london calling

This past week was my Spring Break from school and I spent most of it tidying up loose ends and looking for a condo (not successfully). All in all, not an exciting week considering that this time last year I was getting over my jet lag from London.

Last year that I had a longing to revisit my favorite city in all the world. After my first tiring and horrendous year of teaching, I was planning on going backpacking through Europe with a girlfriend of mine, but she backed out. Then, I thought I would spend a summer in London as a reward for getting through the fire, but I failed to ever find out how to rent a flat for a reasonable fee for a few months. So, two years later, after 9/11 and with a pending war in Iraq, I decided that I would go to London, by myself. There is a time when you realize waiting around for other people isn't worth it.

Luckily, British Airways had cheap tickets and AAA travel helped secure a great cheap hotel and off I went. My family was not pleased AT ALL. My brothers were convinced I would be blown up mid flight, my mother thought I would be killed on the streets, but I (and my therapist) thought why live in fear? I almost backed out though, because at the time the war in Iraq was only a month old and I did get scared. But I knew I had to get through the bit of fear for many reasons. So, here is what got my on the plane; I thought, sure I can stay here and be safe and not take the risk and it will drive me crazy because the plane on which I have a reservation will be flying with or without me so I can be on it and be in London or sit here for a week and wish that I had gotten on it, because after all the worrying it didn't blow up. So, I got on the plane and I loved every minute of it.

It was wonderful and fabulous and there are not enough cliched things to say. I saw 4 West End shows and revisited my favorite spots and went to museums and shopped and loved it. A good many people think that it was ballsy of me to go and to go alone. I've never had that feeling about that trip. My parents instilled great traveling skills in me and traveling just feels like breathing sometimes. I love it and I must do it. I think I am my best self when I am traveling. I'm an easy traveler. I don't stress about what the day will bring or getting through an itinerary because the best things happen when you don't plan. There are too many stories to back up that statement, but the places and cities at the moment should be the tour guides, not a piece of paper or a set schedule.

I missed the traveling this break. I had planned to treat Richmond as if I were a tourist this week and go to the historical places and museums that I've been meaning to go to, but the week slipped away from me and now I have a paper due. Sometimes, the real world is not quite a nice as the magical, mystical, travel filled one inside my head. Oh well, there are always books to take me there.

I'm currently (and just now) reading CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET by Sophie Kinsella, a British novelist. I bought the book last year in Harrods of all places because I knew that it was not in the US yet and I enjoy her books. They are the mindless Chick Lit type that a girl just needs sometimes (don't worry I also bought some Seamus Heaney). So, I hadn't read it until now because I've been trying to read a little more high-brow (though not much more- maybe just a brow lift). So, I got it out the other night and read a few chapters each day. Then, in B&N the other day I saw it is out in hardback as a new release. Funny, how it's not new to me at all and yet it is new, now.

Last year I took Kinsella's book SHOPOHOLIC TIES THE KNOT to London as I had just begun to read it before the trip. It's about a girl who loves to shop (obviously) who is British, but lives in NYC, but goes back to England to get married (again, obvious). I would take it on the Tube to read between stops because I also feel that when traveling, you don't need to always act like a tourist (do what the locals do, read on the Tube). So, I was on the Circle line train going to Leicester Square by way of Embankment reading and reading and being nonchalant. The funny thing is that I was reading about the main character visiting her friend in London and going out for tea in Sloane Square when the train stopped and the doors opened and I heard the announcement of Sloane Square station. Sometimes, the universe just aligns. And, no, I don't believe in that crap, but sometimes... Sloane Square and Sloane Square meet and I just can't compete.

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