Things I've Learned in London: Week 1

This is the delicious fish and chips I ate.

  • That is some big fish. No, seriously. That's a MEDIUM. Really well done, too. Cod, but that's like the least adventurous fish they have there -- I just like cod. If you get the chance, go to The Fish House on Portobello Road. The upstairs waiter is this very nice Italian guy from Milan. Two thumbs way up. 
  • My hair loves it here. It's the humidity, I'm sure. Seriously, best hair in ages. 
  • Sweating. So. Much. Again, it's the humidity (and that I'm fat, I'm sure). Because the temp isn't that high and the exercise is not that strenuous, and it seems to depend on the room I'm in (if I'm in a room) as much as anything. Not terribly fun. Better on lower humidity days.
  • Laundry services. Expensive, but a super nice splurge. I can't afford to do it again, but I'm glad I did it once. They even got the spot out of my skirt! 
  • I got a coat. Actually, let's be clear -- I think I could be in love with Marks and Spencer. I've had to restrain myself from trying on lots of things in there. As it is, I have a nice waterproof light coat that's lined and will be super useful when it's cold and a bit damp, but not worth digging out the wool coat. 
  • This is the street I'm staying on. 
     London is hands down the most open city I've ever been in. I haven't visited New York, mind you, but I've been to Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Denver, New Orleans, Washington DC, Baltimore... To some extent, they all hold themselves like closed doors. You can fit in eventually, maybe, but that doesn't mean you're not a stranger. In some places this can be overcome (Chicago can accept you fairly well if you survive a winter there -- it's a bonding experience -- and learn about the customs of parking spots), while in some it's never changing. London... London doesn't care. You need some English to live here, but you can get by regardless. The half-understood conversations over a couple of different languages, the smiles over children's heads, the kind offer of a band-aid when I was limping... It's a little professional, a little distant, but largely friendly and willing to be the same towards everyone -- we're all here, after all. I appreciate that tremendously.
    This is me, on my street, with my coat.
  • Print is a living thing here. I think it has something to do with public transit, honestly. The fact is that everyone's a commuter, because cars for downtown London are a sign of insanity or driving for a living, in my opinion. As such, there's time to read. You can read on your phone, but signal is iffy if you need an internet connection. Also... I dunno. I suppose it's a lot less likely someone's going to steal a book, if it comes down to that. Also, the Evening Standard. The Metro. All the publications handed out for free on the evening commute or on the way home. People read here in ways I've heard about but never seen. It's fascinating and makes me a little wistful that I can't see this back home. 
  • People don't care or mind that I'm from the U.S. Thanks, Obama. :) 
There is more, much more, but I can't fit it all in here. I'll do a post on the British museum itself, even though I only saw like a quarter of it, tops. And I'll have to do a theater post at some point, since I went to see the Mousetrap and I will be seeing Cymbeline (or rather, Imogen) before I go home. I could go to a LOT of theater if I lived here -- it's astounding, really. So more to come. 

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