Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Göteborg to Leeds

Pigeons! In the train station!

So many people here with so many differently colored coats. In Sweden, it seems like almost everyones' coat is black.

The UK is unfamiliar to me, but it somehow feels so much more familiar than Sweden. In some ways, it almost feels more familiar than Seattle, as I sit gazing at the scenery out the trains. I don't know why that is. I don't think it is just the language - when I first noticed it, I was on a train full of Czechs, I think. The architecture, the fields, the occasional horse, the hedged lines between fields, the faint hint of frost seeping out from all the shadows and corners; perhaps it is in some ways like the midwest of my childhood, but in others not. Yet the feeling of familiarity is strong.

I found it funny to see Indian-looking people speaking with Scottish accents. Unexpected! My eyes and my ears could not reconcile.

I love subways. The feel in the core of my body standing on a crowded subway as it accellerates, runs speedily, and then decelerates, working to maintain balance. I feel taller, more at ease in my body, and more grounded when I step off. The faintly dirty, sour smell in the underground stations; I haven't smelled it since I was last in New York City,

Every train station that I have been to (3 so far) has been quite chilly. No overheating for these Brits! I like it.

I like London. I stepped out onto a London street at the King's Cross Station, and felt such joy! The buildings, the people, the double decker buses...I loved it the first time I saw it, at 13, and I still feel that way now that I see it again. I forget when I am away, but the moment I am here again and I step out into it, I want more. I want to visit London more. I want to explore her, to know her, to discover her crooks and crannies.

But, oh my - I had to pay to use the restroom. How very strange that was. Theoretically, I know that this is the way it works in other places, but I have never before paid to use the restroom, myself.

I am eating my first mincemeat pie. I'm not quite sure what consitutes mincemeat. I'm also not quite sure that I like it.

There is, of course, much that I should write about having to do with Sweden. But I think I am so deeply involved in processing it right now that I cannot step back to write about it. I feel more clear here on this short trip to the UK, a lovely little interlude.

I am, however, missing Henrik and Ravenna.