Tag Archives: london

London Musings Vol. III: On not mixing well.

You know that saying about oil and water?  It’s true.  Put them in a covered jar and shake.  The oil will separate.  It will find itself again.  It will not get lost in the water.  It will not drown.  It will rise up.

Allow me to ramble a bit.

I needed a bathing suit.

Firstly, I realize this is weird – it’s not April, it’s September.  But I’ve decided to give up jogging for the winter and start swimming because Le Puy has this beautiful new public swimming pool and because I have a terrible phobia of running once the ground’s gone icy owing to that injury I wrote about in my last post.  Still with me?  Good.

So I needed a bathing suit.  The problem of course, is that it’s late September in London and finding a bathing suit swimming costume is not an easy endeavor by any stretch of the imagination.  Off to Oxford Circus I went.

For anyone unfamiliar with London Town, let me explain:  Oxford Circus is the shopoholic’s equivalent of a highway underpass.  That is to say, it’s where they go to get high.  There are approximately one million shops along this street, from Bangladeshi sari shops to High Street chain stores to haute couture.  One can buy Swarovski crystals or sweatshop-produced luggage or perfume or a cheap dress or a very expensive one, indeed.  It is also home to a very large Marks & Spencers, from whence I sought to find a suit – which I did.

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London Musings Vol. II: If you’re S.A.D. and you know it, get up off your bum and get outdoors.

The weather in London has been, frankly, lovely.  In fact, I’m certain that anybody who lives here would stick their tongues out at us, since the past summer was by all accounts beyond tragic.  Still, in spite of the fact that the sun has made at least a fleeting appearance on virtually every day since we arrived, there are only too many reminders that summer is making its way steadily toward the exit, sheepishly in these parts, perhaps all too aware of its less-than-impressive performance this year.

I love the sun.  Lovelovelove it.  I think I knew I had Seasonal Affective Disorder before the seasons ever had the chance to affect me in a negative way.  Barefoot has always been my fashion statement.  I never feel more radiant than when my hair is streaked with blonde and my shoulders are peeling just a little from forgetting to put on sunscreen a couple of days ago (I’m getting better).  When the days are longer and hotter, I feel solidly more optimistic about all of it.  Future, present and past just all seem more the way they should when one can go outdoors after dark in nothing more than flipflops, shorts and a tanktop.

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London Musings Vol. I: (Mostly) For Vegans

I am officially on day 7 of my 14 day stint in London and these three things are true:

  • I’ve gotten a fraction of what I’d have liked done in terms of work;
  • It’s been profoundly emotive and emotional;
  • I’ve been solidifying all sorts of theories I had about why me and London weren’t best mates when I called it home.

I won’t bore you with the details of any of these…just thought you might like to know.  What I will do, however, is preach a little bit about proper vegan nutrition – something I’ve only recently wrapped my head around and something too few people – from die-hard omnivores to sworn vegans – properly appreciate.

Anybody who knows me (or reads me) knows that I’m not too keen on preaching about being vegan.  It’s something that’s very dear to me in terms of my life decisions, but I’m also well aware that people don’t like being told what to eat or how to eat it, and ranting about it is about as likely to get someone on one’s side as beating them over the head with a butternut squash.

What I’m struggling increasingly to keep quiet about is how vegans too often eat because:

  1. They personally don’t understand how important nutrition is;
  2. They trip over themselves incessantly in an effort to appease omnivores; or
  3. They fall victim to a lack of available foodstuffs that can keep them healthy.

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The weight of the weather upon us

For most of the time I lived in London, I worked in hostels with young people.  All of them were without a fixed address for some reason or another when they came to us.  Some were fleeing violence in their countries of origin, trying to get their status fixed as refugees and asylum-seekers.  Some were just coming out of prison, or had just come from care homes (modern-day orphanages for the bigger kids).  Some had been rough sleeping, or spending a few days on one couch and a week on another, carrying everything they owned in a backpack now tearing at its seams.  As I’ve written before, it’s never not complicated.

At any rate, there we were, staff and young people, under one roof, which was now some sort of abode.  For some of them, I know it was terrible.  For others, I think it might have been the safest place they’d ever laid their heads at night.  Everybody’s experience is different.  And all of them were different from one another.  There were young men and young women.  There were people of all ethnic backgrounds, all religions.  And while they all fell into one age category (16-25), let me tell you:  there’s a mighty big difference between 16 and 25.  About the only thing they had in common was that life had gotten really hard, really early on.

But for all the many differences among the young people living there, there were two more things they shared:  the roof over their head, and their postal code.  That last one meant a lot of things, but for purposes of this post, it meant that they shared something that affects us all so profoundly:  weather.

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London Calling…I’ll get it.

It has been almost exactly two years since we left London.  Well – since Chris left London, and since Ann ran for her life.

While Chris and I are very much a unit, we are not always united.  We come from vastly different molds, he and I.  Like most moderately successful couples, we’re very much on par about the things that are important to us – the deal breakers – and we make lots of room for respecting our respective remaining and widely ranging opinions on the world around us.  London is one of those things in the world on which our opinions diverge.

Chris’ take on London falls in line with what I’ve come to accept is the reigning opinion of almost everyone alive:  London is vibrant, beautiful, electric, alive!  I don’t disagree with any of those things.  I just had a tough run…owing to me, to others, to circumstances…but mostly – as it is so often in this sometimes-humiliating life – to me.

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