To me, going to the US last summer was such a big surprise. It probably was the best surprise I’d ever had in my entire life. I don’t know how about you but I have always been such a big dreamer. Furthering my education in America has always been one of my deepest dreams. I even recall that in my dreams, I would fly to the US in 2016 as a Fulbright scholar. God took me by surprise, though! He surprised me with an amazing program called YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative). So instead of waiting until 2016, He used YALI to make one of my dreams come true earlier than I could have ever thought. Yep, 2014 was definitely my year. It’s been thrilling that I have been to my dream country for less than four months.
Now on my way back to Madagascar, I really didn’t expect that another surprise was awaiting me. Just so you get the whole context, my initial itinerary was not meant to be US-London-Johannesburg-Madagascar but US-France-Madagascar instead. But since the airline which I got my flight ticket from went on strike, I had to go through another airline. A very close friend of mine texted me prior my departure day about how bored and pissed off she was while having a layover in London and South Africa. Taking that into account, I put my devotional book, my planner, my camera, and my computer in my carry-on. And I was like: “Okay, I am ready. If I get bored at the airport at least I know what I will be up to.” haha. When the D-day arrived, things went as planned. I went to the VA airport, got in the airplane, and flew to London.
Here comes the surprise. I thought that like everybody, at least like my friend who left two days ahead of me, I would be bored to death at the airport waiting for my next flight (which was 7 hours from then) …Do you wanna guess what happened? When I came to that counter (I will call it a counter. You know this place where you show your VISA and passport), the person there asked me whether it had been my first in London. Of course, I said it’s my very first in London because it was obviously my very first there. The person went on: “Have you ever wanted to visit London?” And I was like: “Yeah, I love traveling and London is definitely one of the places I have always wanted to go to.” (with a very big smile on my face because I really meant every word I said 🙂 Guess what? The guy took a stamp and issued me a VISA on the spot. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t bribe him, I didn’t beg him to…but I was issued a VISA. You know what it implied. Yeeeaaah!! I could leave the airport and go see what London is like. I just couldn’t believe it. You can’t imagine how HAPPY I was. I had family there but my cousins couldn’t make it there because I was way too far from where they were. Plus, it was on a weekday so they were all at work. Hello adventure!
I grabbed my carry-on, got all my stuff safe, checked the rest of dollars I had and had them exchanged into pounds. It was super exciting to live such an experience. You only have a few bucks in your pocket, you have no idea where to go but still…you go. I bought this metro card and got the map of London. In UK, they call ‘subway’ underground instead. It was pretty cool to hear the British accent again. It has been so long since I had heard someone speak with such accents. I could feel I was in London. It was super exciting to have that map on and decide which way to go. I had over 6 hours to go until my next flight. So of course I went on the underground and went to Westminster Station where I could take some photo shots by famous “Big Ben” and the “Eye of London”. And again…of course, I also visited the neighborhood which was very nice. It looked quite old but royal and pretty.
What was pretty cool to me there as well is the cabs…You can’t imagine how cute they are. NYC cabs are all yellow but what makes the cabs in London special is that they all look alike. Cabs in London are called Hackney carriage…Check out this video I took. So cute, aren’t they? I wanna have one of these. Haha
You might wonder what this post is for. I just felt like sharing with you guys that sometimes we, as humans, have plans. We plan things out so much that we sometimes forget that we are only humans. Things are not under our control. We think we know what is going to happen at this very moment but we don’t know what is going to happen. At least, this is what I believe. In my story, I experienced that, I thought I would be stuck at the airport, taking photos, reading books and posting some Facebook photos but I left the airport instead and got to see the beauty of London from the outside. Life is sooo good!! Never forget that. I am personally convinced that life is full of surprises because God is full of surprises. Jesus will always surprise me! 🙂
“I am personally convinced that life is full of surprises because God is full of surprises.” Gaelle
PS: My camera shut down pretty early so I couldn’t take that many photos.