Lawning in London

Friday night outside of Rockwell house, the Niswarth trip began as the first half of the group pulled out of the driveway in the van that would take us to the airport, marking the commencement of a journey that would bring us to the other side of the planet. I didn't know what to expect -- and I'm sure none of us did -- as we drove away from campus, away from familiarity, and into the unknown that lie before us. It still didn't seem real then, as we all had felt for ages about the trip. We couldn't really be traveling to the world's forth largest city to work with children from Asia's largest slum. It must have been a mistake, we must have all thought. But yet, there we sat, on our way to an exotic and far-away land, and we would arrive in less than twenty four hours.  

We should have, anyway.


After exiting our plane at Heathrow and bussing across the tarmac, we realized that our plane was to leave in less than an hour, and we were cutting it close. Not all of us fit on the first bus, so we awaited the arrival of the group on the next two. Slowly, our group assembled in the brightly lit hallway at the top of the escalator. One by one they appearing from the hurrying crowd. It took only a glance of the final member for us to begin our race down the seemingly endless hallway toward the terminal. Thirty minutes to spare. We rushed toward customs. Reva, in front, handed her boarding pass over. Too late. None of us knew how to respond, a mix of confused glances and aggravated remarks. There was nothing to do, we were told, but to book the next available flight. And so, as the faculty members attempted to get us all the fastest tickets out of London, we set up camp in the middle of Heathrow. Adding insult to our injury, a couple of us overheard a British Airways employee speaking to a business man behind us: "Sir, your flight has already been closed, but we can hold it back for you. Follow me, this way."


And so, we waited.


Never, before the trip, would I have expected to be "lawning" (a favorite pastime at Andover consisting of frisbee, sunbathing, and general time-wasting) on a strip of grass in London, 500 feet from a runway. I should've been touching town on a different runway on the other side of the world. But I wasn't in Mumbai, I was in London. The "should" doesn't really matter in the present moment, it never existed, and never will. If you live in another moment, as many of us often do, you'll never full enjoy anything, and never quite be satisfied. It sounds kind of cliche -- "just go with the flow." We hear it all the time. But we don't often get a chance to apply like this to life. So while we may have missed a trip around Mumbai on Sunday, we'll always be able to say that we went lawning in London.