Today’s post was penned by my lovely wife. Hers in the next entry in a small feature of everyone in the family discussing their feelings on having lived in England and returning to the States. The previous post in the series can be found here.
Travel was number one on our list of the reasons to move to Europe. Growing up in a big but closed country, I could never imagine that one day I would be able to stroll along the Seine or ski in Alps or swim on the coast of the Mediterranean. I was living my dream for the last three years.
You see, I’m a social butterfly: I need to be around people who know and love me, who understand my desire to sing karaoke or spend an evening with a guitar. I want to simply call one of my friends – or, sometimes, relatives – and get together just because. Remember the theme song from Cheers?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
That was the main reason for coming back. That and the size of my refrigerator!
I miss my fruit and vegetable markets where you know your vendor and he knows your favorites; plus, almost everything is one pound sterling a bowl. Those specialty markets (German, French, Spanish, Italian) which were only 10-15 minutes away by foot, with everything on sale from herbs to shoes, were sometimes the highlights of the weekend. The Borough Market is an event on its own – you can have breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner by simply moving from stand to stand and tasting cheeses (not me!), sausages, bread, sweets, and even a glass of something sparkly.
I used to swim three times a week at the local pool for a mere price of £2 for a session – or £20 for unlimited swimming for a month! Here in the States, it is hard to find a sport club with a membership less than $50 a month with initial payment and a contract. I cannot wait till summer weather to use my own pool for a bit of exercising.
One of my other hobbies is badminton, which I became quite proficient at during my years in London (even won a tournament). Sadly, the few badminton clubs in New Jersey are about 30-50 minutes away from our house and I feel I will never be able to go there on a regular basis. Oh well, there is always that hula-hoop!
Free or low-cost concerts or exhibitions are widely available in London area; all you had to do was open the local magazine and choose where to go. I’m sure in New York City such things exist as well – and they do offer walks and adventure clubs in nearby parks – but it is not the same, somehow… Simply dropping by the National Gallery to see of the Monet’s masterpieces was kind of cool…
If you ask me whether I would do it again knowing what I do know now, I’d say – definitely! No question about it! Did we come back too soon and could have seen and done more? Probably. But I think now we can appreciate our unbelievable adventure even more, and we look forward to greeting family and friends at our house with a glass of Bordeaux in hand to tell them stories of waking up at 5:30 in the morning to enjoy romantic Paris.