For our last day in the city, we bad more or less free reign, with a group meal planned for the evening. A few of us woke up early and went to King’s Cross station to visit Platform 9 3/4, of Harry Potter fame. I was over the moon that we got to do this. Sheila and I had been geeking out here and there all week, and we got to take our pictures with a trolley halfway through the wall. I also picked up a bunch of HP souvenirs for my cousins and a couple coworkers. I’m totally of the Harry Potter generation and it’s always been important to me, but even I was shocked by the excitement of visiting that attraction. Everyone in line was excited, too, and I heard our neighbors chattering away. We spoke various languages, but you can always recognize “Harry Potter”, which brought us together in that spot. It hardly felt like waiting in line.
After that I took a quick nap. I had the chance to hop across the river and visit the Globe super briefly, which I knew my theatre-geek friends would love, and one of the Tate gift shops. We didn’t have time to go in, but whenever I can make it back, Tate Modern is probably my first stop. I got to pick up a couple flyers with interesting typography, and we did find wrapping paper for the gifts there. A little more downtime followed before it was time to get ready for dinner.
Earlier in the week, we’d picked out gifts for our professors, and tonight we’d be presenting them at dinner as a memory of the trip we all shared. Autumn & Otto did a stellar job of making sure everyone contributed their share and had a chance to sign them beforehand. We all poured the gratefulness and affection we had for Ingrid & Regina into those gifts. It was like seeing the culmination of our growth as a team come to life when the last signature was marked and we started to wrap them on the floor of room 515. A few of us made sure to get to the restaurant well in advance so we could hide them from view. The look on their faces when we pulled them out made us all smile and laugh. It was truly a team operation, too—we had a group chat without the professors, and made sure when we were in those gift shops that someone was keeping tabs on what they were looking at (and making sure they didn’t get the same for themselves). A couple of our original gift ideas were vetted by this process because the person acting as mole was able to warn us—”Regina already owns that!” and we all had a slice of the fun in being sneaky. It went off without a hitch.
After dinner, the others went out together. It sounded like a great time! It’s not my scene to be up late or around a lot of noise and people, so I was more than happy to tap out and pack my things. But I was stoked to see members of the group who hadn’t joined in on group activity much throughout the trip go all in and have a blast together. Their excitement was infectious. The motivation from this trip will fuel me to do my best with all the work, and the relationships I got to form will, hopefully, be part of the rest of my time at UML and beyond.