London has been our temporary home this summer, and even though I have the first flutterings of homesickness for dear old Virginia, I will miss the joys of this great, sprawling city.
- All of the glorious, beautifully maintained public parks. Really. I don’t think any city wins at the park game as much as London does.
- Pubs and pub culture
- Well-behaved off-leash dogs everywhere
- Tea! It’s ubiquitous and well made and consumed on a near-constant basis. Unlike in Virginia, I don’t have to explain to anyone what I want when I order tea.
- Walking everywhere, the preservation of walking culture, the delineation of trails and country paths
- Preservation of history, architecture, and art throughout the city
- Endless variety of things to do, see, and eat
- Every imaginable international cuisine right at your doorstep (or, at least, an hour’s walk away)
- The friends we’ve made (and reunited with) here
Things I won’t miss about London/the English way of life
- Fish & chips. So overrated.
- Sweltering daily rides on the Tube
- Having to ride the Tube every day in general. (Although I vastly prefer it to the NY subway system! So much cleaner and quieter and more reliable)
- Feeling like you are breathing in black clouds of toxins every day on the street. I am eager for that clean Blue Ridge mountain air.
- The weather! (We had a gorgeous sunny, 80-degree day in Wield; then the next day, it was misty and rainy, and the Brits we were with literally walked out the door into the cold fog and said, “Oh, thank God, the weather is back to normal.” They’re insane.)
- Walking behind people who are smoking and being unable to pass them
- Slow walkers
- How outrageously expensive everything is (we can’t really complain, compared with actual Londoners, but it still was shocking)
Guion and I have been talking about London customs we want to adopt in our life when we get back to Charlottesville. For instance, we realized that we are really lazy about walking places. We live very centrally to many things, and yet we’ll choose to drive instead of walk 45 minutes. A 45-minute walk in London is no big deal. Other aspects to adopt: taking advantage of all of the hikes and parks around us; training the dogs to behave themselves better in public; and acting like tourists in our own city (e.g., we have lived in Charlottesville for six years and have still never been to Monticello. I know).
London, you’ve been grand. We hope to come see you again soon.
Up next: A week in Paris. And then home!