the moveable feasts

London

with 10 comments

west kensington

This blog is seemingly turning into a mediocre, wanna-be travel blog at best and a futile lifestyle blog at worst—something I have been dreading but am too lazy to actually do anything about. After all, I have parents, guys! They’re always impressed and/or interested in my life whether I actually have something to talk about or not! One day, I’ll re-focus this blog again to focus almost exclusively on food. One day.

But in the meantime, while it’s rainy outside I might as well channel thoughts of London and throw out some thoughts to you about the weekend trip I spent there.

London seemed very imperfect to me, or at least much more imperfect than Paris. People come to Paris and complain about the smell of urine in the metros or how it’s much “dirtier” than they expected, but to me Paris sometimes feels like the inside of some chic dollhouse. Things run on an unchanging rhythm here—the thin women in black on their way to work, the shops closed down on Sundays, the aperitifs and salted snacks at certain hours on certain days. There’s unspoken rules to every society (or god, at least the good ones), but Paris is very particular about theirs, especially when they’re not followed.

But of course all of this is coming from an outsider, someone who admires that Parisian rhythm very much but will never really be a part of it. And of course this is all a roundabout way to say that, from my brief and shallow impression (sometimes that’s all you’ve got/need?), London is disordered and aggressive and open in a way that I felt very comfortable and happy with. I liked it there, a lot.

As I sat on a sun-soaked section of the carpet floor in the living room of the West Kensington house my host family rented for the weekend, lazily scanning the pages of a cookbook and surrounded by bookshelves filled with English books, I did have to admit that I had more of the feeling of home than I’ve ever had in France. For pretty much the entire year, I wake up in my small studio in Paris with the feeling that I’m somewhere else—and I don’t mean to sound corny or pseudo-science-y. I seriously just wake up every morning and in my bleary half-awake state have to remind myself that I am in my studio, in Paris. This is not “my” city.

In any case I was very happy with that small trip to London for a lot of reasons, even with the unpleasant drawbacks (um, having to tour the city with 4 kids ranging between the ages of 2 and 9 during the day and then babysitting them at night). But mainly because it made me feel very self-assured with the fact that I’ve got a ticket out of Paris a little over a month from now. Hey, future, you’ll be alright

from the top of tate modern
trooping the colour
really cool
outside museum of natural history for my dad our street
westminister area, big ben
from my window

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Written by Amy

June 10, 2014 at 4:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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10 Responses

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  1. Food will always be there, but you won’t always be in London or Paris so keep the thoughts coming! I can relate to the fleeting feelings of home and actually still, four years later, call two places home – we are “home” in the States now, but we’ll fly “home” to Zurich in a couple weeks. It’s a funny, in-between feeling. If nothing else absence makes the heart grow fonder – in both cases and for both homes – so enjoy calling Paris home for a month or so more.

    talley

    June 10, 2014 at 5:35 am

    • Yeah I really liked your post about home from a couple weeks back — I was going to comment but then I think I didn’t want to even try to compare my own experience of a displaced “home” to yours since yours seems much more decidedly split (from what it sounds like, it all gets much more serious when you add a baby to the picture).

      But you’re right — I already know I’ll miss Paris. I joke that the only worse than leaving Paris is staying in Paris, haha. Can never have it all, I guess

      Amy

      June 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

  2. I love reading your blog, regardless of the direction it takes. I’m (selfishly) excited for your return to the states as I’ve really really missed you and your mussings. X

    Rachel

    June 10, 2014 at 7:54 am

  3. Speaking as a parent-type (aunts count) I love that you share you feelings and experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I love the pictures!

    Aunt Lindy

    June 10, 2014 at 9:32 am

    • Aw thanks Aunt Lindy. Also for what it’s worth, I truly believe that I’m never more at home than when I’m in Solvang and Santa Barbara. I hope I can go there and see you soon!

      Amy

      June 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

  4. I love London for similar reasons. It just feels so right. Also, am happy to read whatever you post! So do your thing.

    hungryandfrozen

    June 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

  5. Top post. I find it curious your feeling of “home” in London after being in Paris so long — I feel I had a near-identical experience when I was in Rome. After three months there I always felt on the outside, finally feeling at home within hours after getting into Paris. Now looking back all that resonates though is the Roman attitude and lifestyle, and I feel now that I’d do better there in the end. It might just be your subconscious dying for some relief to the strangeness(-but-homeness) that actually is Paris. Time will tell, though.

    Lindsey

    June 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

  6. Do you think that your feelings of home [or lack thereof] in Paris would change under different circumstances [different job, longer time frame, etc?]

    I didn’t love London, but I didn’t love Paris either. I want to go back to both purely to view it in this new set of circumstances [older, not my first trip to Europe, not traveling with the most obnoxious people on the planet...]. Barcelona reminded me a little bit of Paris, but it’s from memories I have of it from 8 years ago. I loved Barcelona, so it only further cements my desire to go back someday.

    Michelle

    June 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    • Interesting, I view Barcelona and Paris so differently in my head. It’s funny how we group and ungroup places together. And I think the biggest thing that would maybe make Paris feel more at home is the language – if I really, really became fluent, which would take at least a couple years. I can get around in French, but I feel like I can’t connect. I’ve thought about language a lot, and at least for me, I think more and more that language is the key to a culture and truly understanding/discovering it. Just a shame it takes so long to learn to speak them. -___-

      Amy

      June 16, 2014 at 2:25 am

      • Yes! I totally agree!! The language totally turned me off of Paris. It turns me off of most places just because I feel like a jerk wanting [needing?] to speak English all the time. Even if I can get by [my Spanish is passable], I know I’m not getting the entire picture just speaking English. I would finally muster up the courage to speak Spanish in Madrid and the barista would just respond to me in English. Helpful…

        That said, I’m still totally practicing Spanish on Duolingo almost everyday. I’m like the little engine that could.

        Michelle

        June 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm


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