London From Above
Though I have always had a slight fear of heights, I have never had any issues with going on ferris wheels. I figured that these big man made contraptions had to be at least half way safe since people were riding them constantly. I remember my first time in one at the county fair, going up with my brother and looking out over the fairgrounds. It was an amazing feeling to be so high and to see the world so small. When you are a kid everything is so much bigger than you, it’s hard not to develop a complex about how insignificant you are. But looking down upon the world around me from that moment it felt like I had the ability to rise above that feeling (literally and figuratively speaking) and believe that who I was or was going to be was not insignificant but important to the world. That’s a pretty big feeling to get from a squeaky contraption that takes you a hundred or so feet in the air and back down again.
I had that feeling again last summer when we went to Seattle. We got the opportunity to take a spin on The Great Wheel, which was twice as big as any ferris wheel at a county fair I had ever been on. Looking out onto the city gave me a feeling like I could conquer the world. Having Jade by my side made the occasion even more spacial since I felt like I had a true partner I could rely on in my pursuit of the future. I know those are some deep thoughts for just going up and gazing over a city, but I tend to romanticize these types of events when I get the chance. When we found out we were able to go to London, we both knew that we wanted to get the opportunity to ride The London Eye. We had talked about it a few times before when thinking about planning a trip to the United Kingdom, but I really had no idea what I had in store for myself. I thought that the wheel in Seattle was huge, but I really couldn’t fathom how big The Eye would be.
After our breakfast at The Wolseley, we made our way down through the North banks of the Thames river, across the bridge to our final destination. It was an interesting experience walking through the South bank up to The Eye. There were street performers and foods carts, and beggars offering paper flowers for a pound. When we arrived at the foot of the massive wheel, I was taken aback by just how gargantuan it was. It turns out that this structure was 443 feet tall, which was almost triple the size of the “Great Wheel” in Seattle! My anxiety of heights had officially come back in full swing at this point and I felt a bit nervous about the ascension. Jade was there to hold my hand and calm my nerves however and I knew as long as she was by my side, nothing bad could happen. We were told that it would be a 30 minute ride, which is one full rotation.
Once we were in the capsule with about 10 other people, I was almost 100% calm. We began our climb on the East side of the construct and thus began to marvel at the city surrounding us. It reminded me of the scene at the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie and his Grandfather join Wonka for a ride in his Wonkavator which took them up over the city. Looking out at the city of London that I had fantasized so much about since I was a child was absolutely humbling. It made me feel like if we can make it to the other side of the world, stay at a grand hotel, walk the streets of London, eat at the most beautiful places, and see the most amazing things that anything is truly possible for us. It helped me erase doubt and restore my confidence in moving forward with our future. This city never seemed to end and just faded out over the horizon. I could look out and see the age old architecture that had been there for hundreds of years. Most thrilling of all must have been looking down upon Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and seeing how minuscule they were from so high. This was truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t believe either of us will soon forget it.