Some time ago, I wrote a blog post about my study abroad experience in London at age 20. Sure, I’ve been back to London a few times since, but now, almost exactly 10 years to the day later, I find myself wandering these streets and reflecting on the past decade. Quite a lot has happened… graduating, various jobs, getting married, moving to Mexico for a few years, music, travel, friends, family, art… life.
All at once everything feels so familiar, and yet so foreign. London isn’t home, but it still feels known. I don’t need a map to find my way around, and the streets and buildings are like old acquaintances I haven’t seen in a while. It is where my addiction to travel all started, after all. Here I am in an Italian coffee bar in central London, sipping a cappuccino and jotting these thoughts down on the back of a tube map. Everyone out the window is in a hurry – Christmas lights cheer up the dark streets, and people scurry about to dinner, a show, the pub, home, wherever. The couple next to me are arguing about what to get their relatives for Christmas, and whether they think that old “so-and-so” should cut his hair. It’s delightfully trivial.
Earlier I stood along the railing above Trafalgar square, ate a sandwich and watched the sunset behind the big Christmas tree, until a creepy dude came up and tried to strike up a conversation. As a side note, I’m happy to chat with strangers sitting next to me in airplanes and while standing in lines, but random approaches in public places… not so much.
Am I still the same girl that lived in London 10 years ago? I imagine some things about me are still the same, but some aren’t. I fancy myself a little wiser and a little less silly, but I think I’ve got a much better sarcastic sense of humor thanks to my husband (ha ha), and I’m a little more laid back. I still worry about some things way too much, but I’d like to think that I care less and less about what people think of me. I think I care more about developing a smaller number of deeper friendships.
But truthfully I hope that the serious business of trying to pretend to be an “adult” these days hasn’t totally eliminated my old romantic idealism. But – like I said, I am currently sitting in a café staring out of the window like a fool, writing on the back of a tube map… so I think the silly side of me is still alive and well.
… and I wonder what the next 10 years will hold.