365 Days of London: A Summary
But I feel compelled to. I've started my blog a bit late into my European adventure and have not given proper credit to my host city, London. So before I settle in, before I eat another croissant, or taste another piece of delicious cheese (sorry Kristen) and do anything else that brings me closer to being Parisian, I need to document some of my thoughts on the place I called home for over the last year.
London is an incredibly diverse city. It's a city where anything goes - it has reminded me a lot of San Francisco in that way. Posh or punk, there is a place for everyone. There is so much culture here, British culture melds with a myriad of other cultures in art, history and language to make one of the most unique places on Earth.
Here is a brief list of what I'll be glad to take away and what I'm glad I left behind after my exactly 365 days as a Londoner:
What I won't miss:
- Gray skies - I never got used to the buildings always being the same color of the sky, making life one monotonous wall of gray.
- The Tube + Victoria Station, where clueless travelers stop in front of you and roll over your toes with giant suitcases.
- Annoyingly intrusive times for public services. I've had my feet cleaned by the street sweeping machine on more than one occasion because the street sweeper thinks that 8am - 9am is a perfect time to clean the entrance to the Tube station, in the midst of rush hour. Really?
- British men. They haven't caught onto the fact that I'm absolutely charming. :)
- Figuring out the NHS (healthcare system). Doctor says to Jackie: "You only have 10 minutes so prioritize your issues." Um, ok.
What I will absolutely miss:
- Tea time! Somehow, putting milk in my tea doesn't seem right outside of the United Kingdom. I secretly wanted to make it my life's mission to visit every well known and off the beaten track high tea in London. I only made it to three.
- Parks, oh the beautiful parks. Hyde Park and Regent's Park fill the soul with happiness no matter the weather.
- How happy people are when the sun comes out. London in the sun is glorious. We drop everything to be outside. We stop in the street and look up to feel the sunshine on our face. We are kinder and more polite to our neighbors (which seems impossible for Brits as I think they're probably the most polite culture on the planet). It's a little bit like this video.
- One of my local pubs, The Canonbury. I didn't spend enough time with you. But I did learn a lesson about trying to date someone that works at your favorite local - don't do it.
- The British accent and British-isms.
Do you "reckon" you could tell us all of them? "Would do," but the list of what I "fancied" is "quite" long. But if I "have a go", I'm sure I could "sort it out", "love." (If only I could reproduce the accent.)
- The American Delegation. I left the country to get away from you (just kidding) and yet you've become my closest friends. :)
- British sarcasm. Unparalleled, love it. For a fine example, look back in history at Winston Churchill - such sophisticated wit.
- British TV. From The Only Way is Essex (how can we ever forget "glamping") to the countless shows that dig into British history in minute detail. Especially to be missed are the cheeky announcers that make snarky comments in between TV shows.
- Crumpets, Fortnum & Mason, a good roast, amazing restaurants with global food, Waitrose (grocery store) and the way Brits pronounce their "h" when speaking about herbs.
What I'm sad I missed (but provides good reason to return):
- Oxford, Cornwall, the Lake District
- Going to Glastonbury
- Entering the lottery for Olympics tickets (I'm an idiot for not doing this.)
- Seeing an Arsenal game. Shameful really as this is my neighborhood.
- Nabbing William before Kate got to him. Looks like I'll have to settle for a regular wedding, sigh.
The year in pictures. The London highlights: