Summer Vacation in London, England: A True Real-Life Story

By Claudia

In the summer of 2009, I boarded a jumbo jet to London, England. I wore plain clothes so that I wouldn't attract attention. I'm always trying to blend-in in public spaces like airports. After flying an entire day from Pennsylvania to England, I arrived tired and exhausted to London's Heathrow Airport.

All I could think about was getting out of my sweaty travel garments, taking a hot shower and relaxing at my luxurious hotel. I nearly passed out when I was told that the airline had lost my luggage. A doorman handed me two cups of water and he told me that he was concerned because I was looking very pale.

Besides my lost luggage, all I had brought was my purse and the clothes on my back: baggy jeans, old shoes and a white button-up shirt. Maybe that's acceptable in America; but, Londoners in the financial district are a different crowd. The world's top bankers, investors, and businessmen walk up and down London's streets in their perfectly pressed pinstripe suits. Secretaries and receptionists pace around London's five-star establishments in their sky-high heels and tailored pencil skirts.

I, on the other hand, looked like crap. I got to the hotel and was treated like I came from a third-world country. Yet, I had booked hotel reservations weeks in advance and was a legit customer! Oh the cruelty of their stares! Upon arrival, all of the hotel staff, except for one, treated me like filth. A waitress from Brazil who told me she was working her way up, and starting from the bottom, was the kindest soul to me. She brought me newspapers from all over the world. I really love newspapers. She made sure I had all of the simple, creature comforts that I loved, like eggs sunny-side-up and fresh orange juice. She was just an angel. I can't believe how different that woman was from all the rest of the staff. She looked beyond my shabby clothes and into my heart and soul. Without my luggage,

I went without the basics for the first day. Without a hairbrush and hair extensions, my hair looked thin. My precious hair extensions serve as afiller for what I lack. As I searched for clothing stores, drug stores and just any kind of store where I could find some much needed essentials, people around me gave me strange looks. I never realized the extremities of my self-consciousness as I did on that day. I kept thinking about the kind, warmhearted waitress. She made me feel accepted. But, why wasn't I getting that from the other Londoners?

I quickly realized how important appearance is to the world. People judge each other based on our looks. It's human nature. That's just life. I missed my hair. I realized how much more confident I felt when I wore my extensions. At that moment, my broken spirit was written all over my face. Thank God my luggage was eventually found. I showered and changed into my prettiest clothes. I never felt more brand-new. The hotel employees looked at me with surprise when I descended from my hotel room in a pretty, bouncy Anne Taylor skirt and a pink Brooks Brothers shirt.

My clean, full, bouncy hair gave me the confidence I needed to smile. Now, I often think back to this time and realize how strongly my confidence and self-esteem are tied to my appearance. If hair extensions can boost my confidence, happiness, and inner emotional security, then why shouldn't I wear them? And, why shouldn't I wear clothes that make me feel good? A girl needs to be happy! After all of this, I realized that I do love London.

Madonna and Elton John live in London. The Queen of England lives there, too. Actually, several of the world's ultra-fabulous fashion designers all live there. It's a glamorous place. I love glamor. But; most important of all, the kindhearted waitress lives there. The nice doorman who gave me water at the airport when I was about to pass out, he lives there, too.

These people really changed my heart. I'm glad I went to London so I that I would learn what is truly important in this life... the heart! So, here's to your hearts, I wish that they would be full of warmth, affection, and love. I wish you would all the courage to love yourselves on days that you look good, as well days that you don't look good, and that you would extend that kindness to those around you, too.