Mind the Gap
Yes, of course I’m going to use a clichéd title. What else did you expect from me?
If you aren’t well versed with the book on clichéd touristy phrases, I should point out that the title refers to the city of London. Which, was where I happened to spend the month of April. I was there for my first internship here in the UK and my first prolonged stay in the city.
Ever since I’ve been in the United Kingdom, London never seemed to appeal to me for some reason. I mean, sure its fine if you’re only there for a day and are mentally prepared to drop a small fortune on the transport system. But honestly, after spending eight months living and breathing in my perfect little town of Winchester, rude people, tourists and the wind tunnel effect do not play a part in my idea of the perfect living environment.
Or at least that was what I thought, sitting up there on my high horse looking snootily down below. Right until I was rudely awakened by the fact that endless tube rides, grime and photo bombing the odd tourist are all things that now somehow appeal to me. Except for the photo bombing the tourist thing. The stick up my ass is too far in for me to do something like that. Or have any fun, so it seems.
Somewhere along the way though, London began to feel like home and I, began to feel like I belonged. Weirdly enough, it’s the little things, like burying your head in a book on the tube and trying to not look anyone in the eye that make you foolishly swell with pride when you realize that you’re abiding by the ‘Silent Secret Code of the Londoners’. Really. There apparently is one.
The tube is quite an amazing phenomenon to witness actually. You see people, the men dressed to the nines in their Savile Row look-alike suits, and the women with their Lady Dior handbags rubbing shoulders with the opposite side of the spectrum who usually happen to be tattooed students, burly workmen or the annoyingly horny couple whispering God-knows-what into each other’s ears. And of course, you can’t forget the ever present tourist, eyes glued to the tube map trying to figure out which stop to get off at. The tube should definitely be deemed the ultimate people watcher’s paradise.
As for strolling around the city, didn’t have much of a chance to do that on this trip, but from previous experiences I can tell you that it certainly is one of the most rewarding things to do in the city and is an added bonus as you’ll be saving on tube rides. More money to buy cheesy souvenirs! Not that I have any of course. For those who don’t know me, I happen to be the embodiment of a true ‘kanjoos’, for lack of a better word.
The office that I interned at was located on the edge of Notting Hill. Yes, the same Notting Hill from the movie Notting Hill, and no I did not see ‘THE’ blue door, although seeing different groups of tourists pose in front of different blue doors was almost a daily occurrence.
Now I can’t say that I know London in and out or even that I have been to see all the sights and have done all the touristy things, (well, except for the photo above where my inner dork somehow surfaced), but I do now know it a little bit better and I do feel a little more at home in the midst of all the black cabs, traffic and the constant overflow of crazy people. And I am already looking forward to going back, which is definitely not something I would have said in the past. Wow, I really must be growing up. Opening up to new experiences has never ranked high on my to do list.
Anyway, as the point of this blog is to merely document my new life, I think this should do for the moment. Must not get too ahead of myself with posts whose word counts exceed the number of days in a year. Baby steps. Baby Steps.