Why did I ever leave London?  I never should have gotten on that plane home two years ago, and I definitely shouldn’t have gotten on it last week after I went to collect my short-term visa (thank god–I can now stay in the country for at least the next 90 days.  After that, we’ll see…)  I should have just stayed there and hidden–there HPIM2197must be illegal immigrants in London, right?  Because if I had stayed there, I could have worked toward my eventual dream of owning this house in Notting Hill.

Did I mention that I miss London?  There are so many things about it that I love.  I love walking on the South Bank when it’s windy and gray and you have to wonder why there are so many people that aren’t at work, and instead are strolling or jogging by the river.  I love the vintage stores and restaurants in Notting Hill, and all of the beautiful, colorful houses along the quiet streets there.  And I love the Hummingbird Bakery, where I had a coffee-walnut cupcake.  Even though Books for Cooks was closed, spending a few hours in Notting Hill was like a shot in the arm, and I remembered why I love big cities so much.

I like Prague, but being in London and having the luxury of eavesdropping on other people’s conversations is something I didn’t even realize that I missed until it suddenly confronted me again.  I stopped wearing my headphones just so that I could hear what was going on around me.  I spent part of the morning in the Tate Modern, something that I didn’t appreciate nearly enough when I was living there.  Free museums–not such a common thing in Prague.  Actually, museums period aren’t such a common thing here, except for the Museum of Torture Instruments that I pass every morning on my way to work.  HPIM2195

London also has my favorite graffiti, including this new gem.  For anyone who is having a hard time reading this, it says: “Darling Hugh Laurie, if you are reading this–Tayler loves you.”  This was found, by the way, written on the door of a bathroom stall in the Tate Modern.  I think it was Amanda who said last year, when we were discussing House, “Who doesn’t love Hugh Laurie?”  I don’t know, certainly not me, and obviously not Tayler either.

I’m enjoying my time here, and I appreciate it and value it and know that I would have regretted not coming, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a part of me that looks forward to understanding what goes on around me again, and misses the opportunities that a larger city brings.  What’s strange, though, is that I never (well, almost never) felt this in Grinnell.  I guess it’s a good thing I’m coming home for Christmas–it gives me a way to break up the solid wall of Czech (which I’m still not any better at, unfortunately.  Although I did learn “dobry pes”–good dog.)

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