This past year was definitely more full of change, adventure and emotion than most years. I feel that 2018 has a lot more of that in store for me.
I’ve definitely given up trying to plan the future so minutely. That was something American Alessa did. Expat Alessa has learned not to resist (so much) when things go wrong, to expect the unexpected and to embrace all the unknowns of the future. I used to need to always know what was going to happen for dinner and 20 years from now. But in France I don’t know what’s going on…ever. The big, important questions like what country am I going to live in two years from now and should I get a dog- I am curious about them but I figure the answers will reveal themselves in due time. In the meantime I have a lot of work to do to be the person I want to be when I do find out those answers.
Enough philosophizing. Let’s talk about fun stuff like boys… and London… and Christmas.
My Christmas present came a few days after Christmas. I just had to go to London to pick up the package. Which came in the form of this guy.
Last year we went to Paris for New Year’s and this year we ended up in London. Because ringing in new years in world capitals is apparently our thing. Or because we were lucky and they just happened to be the cheapest flights when we were looking. Though I was in London for Thanksgiving I didn’t really do any of the tourist things. This time I was determined to remedy that. Everyone has to see Big Ben once right? Well Big Ben is under construction for the next four years so……
Buckingham Palace! Let’s start with that! As soon as we showed up we 1) realized that we didn’t much care about Buckingham Palace and were confused as to why we were there and 2) had this awesome cavalry parade come through just as we were having those thoughts. Welcome to England!
We spent the day being tourists and holding hands.
We walked along the South Bank of the Thames which passes a lot of the historical sites in England like St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, the Houses of Parliament.
The one thing that I really wanted to do was ride the London Eye. I just love Ferris wheels. And beautiful views from high places. Which is pretty much what the 4th largest Ferris wheel in the world is good for. 30 minutes of being, just for an instant, on top of the world. Or on top of London anyway. Yes it’s touristy and expensive and we had to wait in line for over an hour but who cares?! You’re in London! What do you have better to do?! No one is too cool for this. (Jessica Alba has apparently ridden it 31 times).
We spent the night in Notting Hill with Allison and Bruno. The next day I wanted to go see Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella but it was sold-out. Which is a concept my American mind still can’t fathom. A sold-out ballet? It’s amazing.
So we went to the Tate Museum instead. London may be one of the world’s most expensive cities but the museums are free. And that is a beautiful thing. We saw an exhibit on Modigliani who is an artist I never really knew much about. The Tate has a observation deck and you know how I like views…
Walking back from the Tate was magical. New Year’s Eve, full moon, the Tower of London reflecting off the Thames. My love at one side and one of my oldest friends on the other. We rang in the New Year with homemade fondu and champagne.
Carson and I only had the morning in London the next day. We decided to hit up some more free museums. We started at the Natural History Museum and then went to the Victoria and Albert art museum where they had a Winnie the Pooh exhibit going on. My favorite kind of day….
Returning from London it was too windy to land in Basel. I’m talking about we were inches off the ground when the pilot pulled the plane back up. The woman next to us was crying. Eventually after a couple attempts they diverted our flight to Zurich- where is was a pretty blustery day as well! The plane in front of us could not land in Zurich but we managed it. It was not a smooth landing but it warranted the applause anyway. But now we were in the wrong city. Thankfully, I always pack snacks. A couple hour bus ride and a $185 cab ride later we were home. Luckily travel stories like that don’t happen to me a lot. And we are safe. And together. So whatever.
A few more snapshots of our traverses across London.
Some of these photos are thanks to Carson Pajamapants.