I’d landed in London only an hour and a half ago and I was already two life stories deep into the social landscape of the city. I’d dragged all my bags from the airport onto the late night Tube and collapsed onto a seat under my ukulele, coats, books, and backpack that hid away four pairs of shoes. 20 minutes, later in waltz two middle-aged ladies nattering their way loudly to the seats opposite me. The blonde one (very blonde) then proceeded to take out her make-up bag and defiantly begin applying liquid eyeliner on as the train wobbled along. I found myself holding my breath. (I can’t manage liquid eyeliner even on a solid desk, much less a moving train carriage.) She was confident, dressed up impeccably, but hiding something behind her demeanour.
The two ladies saw me watching the feats of make-up application and laughed. The blonde turned to me: “Not bad for a seriously broken heart, huh?” Ah, that was it. The following 20 minutes of the ride we got into a serious heart-to-heart across the carriage with me handing out tissues and offering my best advice, telling her to hold her head high. They listened to me carefully and never asked me about my age, which I appreciated greatly. After a pretty nasty story of married men and arranged marriages and break-ups, it was time for me to drag my tired bones home and for these two ladies to hit the town and throw their sorrows away.
What I’m saying is, it’s hard to feel alone here in London.
And things keep happening.
Since I came back I’ve started working at St. Paul’s cathedral. I can’t explain this in any other way than ‘it just happened’. I probably got the job because I was overenthusiastic about working 360 feet up in the open air. So far, I like it. Saying, ‘I work at St. Paul’s’ really fits my desired aesthetic. And it’s hard to get bored in such a beautiful environment with nice people to talk to.
The city has shown me its most beautiful side in bloom. Strolling home my first day at work (in just a t-shirt!) I came across a gorgeous bouquet of flowers spilling out of a trash can on Strand, an inexplicable gift I accepted readily. I almost wish the weather wasn’t so lovely so that I would feel inspired to lock myself up in the library and study all day.
That same night I went out for dinner with my beloved flat. As fortune would have it, one of us is a physicist and grabbed us along to join his physics group to climb the campus roof and get a look at Jupiter through a telescope. I hope my enthusiasm made up for my lack of knowledge in astronomy… I was the first to look through the telescope and the professor asked me, ‘tell me, what do you see?’ I confidently replied, ‘that’s the moon in the middle and Jupiter to the side.’ The big bright orb in the middle turned out to be, in fact, Jupiter and its four moons.
And I’m off to another busy weekend. The city doesn’t wait around for anyone.
Have a happy weekend everyone!