For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Friday, July 14, 2017

What Impressed Me the Most About London

When I look back on my time in London last month,
the single thing that made the biggest impression on
me was NOT this iconic red phone booth.

While the cupcake at Peggy Porschen Cakes
 was the best I have ever eaten,
and the store was deliciously PINK and beautiful,
it was NOT what I liked the best.

The London Eye was pretty cool.  
It gave us beautiful views of London.
We liked it a lot.
Still, something else was more remarkable.

Visiting Warner Brothers Studio to experience their fantastic
Harry Potter tour was a day we will never forget.  Learning how 
scenes were filmed, seeing original sets and props, and being filmed flying 
on a broomstick over London and Hogwarts was a big WOW!
It is right up there as one of our best days.

Our apartment was a nice place to crash at the end
of a long day of walking.  Nice, but not a top memory.

Harrods was an expensive, impressive department store,
but too pricey for me.

Londoner street signs were unique, and the Underground
was clean and easy to use.  It was easy to get around the city.
Memorable for its practicality, but not my favorite thing.

One day, we tracked down the house 
whose exterior was used in the filming
of The Parent Trap movie.  
Though it was fun for a few pictures.,
it was not on top of my list.

This cat was one of the best things in Notting Hill,
but not the most notable memory.

We happened upon this special exhibit in Kensington Palace -
"Diana - Her Fashion Story ". 
It was all about Princess Diana and how her sense of fashion evolved.
There were many dresses that I remember seeing her wear, 
along with photos of the occasions when she wore them.
I found this extremely interesting, and it opened up discussion with
Annie, who to my surprise didn't even know Diana was William
and Harry's mother!  We enjoyed the exhibit a lot!

The Princess Diana Memorial Garden at Kensington Palace is 
a garden designed to be appreciated from the walkway around
the perimeter - creating a simple, reflective place.
Too structured for my taste, but beautiful nonetheless.

It's the fairy-tale food that almost got Goldilocks killed.
Porridge with honey and bananas was on almost every 
breakfast menu.  For some reason, it tasted better than
oatmeal, even though it was oatmeal.
Tasty, but too filling to eat an entire bowl.

Biking anytime is fun, but when it saves your 
feet from walking more miles than necessary,
it's even better!  It brought big smiles to our faces.
Again, it did NOT take the #1 spot.

Seeing this musical was Annie's favorite thing of the entire trip!
I loved it too!  It was a perfect way to end our trip after just 
getting back from Paris!

My favorite thing was not a place.
It was not a tourist sight.
I couldn't take a photo of it.
Yet, I remember it fondly, more than anything else.

What impressed me very deeply, 
was the nature of the British people.

When I visit a foreign country and interact with the people
in many situations over the course of my stay,
I form a general impression of the
people based on my experiences.

I found the Brits to be 

Although the British accents make anything sound nicer,
the words they choose and the tone they use made me
put me at ease and made me feel like I was talking to a friend.
For instance, when I went to the snack bar at the theater to 
purchase some ice cream,  the older gentleman greeted me,
smiling, like this:  "Hello there, Love!  What can I get for you?"
He made my day a little brighter.

Add to their warmth 
their strong sense of orderliness and decorum
and you have won me over completely.

Everything made sense. 
 The Underground signs were clear and we had no 
doubt whether or not we were on the right train.
When you crossed the street,  it was written in
large letters on the road in front of you which direction
you should look to check for oncoming cars.
Feet were painted on escalator steps to demonstrate
that you are supposed to stand on the right to let
people pass on the left.
In parks, you didn't hear parents yelling at their children.
No cars were blaring their horns in traffic.
Even dogs, who were let off-leash in the Royal Parks
seemed to know their manners and how to act.

So while I enjoyed the places we went and the things we saw,
my experiences were made even better by the people.

So THAT was my favorite thing about London!

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