Dear London


Dear London,

I expected to fall in love with you and your double-decked buses brightening up every street. I expected to stop and eavesdrop on conversations just to hear proper British accents dressing up even McDonald's orders. I expected to master the Tube and envy Oyster cards. I expected to feel closer to Hogwarts than I ever had.

But your true beauty, London, didn't come from these things. It came from the people, friendly but not trying to talk to you at every corner, and the history. In a way, America's history is connected to that of England. A book my Colonial Mysteries class read talks about how Roanoke is really the start of the United States' history. But does it really begin there? Does history ever really "start," or has it been here all along?


I felt comfortable walking down Kensington High Street alone, but still very American in my short black coat and Vera Bradley purse. The minute I opened my mouth people would know, if not my nationality, my continent. There is a culture here, one that history did not remain in the States 240 years ago. And I feel as if we're missing out on it.

You are one of the safest cities in the world. And yes, that requires cameras staring me down as I descended to the Tube platform. But it also means I let my purse hang free, I didn't hesitate to ask strangers for help. I felt comfortable not talking for once inside each. Something America rarely lets us do.


London, I never wanted to let go of you. I wanted to blend into the crowds on Oxford Street and live near Soho. I wanted to eat non-pub food and make jokes about Nando's. I wanted to grow up in a crisp school uniform with a matching coat and hat. I wanted to sit in your bookstores and soak in the art on the cover of each book, something drastically missing from the States' shelves.

So to the homeless man we passed everyday on the street, to the bartender who apologized for carding me, to the countless Underground workers who let me through once my card stopped working, and to the Beefeater who gave us the best tour of a historical site I've ever had: you are my London. And London, you are my city. 

And I can't wait to return.



Musings at an Airport

Finally, we're getting ready to leave for our London and Paris adventure.

This is just the first leg of our trip, but I'm already excited. In less than 24 hours, I will be in London, a city I've dreamed of visiting since I saw The Parent Trap- the one with Lindsey Lohan, of course.

When one of the twins, Hallie, first arrives in London, "There She Goes" hums away in the background while the movie pans through shots of the city. Hallie is amazed by all that she sees and I knew I wanted to see all that for myself one day. I wanted to walk on the gray streets and look right instead of left, wave to a guard in front of Buckingham Palace. 

And now, I'm about to do it. Complete another of my childhood dreams. Enter into the world of Parent Trap and see just what it's all about.



Traveling Woes

I was going to write about my grandparent's farm. It's a beautiful, beautiful place that I love very dearly. I wanted to share it with all of you as I do, in word and picture. But I want to spend time on that, since it is so important to me. And time is not something I exactly have, because of this:

Traveling WoesYup. Those are boarding passes. And no, I didn't collect them. They are all from Sunday, in my attempt to get to San Jose with my boss for a conference. I say "attempt" because it took this many boarding passes (only two used) and a car to get to our destination.

Delayed, missed flight, delayed, cancelled, five-hour drive. I wasn't reunited with my bag until this afternoon, much to my chagrin. There was much rejoicing in the kingdom when we were reunited.

So needless to say, my recent travel was (is) exhausting. I've been up since 6:45 am eastern time Sunday. I am looking forward to nestling myself in my bed and sleeping as soon as this post is done! So I thought I would just give you a few brief takeaways from my experience these past 40 hours (give or take):

  • ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry-on. My mom had me do this for years, and today it finally came in handy. We jumped around on so many planes, our bags ended up stuck at the airport without us. Fortunately, I had an outfit in my carry-on I could change into today. I just felt so much cleaner and ready to face the day sans sleep with fresh clothes.
  • NEVER bring just one book on the plane. Just don't. I don't care if your book is 800 pages and you just started it. You never know how long you're actually going to spend in airports. I know better, and yet I only brought one book on the plane that I finished in two hours. Always have back-up reading material, and delays and layovers become more manageable.
  • NEVER yell at the customer service agents. It's not their fault, and they're trying to help you. It's not like they said, "oh, whoever yells the loudest, we'll give her a first-class seat on the next flight out of here, even if we have to kick someone off!" No one says that. No one (who would?). Just be patient, and all will be resolved.
  • Finally, ALWAYS stay positive. After a previous bad flight experience this summer, I started this trip accepting the fact all might not go as planned. It makes things a lot easier to be ready to respond to sudden changes positively instead of getting frustrated. My boss and I managed to make it to our destination simply by being ready to jump around and not letting things we can't change get to us.

So those are the four major things I've taken from this rough-rider worthy experience. What flight woes have you endured, and what did you learn from them?


Below the Line

  • This post was written with a rough two-ish hours of sleep. Please forgive any proofreading errors/things that just plain don't make sense :)