Monday, May 1, 2017

Bye-bye, London

I didn’t realize how sad I’d feel leaving until hearing from my friend, Alyse. She’s just arrived in London from Alaska, and I shared some “must do’s.” She’s doing all of them, and I realize: she has it all in front of her.

So when I spent a lovely day in Richmond Park yesterday with Gene and Jay, we had to say goodbye. They saved me from loneliness here in London, and it was SO GOOD to have day-long conversations – and even texts! – with them. Later on today, I’ll say goodbye to Lynel, who gave me homeyness to relax in over dinner and conversation. We’ll meet at Jaffa Bake House, where I’ve already stocked up on manakeesh to bring back to Alaska.

I’ve run my last run through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Yes, I still get hopelessly lost. Between diagonal paths and my innate sense of misdirection, I tend to crisscross the parks and double my mileage, but how else would I discover Reformers’ Tree (or where it used to be) or Peter Pan? And yet, there are still undiscovered corners.

I got here with exactly 50.0 pounds of luggage, and I’ve added three books. When I met the author of the Cityread London book, Prophecy, she explained that the next in the series aren’t available in the U.S., so what was I going to do? Leave behind the one she signed for me?

So now I’m trying to decide whether the Costco bags of my pumpkin flax cereal and raisins, which I brought here and consumed, equal the weight of three books (and six manakeesh). I wish I hadn’t brought the never-used heavy coat and raincoat, but maybe having them allowed for the great weather I had.
Mostly, I have to decide which of the memorabilia is crucial and which will only qualify as clutter in a couple of months.

London phone number 077 1966 1868 will expire and move on to someone new. I will not get to do Aly Mir’s free walking tour of “Suffragette City” out of Holborn on May 12. Not “Learning to Look” on May 6 at the National Gallery, either.

This is the third of my longer-term stays in other places. After Costa Rica and New York, I had the same feeling I do now: that I was leaving some life behind. I’d managed to carve a little space for myself – my bus routes, my favorite places, my running route, my less expensive grocery store – and then I let it go.

I’m going back to a special dinner, two luncheons, a workshop, and my Friday morning women. I’m going back to Transformed Treasures, the Thursday morning group, my bricolage group, and David Sedaris.

Mostly and happily, I’m going back to Tim.

I’m going back to our own bed, the couch in the living room, cars that drive on the right side of the road, and being around Alaskan Americans. I’m still reflecting on this whole experience and what I take from it for my Third Third, but I’ll write about that later.

Right now, it’s London that I’m leaving and I feel sad.


  1. Barbara, we had good times in London with you. So rich to be, to talk, to walk, with a friend from the old country once again! and Richmond park azaleas were stunning yesterday. As delightful to walk through such riotous colours as it was to discover them.

    Please give our very best to friends back in Alaska.

    Go well

    Jay + Gene (and da brz, of course)

  2. Anxious to hear your tales. Friday morning at my house this week.
    Welcome home. ����‍♂️

  3. I've enjoyed your trip, too. 😉


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