Lest you think that here in my spacious, dishwasher-enabled, outlet-covered Virginia apartment I’ve forgotten London, I present to you,
What I Miss:
1. Pub Culture – Nothing beats sipping on a cider at the local pub with a good group of mates. In London there are pubs on almost every corner, and I found them to be much more relaxed and natural than the American bar scene. Every Sunday after church, a group of us would walk around the corner to our favorite local pub that had cheap drinks and loads of space for us to fill tables with good conversations and laughs. In the U.S. after a church service or work we normally all need to drive to a bar or restaurant, and I’ve never really had a ‘local favorite.’
2. Easy Navigation – London is incredibly easy to navigate. There are maps all over the city and the buses and tubes are very well signposted. David and I easily got ourselves around via cycling, walking, and public transport without the aid of a smartphone or GPS. Here in the U.S. I feel that I need electronic assistance at all junctures, and find myself constantly scanning metro stops and city street corners for maps and signs. Even a fairly well connected city like DC has very long wait times between metro trains compared to London.
3. Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – When we left Uganda we thought that this would be one of the things that we missed most about life in Africa, but happily our London flat was right next to East Street Market with access to all of our favorite veggie delights. Our local grocery store here in Arlington, VA – Safeway – is depressing to say the least. It’s expensive (even more so than London for many things), lacks variety, and is generally drab. Local friends have promised that we’ll be much happier with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods a few metro stops away, but for now we’re pining for our dearest East Street Market in Walworth.
4. Views of London – I used to sit on the 9th floor at the Salvation Army building overlooking the London Eye and Westminster. Now my 7th floor apartment overlooks the condos of Arlington. Enough said.
5. Access to International travel – Gone are our days of weekend trips to the Alps or the Acropolis, goodbye to train rides to Edinburgh and Paris. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what David and I are going to talk about for the next few months since planning our next big trip was forever on our minds in London.
Of course the perfect solution to cure our melancholy longings is for all of you to come visit us here in DC.