Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When In London...

Passing Notes Today:  Guest Mrs. Wahlberg from London!

Hi All!

Greetings from across the pond.  I am Mrs. Kelly's cousin, Mrs. Wahlberg (Taryn).  

In less than three months, I will be moving back to Boston after having lived in London for almost three years.  It has been an amazing experience and a wonderful time that has encompassed travelling across Europe, getting married and having my first baby.  Like anything, there are some things I will miss and some I will not.

What I Will Miss The Most

1. The History 
Look kids.  Big Ben.

Kensington Palace. Look closely...see any royals?

As a high school history teacher, I have been in heaven here.  Almost every building seems to hearken back to a foregone era whether it is 30 years ago or a thousand.  One of my favorite examples is the John Lewis department store which has its flagship location on Oxford Street.  I love this store not only because it is the closest I can get to Target around here, but also because it’s a historical landmark.  It was one of the many buildings hit during the bombings of World War II, was rebuilt and has continued to survive through the ages like so many of the people and objects in this city.  

John Lewis today.

2. The Museums
The museums here are chock full of amazing and beautiful artifacts and most of them are free.  The Victoria and Albert design museum in Kensington is one of my favorites.  I love the costume exhibits the most.  

3. The Parks
We have spent hours upon hours in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park over the past several years.  A sunny Saturday spent in the open, expansive green space with a picnic of bread, cheese and wine is sublime.  
family shot in the park!
I also try to spy on Duchess Kate and her growing baby bump at Kensington Palace, but the closest my friends and I have gotten is a view of her helicopter taking off from the backyard.  I guess they can’t be too protective of the future heir.  

4. The Diversity
The people, the architecture, the landscape, the whole culture all emanate diversity.  In any given outing I will overhear at least five different languages spoken, see a range of clothing and styles, and register a different experience even if I take the same journey that I had the day before. 

5. The Pub Culture
My husband loves taking his girls to the pub on the weekend to root on his favorite football (soccer) team, the Tottenham Hotspurs. I have to admit I have grown to really enjoy these afternoons as well.  And nobody even thinks twice about us having a baby at the bar.  It’s quintessential Britain.

What I Won't Miss About London:

1. Royal Mail 

I miss the days of walking to the end of the driveway, opening up the mailbox and depositing what I want to send.  It was so easy.  I will not miss having to walk at least two blocks here in London in order to find a red post box.  Then the guessing game begins as to when the mail will arrive at its intended destination.  The Royal Mail does not have a stellar reputation.  A few days? A week? Perhaps if you’re lucky it will get lost for awhile and arrive months later. Who knows.

2. Navigating Public Transportation…with a baby in a pram.
Most people are extremely accommodating and even helpful when they see a mom and her buggy attempting to board the public bus.  Nevertheless, the process is not without its challenges and potential pitfalls.  On more than one occasion I have gotten stuck trying to get down the aisle and have had to back up and reboard through the back door.   
Cutest passenger ever!

3. The Weather  
It is gray and or raining 90 percent of the time here.  Oh, and cold, too.  Enough said.

4. Pigeons and the People Who Feed Them

Pigeons are not cute animals, people.  And they find plenty of food on their own so there’s no need to offer them the stale bits of bread you’ve crumpled up and brought with you to the park. 

5. Starbucks

Starbucks is one of the few “eateries” in London that actually makes filter coffee rather than the ubiquitous Americano (espresso and water).  But for the record, the Starbucks coffee and pastries just aren't the same here.  I can’t wait for my American Starbucks filter coffee and moist coffee cake, or chocolate chip cookie or sausage egg and cheese sandwich …

And for fun here is a survey my cousin made asked me to fill out:

1. Favorite London Food:  Fish and chips, obs
2. Favorite Saying:  Done and dusted
3. Fashion Trend of the Moment:  Not sure, skinny pants for women and men have always been in
4. Celebrity Sighting:  Kiera Knightly at this members only club on Portobello - I was in there because our friends belong.  
5.  Biggest Misconception:  All Americans have a passport.

Thanks for having me today.

Mrs. Wahlberg

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  Um, could you also be on Prince Harry alert?  Because I'd like for you to secure an autograph.  Also, that pub looks so well lit.  I envision them all to be these dark dank holes in the wall.  That one has a tufted leather couch and fun floral wallpaper.  Thanks for sharing!

Note from Mrs. Williams:  Thanks for a bloody good note Mrs. Wahlberg.  I love the baby in the pub image the best - the Brits are on to something!


Taryn said...

My husband just informed me that his team is Tottenham Hotspur not the Tottenham Hotspurs. He said, if we're going to publish it we should be precise and, of course, I concur.

Naptime Notebook said...

done and dusted

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