See all those buildings and streets? Those are the events of my current life: the fluid rigidity of ordered chaos. How streets meld into one another, how steel buildings juxtapose one another. How I get lost. How easy it is to be found. You get the idea.
I cannot say what London is. I am not from London, I am not of London. I am in London, just as I have been in every other place of my life. I can say what I am. I am, as I hope I can always be, seeing. Feeling. Hearing. Walking, running, talking, laughing, crying. And all in one week. What a strange experience to “study” abroad. To have a dorm, a home, a headquarters. To have familiar peers, familiar texts, a familiar language. To be thrust into something so familiar and so foreign at the same time. For English to sound the same but make no sense at all. For one week in another country to feel far longer and more full than a week in my other homes (for Iacquire new ones every time I lie down in a new bed). To feel guilty about this length and fullness–as if I’m betraying past experiences of my life. To understand that I miss what makes my other homes so wonderfully my own–the people in them. To be afraid of the surge of excitement and anxiety that hits you with every wind gust from the tube. Does it feel the same in other cities? Am I experiencing a city or London? Or myself, a little different from other selves I’ve been.
“Turn around so I can take your picture!” yells Sissy as we explore Camden market. As we tentatively finger clothes, jewelry. As we try food samples. As we consider purchases than re-consider our dwindling funds. As we say we have headaches, we have fatigue, we have too much more to see to stop now. And I hope that my face conveys this. I am the kind of happy that has staying power. Hesitant, afraid, uncertain. Still walking, laughing, crying. And it’s only been a week.