Do you ever have those days where you do so much it feels like 4 days wrapped into one? It’s hard to believe so much can happen in 24 hours. I woke up late and had another leisurely morning, waiting to get the courage to venture into the unknown – the heart of London. Where I’m staying currently is quite removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown, so it’s been a daunting idea to have to figure out my way to where I’m going. It’s honestly almost all psychological – it takes a huge mental effort actually getting out the door, bracing myself and meeting for the damp wind’s hug with arms huddled against my chest instead of welcomingly open. I was also moderately nervous about taking the tube all alone – but instead of envisioning fiascos of wrong turns and missed trains, I tried to imagine me doing everything right and arriving at my destination all in one piece, mentally and physically.
I was planning to meet my dear friend from home, Krista, who is staying in London just for a quick layover. I think she was more surprised than I was when I finally made it to her hotel – and quite easily in fact! We both had our fingers crossed as we both made our way to the lobby that we would both be in the right spot! Turns out I psyched myself out about getting there, but I now give myself more credit than I thought I deserve.
It felt amazing to share this experience and this location with someone so familiar and so dear. It was almost surreal, and it really did feel like it didn’t quite match that these two worlds were colliding. But having a friend was so rewarding and refreshing. It was her idea to go across the street to a beautiful church .. (I’m afraid I was about two steps away from a clothing store with jackets and sweaters calling my name) .. but I couldn’t be more glad for her second opinion. We found ourselves walking through the cloisters of St. Mary Abbott’s Church, and into a stunning interior with stained-glass windows galore. I remembered watching the video of how they were made in the William Morris museum, and it made them even more special. We sat and meditated for a while, enjoying the calm stillness and peaceful serenity. It was a nice haven from the swirling world outside.
We went on to have an ‘afternoon tea’ at Kensington Brasserie – a gorgeously decorated restaurant down the street. It was a respite from the cold and a nice way to catch up and discuss our sojourns. We had a thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and eventually lost track of time!
Off we went to Oxford Circus (with me feeling very proud of being the chief navigator) to meet my uncle for dinner! I handed over the reins to him, as he led us down the back streets of Soho and Chinatown, offering wonderful tidbits of knowledge along the way. We ended up at a tiny little Chinese restaurant, had a yummy dinner of soup to warm us up, and then headed back home to cozy in.
It feels like this morning was a million miles away .. and getting ever further as the time gets later. But in the end today was another marvelous experience in Londontown, I’m glad I got to see more of the heart of the city and really feel its rhythm. I’m excited to join the dance and march to the beat as I begin to find my own way.