As I wait at the Dublin airport to make my first journey home since moving to London, I believe this is a fitting time as ever to actually log my adventures over the last 80 days.
My journey began in mid-June, the beginning of a heat-wave in America AND 30 days of rain in London. Coming from winter and spring in Chicago (very grey and bleak) to 30 days of straight rain tested my sanity to its limits. Add on top of that the stress of a newly budding live-in relationship, a practical quarantine from the general public as I am bound to my computer and new home for 9 hours a day at my current position, and EXTREME culture shock. But what is a girl to do when she has fallen in-love with a Brit and is basically living out a fairy tale?
Some great things happened in those first 30 days, adjustments were made, comedy shows were seen, fights were had, life goals were discussed, more arguments ensued, and I truly became uncertain off my ability to fit in with the London way of life. And then, just as I began to really doubt this dark and gloomy place that some people deem the greatest city in the world, the clouds broke.
I remember it well, this first time I saw the sun truly shine in England. I was at the Secret Garden Party music festival, which had become a sea of mud as the first 2 days were rained out (just like the previous 28 days). The first night my Wellies were stolen from a Shisha place that we took solace from the rain in; it was required that you take your boots off and, because everyone’s boots basically look the same under 2inches of drying mud, mine were (presumably) taken by accident. I stood in the Shisha place, confused as what to do, with my new friend Katy acting as the devil on my shoulder, urging me to take another pair. Obviously this would just cause a chain of missing boots for the remaining girls at the Shisha place, so I stood there, feeling helpless, unsure of what my next step should be (literally).
And then, like a British Knight in a shining raincoat, my Dudu appears, new Wellies in hand! We had a great time the rest of that weekend, the mud building our thighs and testing the entire groups ability to work as a team. I was especially helpless as the new boots were slightly big and left me nearly incapable of traveling in the ever-thickening mud. But, with two men on either side hoisting me up, we were all able to maneuver around the festival at slightly faster than a snail’s pace, enjoy some tunes, and even get some dancing in!
It was Saturday, the third day into the festival that the clouds finally broke. The festival was still covered in mud, but we were able to actually sit in the sun and dance without the fear of falling over (your feet still stuck in the mud) at the venues that had the sense to put down straw. That night I enjoyed the most amazing fireworks display, synchronized with a mash-up that ended with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and accompanied by a line of fire-lit baton twirlers surrounding the lake in which the show was held. At the end, the structure in the middle of the lake was set ablaze. Truly, the most visually stimulating night I’ve had as of yet.
The next 50 days were mostly blissful. David and I continued to learn to be adults in a romantic relationship cohabiting the same space, which is a difficult task, but with every passing day our relationship grew stronger and harmonious coexistence began to emerge. I think David and I became more active during this time, at least it felt like it. We went to see the AMAZING Derren Brown (I love you, Derren!) perform in downtown London in his new show, Svengali. I have promised not to share any of the details from the show (or was I hypnotized not to?) but I guarantee, worth it! It’s just a great show – interactive, engaging, and humorous. David and I attended 1 fencing course, which burned our thighs enough to keep us away from the art of sword fighting for a while, dined at delicious eateries such as Gaucho’s Steak House, checked out the Inside-Out exhibit at the amazing London Natural History Museum and enjoyed some beautiful afternoons at the Hampstead Heath.
But definitely one of the most memorable experiences was at the Standon Calling music festival. Just a week after Secret Garden Party we were informed that one of David’s friends, Beardy Man, who turns out to be an international superstar for his live beat boxing performances, was headlining at a music festival and he wanted as many friends to come and dance on stage for him. David’s friends had danced on stage previously with Beardy Man and had made Muppet costumes of Beaker and Bunsen for the performance. The Muppet presence grew, as David and I scrambled to make paper mache masks of Animal and Kermit in just 5 days.
With the masks completed, we headed to the festival and experienced VIP treatment (for a festival, which basically means there was TP in the bathroom). Beardy Man’s performance was about an hour and a half in front of approximately 3,000 people. It was amazingly fun, though there are some definite improvements that need to be made to the mask (like being able to breath and see). After the show, we had a great night of shenanigans, lasting us till the break of dawn.
That brings us about up to speed. I am happy to be seeing everyone, but will miss the new friends and life I have begun to build, and especially my love J. But in three weeks I will get to return to a new home in London (we’re moving flats) and, as I learned from Hannah Montana years ago, get the best of both worlds! Yeehaw!
PS. 4 hours and counting on my delayed flight. Thanks, Aer Lingus!