Saturday, October 2, 2010

Before moving to London, it was impossible for me to know what sort of challenges I would face here. I assumed, of course, that living in London would not be the same as the Tourist Experience. I knew I would have to find work, pay bills, live the repetitive day to day dullness that life often becomes. I hoped that my life in London would not, of course, demonstrate even a distant knowledge of that kind of dullness. I pictured myself dressed eclectically, trawling markets for vintage items, discovering perfect coffees in tiny cafes, and even, I admit, making foreign men fall in love with me.
In all of my imaginings I discounted one significant factor. Me. The person that I pictured in the markets, the cafes, in the perfect London that has constant sunshine and no rain, is a person bearing no resemblance to me. She is bold, ingenious, even outrageous. Unfortunately intercontinental living has not transformed me into that unconventional diva who I pictured myself being.
Naturally, London is neither as perfect in reality as in my dreams. But reality, although often disappointing, cannot be exchanged for dreams. And maybe I don't really even want to. London, the REAL London is infinitely more interesting than my dreams make it out to be. Crowded, yes. Dirty, sometimes. Wet, often. But also vibrant, diverse and astonishing. I may be dull but London never is. Could I really exchange any of these experiences that have made London so much my own? The Thames, as large as life, flowing under me as I peer at it from atop London Bridge. The Globe Theatre, though merely a replica of the original, still a significant symbol of London's glorious and artistic history, and Anthony Howell standing a few feet from me on it's stage. The daily walk down Uxbridge Road that is bursting with people from Argentina, Egypt, Korea, Germany, and just about every other country I can name.
Rodin said that "the realities of nature surpass our most ambitious dreams". If London were only as limited as my dreams it would perhaps be rather dull. London is altogether more exquisite, frustrating, enormous, overwhelming, thrilling, confusing and marvellous than can possibly be dreamed.

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