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August 10, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

London 2012: Definitely an Ooh La La summer

I can’t believe the time has finally come to (painfully) pack up these over-stuffed suitcases and head on my way back states-side. As cliche as it sounds, it does seem like just yesterday that we got here and acquainted ourselves with the area, had our first fish ‘n chips and cheered for the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee weekend.

USA Women's National Team wins the Olympic football gold medal!

USA Women’s National Team wins the Olympic football gold medal!

Somehow the time in between 1,000 ships on the Thames June 3 and packing away our Kensington memories August 10 has been a fast but beautiful blur. That blur of memory after memory, day in and day out, became a surreal dream last night that will be forever in my mind. I was lucky enough to be at Wembley as the USA Women’s National Football Team beat Japan in the Olympic football finals for the gold medal.

For that 93+ minutes, time stood still (with my nervous heart beating rapidly), and when the final whistle blew signaling Team USA had won, unprecedented echoes of USA USA filled the stadium (and it sounded like most of London). From start to gold medal ceremony finish, I was on Club Wembley cloud nine (my favorite club nine of all time). Not only did this night make my trip complete, but watching our country (and my favorite USWNT) win gold under the Wembley lights to the tune of American chants may have just made my life complete.

I thought about putting together a post with highlights of my trip, but I stopped after 25. I had too many. Every single day was a new highlight. Some were as monumental as climbing a mountain, others as simple as a stroll through Chelsea for delicious gelato. No matter the degree of the experience, all were equally important and will be remembered forever. And once I start losing my mind and/or memory (insert joke about that happening years ago here), I’ll always have Ooh La La London to reread, remember and reflect.

I couldn’t condense that list of highlights, but I was able to pinpoint one major trip take away I plan to carry with me for the rest of my life. While studying, working and living in London, I made a conscious effort to do one thing every single day that fascinated me, challenged me or inspired me. I’m going to keep this tradition alive across the pond, and live like Stephanie the Londoner, inspired by one of my favorite travel quotes of all time:

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Thanks for following along these past three months, it’s been way too much fun! My only words of wisdom are those plastered in every tacky tourist shop throughout London (where I get all my deepest knowledge), and that is: “Keep calm and carry on“. Oh, and seeing how last night went, go Team USA!




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