Study Abroad Stories

“A Car Crash Killed Lily and James Potter” Makes Total Sense

When I was a junior in college, I flew over to London with about 48 other classmates.

We had all decided to do the business semester abroad, and while many of the faces were familiar, many were also new. Our plane touched down at London Heathrow airport sometime in the late afternoon after a very long flight, and we all groggily filed into the area to find our clothes for the next three months and wait to receive further instruction.

There’s a vague memory of being on a coach bus soon after that, with us getting instructions about something that I probably wasn’t paying attention too. We arrived at a place not far from Heathbar airport and were given some boxed lunches. This was the place where we were to be distributed out to our host families via old-timey looking taxis.

taxi photo

Most of them are black, but you get the picture.

I would be living right near two other guys on the trip, so when the time came, the three of us got into the same one. The driver greeted us and was very friendly, loaded our stuff in the back, and we were off. Going about a HUNDRED MILES AN HOUR down roads that sometimes became only one lane with no divider lines either.

Not to mention that he kept playing with the phone on his dash. Fortunately, his iPhone wasn’t styled like the car, so he didn’t need to use a rotary contraption to open Google maps or anything. It all makes sense now that the lie cooked up about Harry Potter’s parents dying was that they were killed in a car crash. We were flying down insanely narrow roads going, realistically, 45 or 50, which was pretty fast. I know things are different in other parts of the world, but we were holding on for dear life. Those buses too. They must pay some talented engineers to make sure those things are structurally sound and not about to tip over rounding a turn.

double decker bus photo
    Stockholm Transport Museum Commons

The biggest take away here? Don’t try driving in London if you’re used to zipping around on a wide road with a big, automatic car in the states. Or do, I dunno live your life.