London. Finally, Gov!

I remember Chris always told me that London would inspire me so much it would change my life. Something he promised to every one of his students because we were theater majors and as far as I saw, that promise was kept. I think I could really use that inspiration and motivation in my career at this time. And after some financial and scheduling persistence by Caitlin and I, I’m luckily here now looking for it (and Nandos). 

And well it’s Day 1 and Chris was right. The city, the Universe, Chris, and Churchill himself have already delivered. Though I can’t give them all the credit. I mentioned to Caitlin on the plane that Chris’ wife Lisa had recommended to read through his blog for ideas of things to do, and tonight as we were going to bed Caitlin casually mentioned she read some of it during a bit of down time today and really enjoyed it. I loved that she immediately checked it out. How thoughtful and proactive. It inspired me and also made me a little ashamed at how little I had read of his writing on his blog over the years we were friends. Is this what it feels like when you realize someone is a better friend to you than you are to them!? But of course he was. He’s Chris. 

Perhaps I only read a couple posts because I thought I’d feel left out as I never quite could afford to go on the study abroad trips with him in those summers in college. Perhaps it’s because I liked hearing about it from him in person more. Perhaps I always thought we’d go one day later on after I’d made it big as a writer and make our own memories. I’m not sure. 

But hear me out! I read it now. The first day in London while we waited for the grumpiest Hotel manager to get our room ready and had some stupid good hummus and tea at a place called The Pickled Hen. And I think that’s exactly how it was supposed to happen. Not the nutso hummus but the timing. You see, I planned this trip by talking to some close friends who went with Chris on Study Abroad but also know me. So I made our plans (loose plans because you need rando hijinks), and now reading his blog it’s fun to see where we overlapped on things I want to do and things he did. As well as things I’d never had done in a million years (so many toy stores Chris). But that reminded me of the magic of being around Chris. The spectrum of interests. The depth of different passions. The ridiculous, the meticulous, and the metaphysicalousness. 

So we are here for a week. We fought jet lag, March UK weather and Caitlin’s thrown out back (Yes! She threw it out Tuesday went to Physical Therapy Thursday and is roughing it out here god bless her) to get out there today. We got a London Eye’s view of the city and some delicious Thai food after walking through Downing Street from Westminster Abbey. 

Lamb Shank Red Panang and Chicken Coconut Soup at Thai Square that you’d be drawn and quartered for.

The whole view of the city above the Thames filled us with wonder, including Big Ben (as cliched as it might be). We discussed how “Ben” and the whole view reminded you that some things in this world you just can’t translate no matter how hard you try. A million pictures of this modestly large gothic tower and ancient analog dial wouldn’t capture it. Now here physically, I feel this deep history. And witnessed the care and craftsmanship of it. And just took in this different kind of patriotism. And when after reading signs on the tube earlier that day urging any Ukrainian refugees to contact police as they may have been witness to war crimes, you find yourself next to a young Russian couple on the London Eye, gazing at the same thing in peaceful wonder, taking pictures for each other in front of it, smiling and thanking each other in your respective languages, you’re reminded there is something democratic that the Abbey accomplishes every day by just existing. Something hopeful. 

Happy to be here in the flesh Chris. Let’s get metaphysical. 

I like to get a lay of the land on Day 1. If you’re a wannabe Cartographer like me I highly recommend The Eye
Deal with it!