Archive for June, 2010

A lovely day in London

Every day I count down. How many weeks until we move home, how many months until the road trip. I have so many things to look forward to. But I also don’t want to live for the future – I need to make the most of today. Appreciate every moment. And that’s what I did today.

Today was the most wonderful, sunny day (a miracle, my friend Fiona says, to have sun in London especially with Wimbledon going on). I slept in (love Saturdays) and was awoken at 11 by a text from Nick who had spent the night at Alivias. I met him for lunch in Sloane Square where we spent much of the time debating what cars to buy when we get back to the US. We don’t exactly agree on what constitutes a good road trip car; he has some good ideas, but many are out of my price range. (Think I’ll save the pros and cons of road trip cars for another blog – it could be a long one!) We also made a long-distance toast to our cousin Nate and his high school sweetheart Beth as they are getting married today – so wish we could have been there!

After lunch, Nick joined me on my quest to find Manolo Blahnik‘s original shop – one of the things on my list of things to do before leaving London. We walked and walked and walked. (Something I love about London – you can pretty much walk anywhere if you want to.) It is off the beaten path, with a very understated exterior, and you have to ring the doorbell to be admitted. His shoes are works of art and it is clear he is an admirer of architecture. I held the Carrie shoes from the SATC movie, but I didn’t see any that whispered my name. And for those prices, shoes would have to be screaming my full name over and over and over to even be considered!

We spent most of the rest of the day at Harrods ‘once a year sale.’ I love bonding time with my son, but my pocketbook is a bit worse for the wear. (I should’ve bought a new one!) I actually did look for things for me but every piece of clothing or pair of shoes I liked I discarded as none were things you’d wear on a road trip. Oh well, at least the road trip is helping my purse in a way! (The little voice in my head reminding me that in a few months I won’t have a job also helped – if only it would talk to Nick too!)

I have to say that Harrods is the most wonderful store – truly one of a kind. If you go to London, make sure you allow time to wander Harrods. Every department is a store unto itself – and anything you can think to buy from a bone for your dog to a big screen TV, from a mattress to a mango – it’s all there. The food hall is amazing and they have many restaurants spread throughout the store: from Lebanese to Italian, from a diner to a Georgian restaurant. And make sure you go all the way up the central Egyptian escalator, looking all around – especially up. It’s like being in a museum. Finally, at the bottom of that escalator, on the lower ground floor, you’ll find the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi. There are always tourists crowding around taking pictures.

That’s another thing I’m doing – playing tourist with my camera. I don’t want to forget anything about our time in London. And the photos will help me remember. I know, I know, those who know me well know that I am hardly without my camera anyway, but now I’m not just taking pictures of the special or unusual things, I am taking pictures of every day life in London. The flowers in St. James Park. The 88 Bus. The guards with their machine guns. The people of London who would stand out anywhere else, but somehow blend in here, in this fabulous big city with a little town feel, where you can close your eyes and hear several different languages being spoken all around you. It’s everyone’s hometown. I will truly miss it. And that’s why I’m going to try to continue to appreciate every minute we have left here. It’s going to be so hard to leave, although I am so happy to be going home …

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It’s 1:30 am on a Thursday morning and I should be in la la land – but I’m too hyped from the incredible Brad Paisley show tonight! It was a taste of home on this side of the pond. My voice is still scratchy from all the screaming.

Brad represents so much that I miss and love about America. He’s the boy next door. He’s a guy’s guy, while at the same time makes every girl wish he was singing to her. He goes fishing and four-wheeling. He loves life and appreciates people. He has bad pickup lines. He was in love with a movie star as a teenager – then grew up, married her and they’re actually happy. Never mind that he is one of the most talented guitar players and has a voice that makes me melt.

Every song he played tonight – Welcome to the Future, Mud on the Tires, Then, Catch all the Fish, Ticks, Waiting on a Woman, I’m Gonna Miss Her, Celebrity, Little Moments, Online, Letter to Me, She’s Everything and, of course, Alcohol (I’m sure I’m forgetting some) – are so easily identifiable.  We’ve all done the stupid things in his songs; we’ve all had the crushes, loves and heartbreak; we’ve all made fun of the celebrities; and we’ve all shared the hopes for a better future. He covers it all in his two hour set. Now if only Keith (the only other country artist that compares to Brad on guitar) were there to play Start a Band! And if only they hadn’t confiscated my camera …

Yes, the evening started off poorly in that after waiting in line for hours, my camera was taken away at the door as it was deemed ‘too professional.’ I tried to show them that I only had pictures of ducks and London tourist stuff but they ignored me and took it anyway. I thought I was going to have heart-failure. I am never without my camera. I felt lost. Carol came to the rescue by lending me hers (thanks Carol) and I felt somewhat whole again.

Then Deb and I met some nice guys (I’m sure they’ll love me describing them like that) who proved that not all Brits hate country and even knew the words to all the songs like we did. Of course, there also was the old Irish guy who yelled “Hey, it’s Boston!’ when I returned to the group even though I’d never seen him before, and then he proceeded to grab Deb’s butt before spending the rest of the evening hitting on one of the guys we were hanging out with. Funny thing is that the guy he was hitting on is actually gay, but in a relationship – sorry old Irish guy!

The night ended on a high for me when I got my camera back and then got to meet and have my picture taken with Brad. He’s very sweet and called me hon. I told him I’d see him in Boston. Yes, another thing to look forward to pre-road trip: Tina, Kristen and I are seeing Brad at Gillette in August! I also have several more songs I have to add to the road trip play list …

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A date in every state?

I guess I’m a little delayed, or maybe it’s bad timing. Or is it? With just six weeks left in London I decided to start dating. I guess I just wasn’t ready before. ‘You’ve been there for two years, shouldn’t you have started before now?’ asked one friend. ‘What took you so long?’ Well, for the first year I had a fiance back home. And then it took a while to even want to be back in the dating scene.

So last week I went to the movies with one of my girlfriends and she mentioned that she had two dates that weekend. I was quite impressed and asked her how she managed it. Online, of course, and she named the two web sites.

I’m no stranger to online dating – that’s how I met my ex-fiance (and how I ended up on the worst date in the world, beginning with a meeting at Plymouth Rock, but that’s a story for another time). And several of my friends are on multiple dating sites. Kristen is even writing a book based on all her bad dates – that will be a best seller for sure! Anyway, as fun and easy as it is, I just wasn’t sure I should try it again, especially with such little time left in this country.

But, ah, the power of advertising: everywhere I went, particularly on the tube (subway for my American friends), I kept seeing the same ad for Lovestruck London. ‘Free for lunch? Free for coffee? Meet someone today!’ It sounded so informal, not like the lifetime commitment of eharmony or Match. And I love the idea of something being spur of the moment, rather than email for weeks, talk for a while longer and then finally meet, only to find there’s no chemistry so you wasted all those hours. What would I lose over a bad lunch date? An hour? I think I can spare that.

I caved – I’m back online. I was completely upfront in my profile and said I only have a few weeks left, but want to make the most of it. Who wants to show me their favorite parts of London before I head back to the US? I’ve already had a few dates. And they’ve been fun. I’m smiling – and they seem to be too. All in all I think it was a good idea, almost wish I’d done it sooner.

So I told Tina about this and she came up with a new idea: what about doing similar on the road trip? How about A Date in Every State? The waiter/actor in California, the rancher in Texas, the stockbroker in New York, the possibilities are endless. We spent forever on the phone laughing, planning and plotting.

But I’m not sure it’s for me.  I think it may be too gimmicky. I don’t want to do anything like try to hit every state or visit every shrine to this, that or the other thing. I really just want to go where I feel like going. I’m also no Carrie Bradshaw. I’m not sure I could – correction: not sure I would want to – dish intimate details about every encounter with the opposite sex. While it may make some good reading, I’m not ready to be THAT much of an open book.

Don’t get me wrong. If I run into my dream guitar playing, black hat and white t-shirt wearing cowboy, I’m happy to have a date on the road. But it has to just happen. I don’t want to be setting up dates in every state and have some strict itinerary that limits my adventure. So while you had a great idea T, I think I have to pass on it. Maybe one of my other single friends wants to give it a try?

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