There are so many categories of experiences. One I have had the pleasure of running into recently is the sort of experience that you’ve always wanted to do, then you do it, thinking the entire time about how you wanted to do it, and then suddenly—it is gone. The London Eye was one of those sorts of experiences for me. I am in London, I have been for nearly a month, and sometimes I still find myself stepping outside of the moment and wondering, Is this real?
Courtney and Mandy were kind enough to see the “LONDON EYE 4D EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!” with me after we rode the Eye. (And I type it like that very intentionally for that is how it was advertised) I wanted to get my money’s worth out of my ticket, so we grabbed glasses and waited in line. We walked in, and the “Caution: Floor is slippery when wet” signs immediately delighted me. We slid the glasses on and I leaned over the replica railing. A seagull chirped on the video as we waited. And then it started. It was just a four minute video, but like the kid I am, I was enthralled.
There were bubbles and snow, wind and squirts of water. I found myself reaching out to pop the bubbles, and then pulling back because—suddenly—I wondered Is this real? I could not tell if computer manipulated bubbles or actual bubbles were floating my way.
As I timidly pulled away from bubble grasping, I realized that this reaching, wondering feeling summed up the entire experience pretty well. I rode the London Eye. It is something that is seen in all the “London” pictures. It is one of the great items to check off your list of life ambitions. It is something I will forevermore see pictures of and think, “yes, I did that.” It was fun, but it was surreal.
Even the first step onto the Eye felt like stepping into a mystery. Like stepping off an escalator, suddenly I was moving but not by my own accord. I was being floated into the sky of London. Over the River Thames, I spun. And then, about twenty minutes passed. I saw the city at sunset. It was beautiful. I took pictures. And then it was over. Just like that, I was trying to regain my balance as we stepped off the giant bicycle wheel.
Watching the changing of the guards, marveling at Wicked, eating at the Eagle and Child, saying the Lord’s Prayer in Westminster Abbey, standing in the room where King James was born, seeing the crown jewels—there have been many Is this real? experiences on this journey. I take it all in with wonder. And then I wonder, wait a minute—did I really just do that? Is it already over?
My other epiphany from watching the “LONDON EYE 4D EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!” was in regard to the name of the glorified Ferris wheel. (Disclaimer: sometimes, I am indeed a blonde) Somewhere along the subconscious way, I assumed that the London Eye was called the London Eye because it was a circle. Eyes are sort of shaped like circles. Therefore, this is an eye in London. After experiencing it, I realized I was thinking of the wrong eye. It was named after the seagull’s eyes that fly above the River Thames. It was named after the thousands who see London from a different perspective. It was my eye that named the London Eye.
I saw things from a different point of view. I widened my eyes, and looked around. I wasn’t sure of all that was so quickly passing me by, but I saw things. I experienced. And whether it feels real or not, I can say I have seen it and seen it from a beautiful view.