Existential homesickness...

>> Monday, 9 August 2010

Dammit. I've just spent half an hour trying to download some music onto a flip video to show you just how gorgeous - yes, just GORGEOUS! - London was today. No joy though(my ignorance, not the flip's), so you're just going to have to take my word for it.


It's funny; up until now, I've not really felt homesick for London. I guess that the excitement of being in Moscow and the attendant stresses and strains have distracted me from the fact that really, this city is my home. This city is my manor.

Since we got back from France on Friday, it seems as if London's been putting on her best face for me. Suddenly she's put on her lippie, thrust back her shoulders, and been strutting her stuff for my delectation. And it's not just that I've had the opportunity to spend some quality walking through Hyde Park this afternoon in the sunshine - although lord knows, I'm not sure that there are many capital cities with such an amazingly beautiful park in the centre of them. No, it's more that I've been reminded of what it is that I really love about this place and which is so noticeably absent from the streets of Moscow.

Diversity.

And you know what? It's not even celebrated diversity, because that would imply that it's noticed. No, London is full of diversity - and no one gives a shit because that's just the way it is, and has been for a long time. Funnily enough, that's what a number of my Russian acquaintances have said they like about my home town; the fact that they can walk along the street speaking Russian as loudly as they like, and no one cares. In Moscow, if you single yourself out in any way, it's noticed; not necessarily in a bad way, but you're still aware that you're 'other'.

But here? You speak French, Swahili, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Lithuanian or Finnish? Well, so what?

God, I love that.

Which is why the fact that we can't fly back to Moscow as planned on Wednesday - due to the thick brown tar that is currently masquerading as air - is somehow not bothering me so much...

15 comments:

Mummy 9 August 2010 at 22:30  

I was saying the same thing on Sunday. Everyone just ignores everyone! I am in love with London very much at the minute though.

Nora 9 August 2010 at 23:54  

Yes, please don't go back to Moscow for a long while. Let them get those forest fires sorted out first and wait for that terrible heat to stop. You stay in London where it is pleasant. You're lucky you get to be there right now.

Mwa 9 August 2010 at 23:59  

I was hoping you'd be able to avoid the horrible smog over there every time I see it on the news. Good to hear you are.

(I can imagine Russians like talking Russian loudly even in London. They seem to like talking loudly everywhere - or is that unfair?)

Tattie Weasle 10 August 2010 at 00:26  

I was worrying about you all the other day when I finally picked up a newspapwer: pleased you are here and not there and yes London is pretty damned special and when you get the chance to look quite, quite beautiful!

mothership 10 August 2010 at 01:14  

I am glad you're not in Moscow at the moment, the smog looks quite horrific.

And I totally, totally get what you are saying re. homesickness. I feel it every day.
Sigh.

xo

zooarchaeologist 10 August 2010 at 08:12  

I have to admit I love London too, as a born and bred Londoner of many generations I often feel homesick when I am in St Albans and make the husband take me out or just drive into the centre myself. I lived under the Telecom Tower for a while, on a sunday morning I would open the window take a deep breath of the smog and then go for a little wander with only the pigeons for company. There is something about London, its life affirming and invigorating, the only city that comes even remotely close for me is Copenhagen.

PantsWithNames 10 August 2010 at 09:11  

I missed the diversity when we were in Bosnia. It was so refreshing to come back and see so much difference here, in the way people talk, dress, look. It's marvellous.

Glad you aren't in Moscow right now, it doesn't look very nice. x

PantsWithNames 10 August 2010 at 09:11  

I missed the diversity when we were in Bosnia. It was so refreshing to come back and see so much difference here, in the way people talk, dress, look. It's marvellous.

Glad you aren't in Moscow right now, it doesn't look very nice. x

Iota 10 August 2010 at 10:51  

That was what struck me about London this time. Yes, it's fabulous, isn't it?

I was wondering what you were going to do re going back to Moscow.

Expat mum 10 August 2010 at 12:33  

It is nice to hear more than just Spanish and Polish (which is what I hear in Chicago). I have fun trying to guess the language as some of them I haven't heard for ages.

nappy valley girl 10 August 2010 at 19:39  

I've just been reading about Moscow in the paper and I'm really glad to hear you're not there. Sounds like it would be best to steer well clear if you can.

I have to say New York is probably on a par with London in terms of diversity. Plus, everyone 'American' is very keen to tell you that they are second generation Italian / Greek / Irish/Korean so it feels very international. I think I would miss that too.

Hot Cross Mum 10 August 2010 at 21:15  

London is fabulous, especially on a lovely summer day. I miss Englishness regularly and bemoan the fact that there are no village greens in Ireland. And I'll never get used to a green post box. It's just wrong.

Potty Mummy 11 August 2010 at 21:26  

Mummy, when the sun's shining, who wouldn't be?

Nora, that's the plan...

Mwa, not unfair. Definitely not unfair.

TW, yes, it's getting that chance to look which presents the problem when the kids are in tow!

Mothership, sorry. I know I should stop posting about it. (x)

ZA, Copenhagen? Really? I liked it, but have to say I find NYC and Moscow closer to giving me the same buzz (but then perhaps that's not what you're looking for?)

PWN, diversity is underated, isn't it?

Iota, glad you felt it too!

EPM, me too!

NVG, I always wondered about that. You know, saying you're Irish when you had a great grandmother from Kerry. It just seems unnecessary to me - but then I guess I'm so confident of my Englishness that I wouldn't get it.

HCM, green? Well I suppose that makes sense...

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings 12 August 2010 at 12:56  

Never been to London, but I would love to see it and that diversity you are talking about. They say it's that way in New York City, but where I live? If you are "diverse" then, yeah, you stand out! Glad you get a couple more days.

dulwich divorcee 13 August 2010 at 16:43  

Oh, I love London. I remember seeing an episode of Teletubbies with the girls when they were tiny and we lived in Belgium. A clip of some bog-standard London iron railings had me in floods of homesick tears. Funny the little things that get you. I hope the smog lasts for ages!

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