After living in deepest darkest Wales for the last 2 years, yesterday marked our temporary return to London so Io can complete a short term work contract. The Squigglet and I were going to stay down in Wales and just pop up for weekend visits so that we could economise on accommodation but after trying this out for a week we all decided it wasn’t worth being separated, and besides I was starting to crave a little more sensory stimulation, which the big smoke has by the bucketful.
The part of London we are staying in has a large and varied ethnic community, but I guess you could say that about every part of this multicultural city. The traveller in me loves the colourful collection of shops, cafes and mini-markets selling curios, delicacies and quite often random tat from various parts of the world. Run-down houses and carefully kept houses appear alternately along terraced streets and loud conversations occur on corners or in fact anywhere.
I’ve always loved living in different countries for that sense of immersing yourself in something so different, so exotic, so wonderful. The air feels different, there are exciting new smells (and sometimes some that are not so enjoyable), you can’t predict what will happen at any given moment which gives you a heady sense of discovery. London holds some of the same appeal, although I’d have to say it’s much more enticing in the summer months than the cold, dreary winter.
Families of every description and denomination bustle by, diverse in their dress and customs but identical in that their toddler throws tantrums just like mine, they like to play in the park just like my family does, they are happy it’s Friday and a long public holiday weekend lies ahead, just like we all are.
In the kids playground within 30 minutes I had chatted with an Hisidic Jewish mother, an Australian mum and another from Spain, I am forever interested in the ways in which other people live their lives so it was really gratifying to realise that actually our experiences of motherhood were the same to varying degrees. Our kids didn’t perceive any linguistic or cultural difference and happily communicated through the universal language of play.
It got me thinking that London is a bit of a planet unto itself, at once insular and scattered with so many facets to discover……sometimes the view from the more rural side is that we are all satelites of this huge metropolis, whether that is desired or not. Still I am looking forward to our short stint here, the parks are great, there are plenty of things for kids to do and I can window shop in actual shop windows as opposed to the internet. Woo-hoo.
We aren’t planning to stay on here as we are country folk at heart, but something I do want to take away from this experience is to give the Squigglet an opportunity to meet friends from as many different cultures as possible, not just to open her mind but to help her become a global citizen herself one day. Besides which I will be taking a gigantic pot of the best hummus ever frome the local Turkish Cypriot bakery down the road!
Roll on Diamond Jubilee weekend, still wondering whether I can face a trip on crowded public transport with toddler to join in some of the events…..might be a bit too much too soon after living in the wop wops for so long…..anyway enough of this rambling and on with the weekend.