostel. I had planned on going on a walking tour to explore London, and I wasn’t sure if I should wait for him when he went upstairs, or rush to make the tour I was running behind for. I think the fear of knowing what could be made me choose the tour. I rushed to the tube to make my way to the walking tour meeting point at Picadilly Square. Upon listening to one of the tragic loves stories on the tour, I panicked. I felt like I made a mistake rushing out without him coming down from upstairs after breakfast.
I messaged him on Facebook to let him know I would be done with the walking tour and wondered what he had planned later. He invited me to go have drinks in a park, he was meeting up with his friends.
I was worried, I was 40 minutes late from the time I had promised to be back. I felt sure that he had left, without me. I sat saddened at the bar at the London Hostel I was staying at. I ordered a drink. I hoped I was wrong and that we would walk out from behind the swinging door that separated the sleep quarters from the pub.
Half-way into my drink, the door swung open. There was Pete, my heart skipped and butterflies fluttered from my stomach to my throat. I started the conversation and apologized for being later than I thought. He was so laid back and had a back full of drinks made up, and said he was leaving in 30 minutes if I still wanted to join.
We walked and flirted our way to the park. He said he told his friends he would meet them in the “middle of the park.” This sounded hilarious, so I joked with him saying that was ridiculous and he probably didn’t have any friends meeting us there. He assured me they were coming, and they did. One kiwi, and one Aussie; Pete & Kim. They were charming and fun. The buzz turned into tipsy, and the seal required to be broken. Pete walked me to a local restaurant to avoid me peeing in the bushes nearby, it was the only thing this Texan could see from the park that was the closest thing to a bathroom.
Kim, Pete and I went to Whetherspoons to have some dinner and a drink prior to Kim going to work at this place called The Slug she bartended at. It was my first time having helumi- and that blew my mind. We had a few more drinks and then Pete walked me to the Slug. This place reminded me of a British version of a Texan bar. It was quite marvelous, and we were one of the few people there. As time went on, the music grew louder and people flooded in. Pete looked at me. He had a way of looking at me that captured my attention, of making me feel incredibly special. He did this before, and it made me want him to kiss me. I had felt this way all day. All I knew was that he was special, he felt important to me. He leaned in with a drink in hand doing this cute little dance that involved minimal movement. He finally kissed me. It was sweet, it was perfect, and I wanted more. I felt like this was the start of something potentially amazing.
I couldn’t have been more right.
I did not know it at the moment, for I never felt like this before. Love had struck me right through the heart, and I fell head over heels for Pete. He was witty and sweet. He also had a huge sense of adventure. I was swept away by him just as fast as time flew on by.
Before I knew it was my last day in London, and I did not want to say goodbye to him at all.