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Sunny London (Part 3)


Because clearly I couldn’t be fussed to write part 3 of my arrival to London, and because I’ve been here for 2 months now without having finished my blog about arriving here, I’m going to simply cut and paste three emails I sent to friends shortly after my arrival and then I’ll get on with the business of actually writing a proper update about school and life and the like.

Email #1:

So – day 3 in London and things are starting to normalize a bit. I’m sitting here, still, next to overflowing suitcases in The Girl’s living room (Correction: *our* living room. Still getting used to that!) as I haven’t yet worked up the energy to drag these last two upstairs. In my defense, I’ve been busy viewing random historical sites at the behest of my nerdy-awesome girlfriend – who was equally as driven by her desire to make the most of her weekend car rental as she was to wow me with UK history. I have learned, thus far, that the Salisbury family line were not an attractive lot and that the ye olde public toilets rarely have toilet paper. Oh, and that toilet paper is called Loo Roll. Oh, and that there’s usually a cafe with cake waiting at the end of being dragged through something educational whilst jetlagged. 😉

Funny story – I had to use the “loo” and we stopped at a petrol (gas) station. Before I went in I asked “Do I ask for a restroom? or bathroom? or?” and The Girl said “Ask for the loo or the toilet.” Of course I wasn’t going to say TOILET — Who says TOILET?!?! Feeling excited to make use of my new UK slang, I walked up to the counter and asked “Do you have a loo?” However, the man behind the counter didn’t speak much english and, confused by my accent, furrowed his brows and repeated “Dyahavvaloo?” I said “No, no… DO YOU HAVE A LOO.” – careful to enunciate each word (though I didn’t speak louder – a fact of which I am proud.) He repeated back “DYAHAVVALOO?” At which point, my spirits were dampened and I simply said “Toilet???” At which point he rolled his eyes and pointed to the clearly marked Toilet sign directly to the left of him. *sigh* Tourist Fail. At the pub later that night, I was informed that I should ask for the “Shit hole” next time. Somehow I don’t trust that advice. 😉

Email #2

As for me and my horse, it seems we are being fully domesticated. This weekend is a trip to IKEA so that I can begin inserting myself into all available corners of The Girl’s bachelor existence. I have been informed that I get to pick the colors for the walls in the office. I’m planning on being ridiculous about it. Tonight we made muffins. The joy at finally getting to do such a mundane deed together resulted in The Girl’s spontaneous composition–“The Muffin Song”–which went something like this:

Ohhh, we made muffins.
Muffins in the eveniiiiing.
And then we kiiiiissed.

Had a bit of a Dusty Springfield vibe to it, I’d say.

Email #3

Here’s some of what I’ve learned about London so far:

1) “Just around the corner” translates into at least a half-mile’s walk and “a bit of a walk” means at least 1.5. By virtue of this, I’m getting to see a lot of London on foot. Exploring a city with your tootsies and/or on public transit is a really different thing. You’re forced to interact with all your senses as well as with your heart and mind. Today I was told stories of road trips in the US, the names of humdrum familiar states and cities dripping like jewels off the tongues of bright-eyed adventurers. Yesterday, a woman asked me “Why would you come *here!?*” I said “To London? Or to Hackney?” She said “Both!” I said “Because it’s something I don’t know yet.” That seemed to satisfy her. Little conversations. Little connections. None of which I’d have if I weren’t waddling around on foot.

2) That said, probably best to make a slower transition from a sedentary driving lifestyle to a “OMGLONDON!!!” walking lifestyle, as my torn calf muscle can attest to. Live. Learn. Cuss a bit. Move on.

3) Don’t listen to the people who tell you not to smile at people in passing. Maybe don’t make lingering eye contact, creepypants – but it’s OK to smile. I don’t feel obligated to ingratiate myself but I’m having an adventure, so often I’m smiling when I’m out and about. Last week I was randomly offered a cookie by a shop owner who was eating one behind the counter. Clearly I’m doing something right if people are giving me cookies. COOKIES!

4) They really like the word cock here. I’m not kidding. There’s Cock-A-Leekie Soup. There’s just plain old Cock Soup. There’s “The Famous Cock” which is a pub. There’s Cockfosters, which is a borough. And I’m sure that’s not the half of it.

5) Everything is CUTE here. Jesus. Cobbled streets, twinkly lights, shiny red double-deckers, old ornate pubs, smooshed-together brick houses and fruit and veg markets on every corner. Really, London. Get it together. You’re a postcard of yourself.

Btw, as can be contested to by our current houseguest, you should totally come visit.

Love love love,

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