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.

Resultantly, it’s not a place with which I’m entirely at peace.  To date I haven’t yet yearned to go back, to walk its streets, to eat its chips and curry or drink its cider.  I miss some extraordinary people I came to love there something awful, though, and it is for that reason that I am positively thrilled that Chris’ clients are giving me the opportunity to accompany him for a  couple of weeks.

This means, however, that I’ve got some demons to address.  In five years there, I grew professionaly and I learned a lot (including that it is almost never cool when people imitate your accent.  And that apparently all U.S. Americans sound like we’ve got clothespins attached to our noses all the time).  I also met and grew to love the afore-mentioned extraordinary people.  But otherwise, I stagnated.  I got stuck.  I ceased becoming a better person.  I became bitter, fat, and anxious.  I liked me less than I have at perhaps any point in my life.  For anyone who knew me as a kid, that’s saying a lot.  It was rough.

Now that I’m going back – and I’m happy I’m going, mind you – I have to decide a few things.

Firstly, who’s in charge of my emotions – London or me?  For those five years I conceded and London owned me.  I think this time I’m going to take control.  It’s a limited stay, after all.

Secondly, owing to my limited time, I will not allow London to eat it for breakfast, dinner, tea and supper.  I will be selective about how I spend my time, and I will do as many things I never did (or not often enough) while living there as possible:  I will work from the British Library, I will visit museums, I will work from the library at the British Museum.  I will take walks and ascertain, once and for all, the subtle differences in the Victorian buildings that somehow allow millions of Londoners past and present to discern between the various streets.

And finally, I’ll implement this very important thing I’ve learned in the two years since I left:  life does happen to us sometimes, for better or worse.  But roughly just as often, we can rise above it.  London spent a long time laughing at my misery.  This time around I intend to put the kettle on and make us both a nice cuppa, even if it’s only for a short visit.

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0 thoughts on “London Calling…I’ll get it.

  1. Victor Halsig says:

    As we mature, I think we tend to have ups and downs because we are reevaluating our past, our inner selves, and all that other stuff that we may have shoved down in the past. When we are dealing with and thinking about the gnarley stuff I think we tend to somehow associate the bad feelings that all that evokes with the place we are at the moment. I know that I have sometimes been in (physical) places that now seem really negative and, when I am objective and logical, I cannot justify my negative perspective of those places. It all hinges upon where I was emotionally and developmentally at the time I was there. I suggest you think of it this way: London may be an entirely different (emotionally) place this time than it was the first. You may really have a lot of fun this time. Go with an open mind and try it out. Good luck there…

  2. Superb post. Can’t wait to see you in person!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really liked this, Ann… partly because you are so generous and loving about the people you met in London (which must include members of my family!).. but also because I share your misgivings about London, for different reasons. Despite being born and brought up there in 3JA, I’ve always had an odd feeling that I didn’t belong there, and now that there is no Ma there, don’t have any desire ever to be there. Funny eh? This is a good city though, despite its pretensions, its rain and its seedy underbelly.. come and check out Edinburgh xxxxxx

    • ann says:

      oh, i miss you!!! and that most certainly includes your family! i tell you, living with your ma was my favorite part of my time in that rainy city! and i would love to check out edinburgh – one of these days i’ll get there! so nice to see you here!

  4. I will admit that it was the London bit of it that caught my attention initially but I’ve always found returning to old homes a very evocative experience. I still miss London quite frequently and enjoy it a lot when I visit (everything save the tube on a Sunday). Please let me know when you are coming as I would love to visit with you – or you could come to Brighton?! Much love xxx

  5. Wanderlust23 says:

    I thought something was wrong with me when I didn’t like London right away. It took me a good 6 or so months before I stopped actively hating it. After that I was able to see the amazing things about it.

    Almost 4 years on and my like/dislike for the city still changes constantly. I try to focus on what the city has given me though, my partner, amazing travel opportunities, great friendships, and also allowed me to meet my dad’s side of the family.

    I’m fairly certain I will return to Canada, or at least go to another country for the longer term but I’ve recently gotten a new job and have a new outlook on the city again which is nice. For now it is enjoyable.

    • ann says:

      for sure – every person in every city in every country on the planet is having a different experience – positive, negative or indifferent, probably lost of ups and downs. the things that didn’t work for me about london probably had a lot more to do with who i am and the circumstances i encountered than with the city…alas, i can’t but associate the city with how i felt there…likewise i’m enamoured by manila and i find the military town of oceanside, california to be one of my favorite spots on the planet. go figure 😉

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