Monday, January 25, 2010

Snippets From London, Seize The Moment, part 1...

I've sat down with a cup of tea in my hands a few times to reflect upon London. The tea bags are from Harrods or Marks and Spencer, two fine shops to bring tea back to the states from. Tea has become a must have ritual since my return. I've always been a tea drinker, but London instilled the beauty of tea in me. I thought through my days and was waiting for that aha! moment to become apparent in my regards to writing about my trip. BUT, in my mind and my heart really there isn't a perfect way to create a written record of my experience.

Instead I walk away from six days in London with snippets of inspiration, moments of clarity, and many times a smile on my face. I walk away changed just a little bit, absolutely for the better from what I have learned and experienced.

Seize the Moment

Beyond truly sucking it up with regards to all the fears, hesitations, nervousness, and anxiety I experienced right before leaving, there was a turning point. It simply came, a total and complete feeling of letting all of those emotions go. Once my feet were on the ground, my passport was stamped in customs, I simply had to seize the moment. Make the best of it, take from London whatever I could soak up.

Funny enough right before my stamp of approval was entered into my passport, the customs agent asked me, "Is there any particular reason why you've decided to come to London this time of year?". I laughed, the fog was thick, there was snow on the ground, and it was cold. I replied, "The opportunity presented itself and I went for it, bad weather or not".

For goodness sakes, I was seven time zones, a very large ocean, and 4,600 miles away from my family. I was standing at the feet of history, a culture that has always enamored and lured me in, and the overwhelming feeling that the world was my oyster.

My days were spend on the go. Like so on the go, that I would leave the hotel around 9am and not return until 11pm, or later. In London there is so much to do and see. It could be overwhelming or you can just roll with the endless possibilities for adventure. I was sure to always keep my eyes peeled even because at a brisk pace there are gems to overlook. With that feeling, I am quite content in my reflection, feeling as if I did savor so many moments. On the go, with foresight to be open to possibility.

One morning I headed to the British Museum with my two girlfriends aka wonderful traveling companions. While en route we were turned around in the wrong direction, navigating the streets a little bit in a fog. Lucky for us, during that time we managed to pop into a few shops off the beaten path. We eventually found the museum and spent a couple of hours completely in awe of the history. Sculptures so intricate, delicate, bold, and strong. I couldn't help but imagine the artists living in a much simpler time, creating these magnificently timeless masterpieces. My biggest reflection from the museum, what will our legacy be? What will people in 500 or 1,000 years going to be observing from our current generation of artists? I wish I knew. Then oddly enough we found ourselves being part of an evacuation at the museum. We still don't know why to this day, but it was a little nudge to keep calm and carry on. So we did, off some for more adventures.

Beyond the history and amazing architecture, both of which left a resounding comfort and yearning in me, London is simply full of so many people. Londoners keep a very steady and brisk pace. Maybe it's the rainy chilly weather or maybe it's just the way it is. Keep moving quickly, get up the stairs, down the stairs, on the tube, cross the street, as fast as you can. Don't look back; right, left, right, steady forward motion. Mind the gap.

We quickly learned the norms of transport around town. Keep your oyster card handy (for public transport). Simply tap your card on the big yellow circle, it will read it in a flash and boy this is a time where you move as fast as you can. There are crowds waiting behind you. You need the card not only to enter, but also exit the tube so don't bury it in a pocket that isn't easily accessible. The tube is the London underground aka subway. Stand firm at the yellow line when your train approaches because what seems like an empty platform, quickly turns into a tight pinch on the train for the last spot before the door closes. Oh and on occasion, if you are traveling with a group of eight people on the tube, fair warning you may get separated. Prepare for that.

A fun rush, the tube. Navigating town. Honestly the lovely accent from the recorded voice that announces each stop never gets old. Next stop, Queensway.

To be continued...


4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your memories and pictures!

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  2. Love it! The pics are fab. I want to go to London so badly to visit some friends.. it's been at the forefront of my thoughts and conversations recently. I hope I can make it happen soon - but in the meantime I will enjoy living vicariously thru you and your memories of a fantastic trip!

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  3. Carpe diem! I totally agree! And we certainly did, didn't we? BTW, you guys were fabulous to shop with. - MH :)

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!