It was brought to my attention that my blog has been a bit of a downer lately. Sorry folks, not spending the holidays drunk on a beach will do that to a girl. I have been rather… blue lately, but not sad. Just missing my moms and wishing I could be somewhere hot and sunny or cold and snowy.
But I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not happy here in London – I really love the city. I just need to get myself into the swing of things.
London would be the second most beautiful city I have ever seen. I’m still putting Vancouver first, but London is not far behind. I think the people here don’t really realize how lovely London really is – it is crowded, but controlled, there is a lot of history, and there is a lot of character. There are parks everywhere and because the buildings are short you can see the sky.
If Vancouver is the "City of Glass", then I would dub London the "City of Time". Everywhere you go here, you can feel the history of hundreds of years of continual habitation. It is amazing.
Maybe part of the reason I have’t really commented much on how I do love this city, or why I seem unable to really describe it, is that it still seems mostly surreal that I’m even here. It is so strange to be in a place where you know all about the history, the people, the famous places. The first time I saw Tower Bridge over the Thames River I had to restrain an urge to pinch myself.
I mean, after work, I get on the tube and curse London all the way from Fulham Broadway to Charing Cross. But then I get on an overland train – and crossing the Thames from Charing Cross to London Bridge station is beautiful, especially at night when the city is all lit up, but also in the morning as the sun begins to rise. I’m tired at the end of the day, but I usuallly have a seat on the train and it isn’t packed full, so I can enjoy the view without feeling crowded. And the views are lovely.
The pubs here are also grand. There is an entirely different culture when it comes to drinking in general, but the pubs specifically have a different feel to them. You just kind of have to experience it.
There are crosswalks here that are not controlled by traffic lights, where drivers actually stop for pedestrians. Amazing! And, being ever so polite, London has kindly painted "look left" and "look right" at crossings so you know which way the traffic is coming from… SO helpful for someone like me who comes from a place where they drive on the other side of the road!
Speaking of being polite… people here actually apologise when they bump into you. They say excuse me. And they say it all in English. Glorious!
I really appreciate the phrases "take the piss", "can’t be arsed", and "crack on" (as in, "As soon as we get the data, we can crack on with this project"). I think these phrases are woefully missing from the general venacular of English speakers outside of Britain.
I like that one of the guys associated with my company is an honest-to-God knight, for flip’s sake. I’ll let you know when I meet him.
You can go and look at the Queen’s house whenever you like (but she keeps the curtains closed).
There are millions of things about London that I really enjoy, so I don’t want anyone to start thinking I don’t like it or that I’m unhappy here. I was unhappy with my *holidays*. I’m sick of not having any money or friends. I’ve been frustrated to infinity and back by the process of getting a bank account (which will be a separate entry one of these days). I tense up just thinking about the words "severe delays" when they are talking about the Jubilee Line (and not Amelia and Brendan – HA HA HA!!!). But things like that would piss me off no matter which city I was in.
I’m thinking too about the differences in my early Korea entries and my early England entries. Let’s not compare them, people, okay? Korea was my first big adventure. I had never travelled. I was getting ready to goof off for at least a year. I had less responsibilities than before. Now I feel like I’m entering a more serious stage in my life (not too serious though… life is too chuckalicious to be too serious!) where I want to actually set some goals and achieve them, particularly financially. I’ve been traveling for almost three years now. There’s no weird Konglish (but there is weird English – I don’t often agree with "American English", but some of the "British English" is seriously messed up). And frankly I’m not getting to laugh at the expense of little kids any more. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy here.
I keep repeating that, don’t I? I am happy here. But I’m not just saying it to convince you… or me. I’m just letting you know. And I’m reminding myself: life is pretty good. I might as well enjoy it.