I said goodbye to Zambia to the tune of a gigantic English breakfast cooked by my roommates and a Turkish water blessing. (I'm not quite sure how Turkish this tradition really is, but it was an excuse for friends from the hostel to throw pots of water on my taxi as I drove away). It was kind of the perfect goodbye.
I left a place that was just coming into winter, and arrived somewhere that was just coming into spring. I used my few days in London as a a time of transition. I didn't think about names or preparations for Ireland or how quickly this is all going, but chose instead to focus on buying a new pair of jeans (and then some), soaking up all the green parks and trying (but failing) to fathom how I can be places that are so entirely different from each other in less than twenty-four hours.
I'd been in London once before as a sixteen year-old and friend/babysitter to a family who was moving there, so I already knew I loved the city. This time around, I stayed with a friend of a friend in Teddington, a suburb that's about a 30 minute train ride from the center of London. Most days I went into the city.
London was changing seasons and ducklings,
Overdosing on coffee,
An Olympic countdown,
Classic telephone booths,
Orderliness & Formality,
Walks along the Thames,
Old brick buildings,
A visit to the V & A,
Suburban bike rides with Bob, my host,
and of course, fish and chips (with peas, to make it healthy).
I don't think I've ever appreciated spring so much before. (Maybe because spring in Burlington, VT is really just cold turning into mud). I hadn't realized in Lusaka how much I missed parks and plants, and flowers; picnics and open spaces, and weeping willows. I indulged and spoiled myself a little (a lot). I went to the theater (saw The Duchess of Malfi at The Old Vic), spent a lot of time people-watching, and bought myself a very impractical red sundress in the sale section of Anthropologie at Oxford Circus. (In my defense, I had just flown out of Africa, it was the first Anthropologie I've seen in about a year, it made me miss my friends and all things Philadelphia, and it was very on sale).
I left Lusaka on Monday, arrived in London on Tuesday, and got to Dublin last night (Friday). It's my first full day in Ireland and there's a lot to say, but there's plenty of time for all that. I'm just getting my bearings, and for now, Dublin consists of walks along the streets as I try to get oriented, a taxi driver from the airport who gave me a half hug when he said goodbye ("Take care of yourself now, dearie"), and being, once again, back to square one in as I try to figure out how to live in another foreign city.