With Christmas just over a week away and this being the first Christmas I will spend away from my family, I feel like I should write a bit about the holiday season in London.
The first outdoor decorations I noticed were some massive lights on Regent Street. At first I mistook them for larger-than-life atomic models, but then I realized that they were supposed to be giant 3D snowflakes.
Today my boyfriend and I ventured up to Golders Green, the neighborhood just north of Hampstead. A friend of ours recommended it as a great place to get yummy Jewish food, so we were pretty excited. A short walk down Golders Green Road had us salivating. We ended up at a place called Milk N’ Honey, where our delicious Jerusalem Toast consisted of cheese and boiled egg sandwiched between two halves of a bagel, grilled to perfection. I left feeling wonderfully stuffed from the food at this lovely restaurant in London.
Last night was the first night in the new place, and so far I’m loving it. I will love it even more when our furniture arrives in 5-7 weeks.
Right now the second bedroom is littered with suitcases and clothing and we’ve been eating at the kitchen counter since we don’t have any tables yet. That said, I’m so happy to finally be in a permanent residence that I can overlook all of that and be glad to be home!
I just got back from a week-long trip to San Francisco. It was strange and a bit surreal to be a visitor in my own city.
My flights to SFO were a disaster; the London to Chicago flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connection. The next flight out of Chicago was then delayed, so I had a five and a half hour layover at O’Hare. My mom picked me up from the airport around midnight and when we got home I said hello to my dog and collapsed into bed. Somehow I always forget how long it takes to fly from London to San Francisco.
On Saturday a friend and I took a day trip from London to Canterbury, the setting of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and home of the famous Canterbury Cathedral.
We left London’s Victoria Station in the morning and were greeted by beautiful blue skies when we arrived in Canterbury at noon. We walked along the old city wall and through a park, then weaved through the crowds of Christmas shoppers in the pedestrian zone to get to our main destination: the Canterbury Cathedral.
This weekend I found myself in St. Petersburg, or as some of the locals still call it, Leningrad. Having taken my share of Russian history classes in college, I was excited to see the city founded by one of Russia’s great europhile tsars, Peter the Great. I was in Moscow a few years ago, but I knew that St. Petersburg was really the cultural capital of Russia, with its beautiful architecture, great museums, and of course the Kirov ballet.
I have spent a lot of time living and working overseas. I never realized before that all of my prior experiences abroad were short-term jaunts that never required me to put down roots. I floated over to Nice and Prague to study and play, gallivanted through Paris and Brussels for fun summer internships, and went on exciting vacations that never caused any more pain than a few “foreign fee” charges on my credit card or bank statement.
My brother got married on Saturday! I may be a bit biased, but it was the most amazing wedding I’ve ever been to. The ceremony was beautiful and I’ve never seen two people more in love than my brother and his wife. I even saw my brother cry for the first time ever! I couldn’t stop smiling, and it was so great to see how happy they were.
We got a flat today! It’s one of the ones I looked at yesterday in Hampstead. I took my boyfriend back this afternoon and he liked it so we put an offer on it and the landlady accepted. It’s so nice to have that process finished, and I feel very fortunate that it only took a few days.