Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...And now, for something completely different

I have been really bad at updating this journal as of late, and it is not for wont of material. Mostly, I get caught up in my 9-5 (or, 7-7) routine and never finish the journal entries I start. But last week, my friend and I were discussing travelling to London and I decided that there would be no better way to exercise my weakening writing muscles than through a few travel-related entries.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I absolutely love Paris. Surprisingly, I don't visit Paris as often as one would imagine, especially given the amount of black and white photos of Paris I have in my posession. The city I go back to when I have any extra money in my savings account? London.

London and I have had a difficult relationship. I first visited Paris at 14, and it lived up to all my starry-eyed dreams of romantic, cobble stoned streets lit by gothic lampposts and the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower. So when I first visited London (at 21, mind you), I fully expected to live out "Love Actually" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." Instead, I nearly got hit by cabs (several times, once while taking a picture of a sidewalk sign directing you to "look left" before crossing the street), ate an insane amount of Chicken Tikka Masala, hung out with Germans and was followed through a park by a pickpocket. I left London slightly disappointed that I hadn't found my own Mark Darcy and that I rarely ever heard English, let alone English spoken by English people, on the Tube. What I learned during subsequent visits, however, was that all of the experiences I had in London were indeed genuine London experiences. London didn't meet my expectations because London isn't just one thing; it is red telephone boxes, but it is also curries in Brick Lane. It's hearing a lot of Italian on the Tube, but going into a pub and hearing someone speak with such a thick Scottish brogue that you have no idea what they're saying.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing entries about specific London (or southern England) adventures I took that helped me find my second home.

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