Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is a vacation over if you don't have to go back to work?

That's the question I'm contemplating after nearly a week in London. At this point, looking ahead to an early wake up call that will take me to Boston via Heathrow, I'm trying to adjust to the feeling of what it means to go back to my new non-SELF world. On the plus side, I don't have that typical end of vacation dread, the feeling you get when you know you are about to transition to a physically active week spent mostly outdoors, surrounded by art, culture and color to sitting within the four walls of a windowless office for nine hours a day, not to mention meetings and deadlines. On the other hand, if I don't have a job, do I exist at all? (Okay, I know that's a silly question, but please allow me this tiny bit of existential angst.) What I mean is, it's strange to return home to a life that feels a bit unfamiliar. I don't yet know how I am going to structure my weeks, what work will come my way, how I will spend my days. My husband keeps telling me not to stress out and worry, but frankly, the phrase "Don't worry!" can feel a bit empty--and sometimes, it even makes me feel worse. Am I a bad person because I worry?

The nice thing is that worry (mostly) didn't get in the way of this lovely London trip, filled with tons of art (today I went to the Tate Britain and some modern galleries) and even good food. (Good food is not something I ever associated with London. Boy, a lot has changed here in 30 years.) Speaking of good food, I spent the early afternoon at the Borough market on the banks of the Thames, where I saw produce that matched any I came across in Italy. See the photos, below.

Potatoes and squash never looked so good

Too beautiful to eat!

The pleasures of English cheese. I'd forgotten them.

This queue was for a stall at Borough market that sold an amazing homemade chorizo sandwich, on a fresh roll with olive oil, arugula and piquillo red pepper. Probably the best thing I ate in London on this trip--and for less than 4 L.

A view of St. Paul on the way to the Tate Britain.

Then I headed to the Tate Britain for yet more 19th and 20th century art and had a final dinner at a fancy SoHo eatery, complete with oysters from Ireland and wine  from Spain. A fine ending to a much needed respite--and a chance to reacquaint myself with a city I once loved (and still do have lots of affection for). What I'd say, though, and I'm not sure if it's due to the fact that I've done much more traveling than I had when I was here at age 20, but London seems much less foreign, much more like New York. The food is good, it's diverse, it's easy to get around on public transportation and there are tons of incredible museums and things going on. What's not to love? See y'all back on the other side of the Atlantic.

No comments:

Post a Comment