Last week was a week of heaven for me for a number of reasons, the main reason being I was able to fly home to London (UK) for one whole week. All. By. My. Self.
The arrival of my first nephew was the original cause for my decided trip home and I intended to stay only a few days to meet the newest member of the family however my husband, who is the most wonderful man in the world, insisted I stay for at least a week. His reasoning was that I hadn’t been home to London in 3 years and I needed a boost of UK goodness! And what a boost it was!
After waiting nearly 5 months for the trip the day finally arrived! I packed a weeks worth of clothes into a tiny carry on bag and after a very wet and thunderous drive to Pearson Airport I whizzed through Toronto security and was at my gate in record time! (It’s amazing what you can accomplish when there aren’t two kids and much luggage in tow!) I boarded my plane and had 7 uncomfortable hours trying to pretend I could sleep in next to no space before landing at sunny Gatwick airport the following morning. (Side note: if you fly AirTransat, don’t expect too much: for ‘dinner’ there was pasta or chicken. One girl asked what the sauce was on the pasta. The reply? “uuuh…pink sauce?…”)
I must have looked like a complete loonie walking through Gatwick as I spotted familiar stores and heard familiar sounds; a massive smile spread across my face and stayed there for quite a long time! I boarded the Gatwick Express and was lulled into utter homey comfort as I raced towards Victoria Station and my Mum, who was waiting impatiently and excitedly for my arrival. The beautiful countryside flew past, rolling green fields, neat row-houses and little allotments before things started turning more industrial and city like. Soon I could spot red double-decker buses and black cabs winding through streets, landmarks appeared like the Battersea Power Station, now going through a revitalization. In the distance I could see the heart of the city with it’s weird skyscrapers with equally weird names – the Gherkin? The Shard?! A very British female voice announced our impending arrival to the station and as I arrived at Victoria I was thrown into the mad chaos that is London – I had completely forgotten how manic and fast London is!
After a warm, loving welcome from my sparkly-eyed mother we walked the short distance to the flat and I downed a much needed Advil and an incredibly fat crumpet before heading back to Victoria and hopping on another train to Bromley to meet my beautiful, smiley nephew.
My week flew by in a flurry of nephew cuddles, reunions with friends, sightseeing and dinners with my parents. It was just the three of us, something which hasn’t been like that for about 13 years or so. It was actually quite lovely; we talked about life, kids, family and future. Just me, my Mum and my Dad. During the day my Mum and I gossiped and story-told as we walked through Carnaby street, marveled at Selfridges ‘Wonder Room’ and gazed at exhibitions at The Imperial War Museum. I breathed in London life, the frantic pace and bustling streets and caught myself at how much I had forgotten and now remembered. It was pure heaven! Through it all my husband was back in Toronto keeping our two kids assured that Mummy would be coming home soon! We Skype’d every day and as my return trip loomed closer, they became more animated and excited (although that may have been due to the fact I had found gifts for them too!)
As is always the case with vacations the week flew by far too quickly and suddenly it was time to fly home. Gatwick Airport security was in full swing and after being ‘randomly’ searched twice I boarded my plane and flew home with very mixed emotions. I was sad to be leaving home, yet happy to be going home. I couldn’t wait to see my babies and husband yet I felt sad at leaving my family behind. I arrived to three very excited family members and received the warmest welcome home any mother and wife could wish for.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit London again but I’m hoping its in the not-too-distant future. I got my boost of home: smells, sounds, sights, foods, tv shows and magazines. Silly little things that make a huge impact for someone living abroad. Compared to London, Toronto is much slower, calmer and politer!