“Why don’t you just stay here and sign up for the crew agencies?” said one of my flatmates. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears, tightly gripped the cup of tea I was holding and said, “Because it’s freezing in here!!!” When I looked at the thermometer yesterday as I was shivering so hard I could barely type, it was 10 degrees Celsius!!! When they built all these purpose flat blocks in the 70’s, they really didn’t think through the insulation. I understand why so much violence erupted, it’s not fun permanently shivering. Thank goodness for my electric blanket.
Besides, I’m having a tough weekend and I just needed to get out. It’s now been one week since I talked to Captain Cool and it will probably be two more weeks. I had a great week at a training course and with the friend who was kind enough to take me in as one of her family during the course. Now I’m back in the igloo in London with yet again no purpose other than to frantically look for work as I have very little time left with the money I have. I’m not doing so good so far, the job I want requires me to have yet another certification which will cost about £250 (ouch!!), but if it gets me a really good paying job on a yacht, I guess it’s worth the investment.
Anyway, I digress, actually there is no digression because there isn’t really a point to this entry, other than like all the other ones. Live in the moment, to the fullest and trust in the universe! Yesterday, I went to pick up my old bike. When I left 20 months ago, I sold it to a friend who sold it to a friend who never used it, so sold it back to me! It’s way cheaper than public transport even though I will hopefully only be here for a maximum of one more month. It felt so good to see Sky again. Like all of my possessions, he is blue and not the prettiest of bikes, but the fastest of a bike his size. My bum sat on the wide cushy saddle and sighed with relief. I spent two years using him as my sole means of getting around London and it felt great to be back on him!
I was just going to go to a cafe down the road, but that wouldn’t be such a good reunion with Sky, so I decided to go down to the Southbank which is about six miles from where I’m staying. That’s always been my favourite part of London and always will be. I’ve had many romantic strolls, romantic endings, many strolls discussing life (ok, dissing whatever boyfriend I was with at the time) with good friends, strolls alone as I thought and thought and threw all the negativity into the rapidly moving, mesmerising, cleansing and energising Thames. Many memories, but always feelings of hope, positivity and rejuvenation. What a good place to sit and work on my job applications.
Off we rode, down the familiar streets we used to rush down always late for something. Sky never let me down, but sometimes the traffic did as I scrambled from one tightly scheduled commitment to another. I refuse to do that now and life is so much more enjoyable. Sky really does ride fast so it was hard not to go a bit slow and breathe in all of the sights. We started off in a newly built neighbourhood where the buildings aren’t so pretty and are very boxy. As we cycled towards Westminster, the huge grand Victorian houses started appearing. They are so beautiful and carry such a fascinating history. We passed by hospitals that even though may not be in use anymore, still have their historical significance painted on them. I really do love that about London. Our ride was along the river and I noticed all of the new builds, of which there are many, that have occurred since I was last here.
Just like that, we were at the roundabout where if you turn left at MI-6, you would arrive at the very first place of work I had in London. I remembered the excitement I felt the first day I walked along the river in complete and utter disbelief that I FINALLY got that job in London after 12 years of planning and working hard to get there. To be honest, that feeling took a long time to fade. As a US citizen with no roots in England, that seemed like a pretty impossible dream. I just didn’t want to give up. It’s a good thing I’m an expert in making things happen. I must remember that now as my current dream/goal seems to have just one too many challenges.
Soon I saw the tops of the Houses of Parliament appear over the trees and I giggled with the memory of how this was the walk to get to Paul’s work. He took me under his wing when I moved to London and we had lots of fun, usually involving too much alcohol, all on his wallet. Well, let me correct that, I had lots of fun and he had lots of trouble. We’re still in contact, so I guess I didn’t do too much damage. The closer I got to the pinnacle Big Ben, the pavements became more and more dotted with people. People of all different ages, sizes, colours and languages. For the first time, it felt good to be home. As I cycled by with the cold wind trying to enter my ski hat and face mask, I could hear all different languages. There is no city in the world where I’ve been to that has been so diverse. Mind you, there are lots of big cities I’ve never been too. I didn’t feel the need to visit after I moved here.
I went around Westminster square and crossed over the bridge. It gave me the opportunity to play my favourite game of ‘how many photos can I be in?’ which used to entertain me on my journeys in between offices. It’s great to see the faces of people who are visiting this city and have never seen Big Ben. The pavement on both sides of the bridge was just packed side to side of people taking photographs and wondering at the marvel of it all. I never took that view for granted and often planned my cycle commute so that I would pas by. The crowds of people never bothered me.
I was soon to arrive at my destination. I made a sharp left after the bridge and 10 seconds later, saw the massive steel structure that is the London Eye. I have been in it four times and the view is always beautiful, day or night! I smiled again thinking how many times I met people just in front of it, always out of breath because of course I was late! The smells from the street food near Southbank Centre kissed my nose and reminded me to breathe in deeply. I parked up in the same spot I always did and wandered off to see my old friend, the Thames.
I found myself a prime seat in the Southbank Centre, overlooking the Thames with my back turned so I couldn’t see all of the paying customers searching for a table. I took out the water I brought from home and started to work. It was great to look up and see the river rushing by, children running to and fro, people standing by the edge of the balcony pondering life. It’s a beautiful place. It’s noisy inside, but a nice background noise because if it’s too quiet, I just think about how much my heart hurts and how I know I can’t do much about the situation with CC and I (especially when we can’t talk!!) right now. There are people of all colours wearing all different styles of dress and speaking all kinds of languages. London truly is a magical multi-cultural place. I love it. If I could get a job on the river and bring CC here with me, I would happily live here temporarily in between our circumnavigations.
I took a basic boat safety training course last week (that was amazing!!) which made me realise that maybe my dream of paying off my student debt quickly and reuniting with CC isn’t so far fetched. So that’s the dream I’m working on now. Let’s hope with all of my experience in turning dream to reality, it doesn’t take 12 years. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the sea because if I can’t be with my human love, than I can find comfort in my natural love. As long as I have the sea, things don’t seem so bad.