It should be mentioned that I took this photo yesterday after an unexpected trip to Jason’s work. Apparently (thanks to the awesome weather here)…the bus he was supposed to take, never came. So he walked back home – half an hour late for class at that point – and we had no choice but to hop in the car and take him to work. Despite the fact that two of us were still wearing our pajamas. And one of us hadn’t showered in thirty six hours or so. Lovely!
Flying back from London to Calgary, I had a considerably high level of excitement. Largely due to the mere thought of seeing my boys at the airport. The excitement all but disappeared, however, when the pilot made an announcement over the speaker system. ‘Currently, it’s minus fifteen degrees in Calgary and there are about four inches of freshly fallen snow on the ground.’ Why he felt the need to share that piece of bad news with me, I will never understand. Suddenly I had zippo desire to be back in Cowtown. It really didn’t matter that it was minus fifteen degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit.
Though London may not exactly be the ‘promised land’ (at all), I much prefer its climate to Calgary’s. At least nine months of the year – the summers there are pretty muggy. As I rode in my friend Kyla’s car from Heathrow airport to her ‘flat’, I practically gushed about ‘the green grass’ and the ‘daffodils sprouting from the ground.’ She thought I was a little weird, going on about things like grass and daffodils, but she’s never been to Calgary. Actually, I may be the only person I’ve ever come across who likes the weather in London.
Frankly, blue skies and sunshine are highly overrated. Especially when partnered with subzero temperatures, and grass that hasn’t seen the light of day since December 6, 2008. Not that I’m keeping track.
So it’s been a little bit of a challenge, re-adjusting to life in Calgary.
I have mental images of myself walking the streets of London in a coat – no gloves, or hat. Feeling warm. I spent five whole days without mediating any fights, threatening to take away toys (taking away toys), or engaging in a battle of wills. The only time I saw a diaper was when a friend changed her little girl a few feet away from where I was sitting. I didn’t use a stern voice with anyone, not even once.
I had meals with people and no one asked me to cut their food or blow on it. No one cried because their food was too hot or too spicy or too ‘something’. No one pilfered anything from my plate. There were conversations during the meals, and I listened – attentively – as people spoke. Not with one eye on the speaker and another eye scanning the room to make sure everything was okay. Occasionally, I spoke too. I might have even made some sense, but I don’t want to brag.
After meeting Karen, the bride-to-be, for brunch on the day before her wedding (at a nice place, where I didn’t even think about anyone spilling something or having to exit the restaurant in a cloud of shame), Kyla and I walked to Covent Garden. For the record, I walked past La Maison du Chocolat. I did not go in, and did not buy chocolates that cost 80 pounds per kilogram. We’re in a recession, after all, and being in London – just walking past the chocolate shop – was good enough. As we walked (nay, hobbled) along, it struck me that no one was complaining about the distance we were walking (well, except me – silently..because the Danskos on my feet felt like metal shackles) and no one asked me to carry them.
In the end, I didn’t do a whole lot in London – especially not by other tourists’ standards. I never made it to the London Eye. The only museum I spent any time in was the National Portrait Gallery. There were two quick visits to Borough Market where I sighed over the variety and beauty and quality of the food. And there was a little bit of shopping for the peeps back home.
I guess the best part of the trip was getting a break from the daily grind of taking care of two little people. Having the chance to catch up with people I haven’t seen in too long, and doing things I wouldn’t have been able to do had my adorable sidekicks made the journey with me.
With that, I’ve been summoned for ‘wiping’ duty.