1. I want to know everything about the architecture in London. When, what, how, why, who, the influences, the consequences, everything. I love how old the structures are, and how much care is taken to preserve and remember. Beyond and beneath the shops and cars and gadget-wielding pedestrians, you can see and feel the past. The city is a palimpsest.
2. On Thursday, I met a peer from my creative writing MA at the V&A for a delicious pot-pie lunch and catch-up, then spent the day exploring the museum. Luc joined me after a few hours. This museum is unlike any museum I’ve been to before. The building itself is a wonder and the scope of the galleries, through time and space and subject, is profound. We spent so much time gazing at things in fascination and awe that we couldn’t get through it all in one visit, so we’ll definitely be back. You can read the lovely Kasha’s blog entry about museums and the V&A here.
3. Jaffa cakes. Half price for a box containing three packs, from Waitrose. Enough said.
4. You know how you can wear animal print clothing in a way that is stylish and tasteful and maybe a little bit ironic? Yeah, that’s not how people wear it here.
5. I’m starting to get the hang of the tubes and I enjoy them. Luc is still far better at navigating than I am, but I’ll get there. On Friday night, on our way back from a lovely day in Oxfordshire with Luc’s aunt and uncle, we were approached by a lost and confused traveler in Paddington station, asking for tube directions. He held out the tube map as if it was a scroll covered in hieroglyphs, which is precisely how I felt about it in my first week. His accent was familiar and it turned out he was from Zimbabwe. Of all the people in the crowd he could’ve singled out, he chose some fellow Africans. Strange. Luc helped him to figure out where he needed to go and he went on his way.
6. After helping the Zimbabwean guy and while sitting on the tube listening to the conversations going on around me, I was thinking about how weird and great and happysad the world is and how many people there are, all living their own lives and having their own problems and their own triumphs and how different lives randomly intersect, particularly in a place like London. We get these little shreds and snippets of other people, and even without any of the context, these things form a big part of our understanding of the world we live in and our feelings about it. A tangle of magic threads, glowing at each point of contact. We’re a living thing.
7. Yesterday, we decided to explore Wimbledon a little bit, because that’s where Luc’s job is located. We saw two South African shops and heard people speaking Afrikaans on the bus. I’m also pretty sure I heard some South African accents while I was at the public toilets in a mall there. So everything we’ve heard about Wimbledon is probably true. It’s a nice area with wide streets and a good vibe. Luc’s lucky to have found a job in such a pleasant, accessible, convenient place.
8. You can’t look out the window in the morning and see blue skies and confidently say “It’s not going to rain today. I’ll leave my raincoat at home!” because it will rain, and you will feel stupid. It’s like the clouds are lurking just out of sight, and as soon as you’re too far away from home to turn back, they gather and start pissing all over you. That said, we’ve only experienced relatively light, pleasant rain; nothing my Tomy takkies and hoodie can’t handle in the dashes between bus stops and the underground.
9. Among the many things that are going to take a bit of getting used to, is the fact that it stays light so late… but it’s not light that I’m familiar with; it’s a strange, dreamy sort of light.
10. I’m waiting for a phone call related to my job hunt today. I’m already feeling a bit sick with nerves about the whole thing. This didn’t really deserve to be on the list, but I couldn’t leave it at nine, I mean, come on.