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Saturday, January 15, 2005 

New Schedule

This week was really interesting, as I didn't go to the lab like normal, but invigilated exams for King's College at the Royal Horticulture Hall in SW1. I took the tube every morning (like a real Londoner!) to the Westminster stop, and then walked along Millbank which runs parallel to Parliament. It was very cool to see such different and famous parts of the city for a few days: walking behind Westminster Abbey, having Big Ben remind me how late I was, getting bumped into by tourists backing up to fit the towers into their shots... It was amazing!

(Parliament guards carry AK-47s now. I guess they didn't use to before. It's a little unnerving, if you haven't seen a gun for months.)

It was overwhelming too, to be in such a tourist-y part of town. While everything is gorgeous to look at, it's insanity as well, and it made me appreciate that I had carved out my own little space and routine that isn't on any map, that doesn't have any attraction you'd want to go to.... I'm not exactly a tourist anymore, I know where to grab the free copies of the Metro, exactly how the tube ticket machines work, when to cross the street without pissing off drivers... I know I'm not a Londoner either, but guess I'm starting to fall somewhere in between... And that's a really nice feeling.


Big Ben

Big Ben and St. Marge

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Lambeth Bridge

A beautiful blog, baby! Almost like being there, for a visitor from the New World . . .

(Must have taken you weeks to find enough sunny days for such a dazzling series of blue sky shots!)

A major part of growing up and gaining the confidence to make your way in the world is . . . making your way in the world. As children, we are almost never happy unless we are in our home, in our town, in our school, in our room -- its part of the definition of being a child. So, part of the definition (in my mind) of being a grownup, is being comfortable not just at home, but wherever we are. If you find yourself uncertain of where "home" really is anymore, that's probably a good sign: that you have the self-confidence to make home be wherever you want it to be, and aren't an emotional slave to a zip code. There are many (many!) people who get jobs in the towns where they went to high school, raise kids who go to the same high school, and they all wind up working at Wal-Mart and three generations live within in five miles of each other. It's wonderful, in a way, because they are always there for each other, everyone goes to the kids' high school basketball games, etc. etc. But in another way, its grotesque, because nobody ever really grows up -- they all think alike (to the extent they ever think at all!) and that's how George Bush gets reelected.

So congratulations for finding your way in the world and for being at home on a planet and not just in a Wal-Mart.

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