Friday, March 11, 2011


So my awesomely creative housemate Rose has to write this 2000 word easy or story or something for her an art project (she’s a fine art major), and she decided to ‘write’ it by using other people’s cut out, handwritten words, pasting them together into her own original story. This means she needs a LOT of handwritten words, so I’ve been rewriting my random notes, compiling them in notebooks and then ripping up the original pages and giving them to Rose. This is something I wrote a few weeks ago on my way to London for the Save the Children conference, so I just thought I’d share. Why not right?

Traveling anywhere is a whole new experience without an ipod. I have experienced this before, but that was back when there was hope of getting a new one. This time is different, I’m broke. I’ve done the Oxford to London bus before without music, on those trips I had someone to talk to the whole way. It’s only an hour ride, hour and a half if there’s traffic, but still. Can’t read on a bus, what else am I supposed to do?

I can’t help but listen in on these two American girls talking a few seats behind me. Shoot me if I ever sound like that. “Like this and like that and oh my god like like like.” They are saying extremely generic things about traveling. It’s basically the same conversation Nicole and I had when we went to Wales, about who would pay for what, hostels, busses and planes. I wonder if Nicole and I sounded as annoying as these girls. I like to think that we don’t talk in clichés (“It will be such a good experience, like once in a lifetime!”), but then again, you never know what you sound like to other people. I’m just being mean (as per usual), I’m sure they are perfectly lovely girls, I’m just jealous that they are about to go somewhere new and I’m going somewhere I’ve been a million times. But then again, it’s London. I can’t get enough of London.

I’ve never lived in a big city, therefore there are no big cities I feel like I can really claim. As close to DC as I’ve lived my whole life, I know shamefully little about it. I’ve been there a ton, but never on my own, always following someone, depending on them to tell me what to do and where to go. However, I think I’m close to claiming London.

Every time I go I never have enough time. This is in a big way due to the fact that my Dear Friend Jen (yes that is capital worthy) lives there and I never want to leave her. But this is also because I love London. It’s gigantic, there is always something gone on, it’s beautiful, it’s old, it’s exciting. Transportation is incredibly easy, except on weekends. Even then it’s not bad. Last night I looked up which tube stops would be shut down, saw there were issues at Victoria where I usually get off and that the stop I was going to was closed, and found another way to get there. It came down to changing at one stop rather than going straight there, which was no problem at all. Streets and tubes are clearly marked, the streets are clean and there are statues abound (I don’t think that’s how you use that word, but I’m going to anyway); the perfect city for me.

Well, as far as big cities go anyway. I don’t think I’m a big city girl myself, more of a small city with easy access to countryside kinda chick. I’ve only ever lived in Lovettsville (the tiniest place on earth), Morgantown, (college town central, town being the key word) and now Oxford (the spires are taller than the city is wide). I have loved all of these places for different reasons, but one unifying factor is that they are all the perfect size, big enough that you don’t get bored, (well, aside from Lovettsville, but at least we had each other), but small enough that I never get overwhelmed. Big cities usually do this to me, the hustle and bustle scaring any fleeting sense of direction right out of my already scatter-brained mind, usually resulting in me getting respectably lost. But London and I, we have an understanding. I don’t littler in its streets (not that I’d do that anywhere) and it leaves me alone. That’s really all I can ask for in a city, mutual respect and understanding. This goes for people as well. If only people could be more like London, the world would be a…well not better place, but whatever. You know what I’m trying to say.

Now I’m not saying that London is heaven on earth or anything. It’s bloody expensive to live there or even visit (aw, look at her trying to sound British, how quaint), traffic’s mad crazy and you can never find a trash can when you need one (my pockets are full of wrappers right now), but you get that anywhere.

Other cities I’ve loved include Wellington, New Zealand, Boston, MA, Rome, and I really do love DC. I loved Paris as well, but I need to go back. I remember the big things we saw, but hardly anything about the atmosphere. Cities I need to see still, Berlin, Istanbul, Lisbon, Cairo, Chicago, LA (more of it anyway, and the list goes ever on and on.

And then I had to go to the conference, and it was great. If you missed it, you can read about it HERE.

Alright, it’s sunny so I should probably go outside. Don’t get used to this blogging every day thing, I swear it’s not going to last.



Kerry said...

omigosh...I adored London...the people...the food...the stunning architecture...everything! Have you been to Hampton Court yet? I swear you can still feel Henry the 8th and Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard all over the place...and there is a series of locks on the Thames right near the Palace called the Lambeth Locks...we sat there with cheese, fresh bread and bottles of stout and watched the boats change from the lower to the higher water levels...I'd be in London in a heart-beat (I also lived in Boston and love that too..San Francisco is another Big Town worth loving...)

Tanner said...

If you're stateside in May, I can give you an excuse to go to Chicago.

Kelsey Austin Threatte said...

you're so cool baria.
My ipod died while I was running and I must agree with you it completely changes the experience. I felt so awkward and tired. I literally had to stop for a bit just to gather myself and acknowledge the fact that I was going to be running without music. It's the same for transport... music is so necessary. I have a deal with one of my students, which I feel like will work well for you: get an A in your english class and you get an ipod shuffle and some chinese food! The offer is on the table. Enjoy your grand adventure, but come home. I need real people.