I spent Wednesday in Central London, roaming the streets and being a tourist with one of my closest friends, Thi. After nearly a decade of friendship, sharing stories, experiences, (lots of) emotions and chai tea lattes, she has become more like a sister. It was very special to finally have her in London and show her where I grew up.
Thi has always been a free spirit. She is light and warm, curious and passionate, creative and layered, introverted yet extroverted. She has been traveling the world for the past four or so months, learning about herself and the people that surround her. Her love of colors, print, designs, textures and fabrics have lead her on a sensual adventure through Bali, India, Turkey, Germany, England (to name a few), and soon Spain and Morocco.
Having explored so many cities and countries, she prefers to explore on foot. She stops to look into small shop windows, gets lost in conversations, and stumbles across hidden cafes and local wonders.
I wanted to wander with her.
Our day would involve walking, cake, a selfie stick (sorry integrity), gelato, laughter, sunsets and inspiration.
We started the morning with a walk around my neighborhood, a quick detour to my family home for art supplies, and then jumped on a train to London.
The first stop was Neal’s Yard for lunch with my dad at the Wild Food Cafe. Seeing her experience the tiny, colorful, higgledy-piggledy restaurants reminded me to appreciate London and her quirks. My dad is a regular at the restaurant that we visited. Not only is he a regular, but a warm, inquisitive and (when he wants to be) personable man. As a result, when he joined us, we were suddenly approached by all of the waitresses and waiters who stopped by “just to say hi”. It was lovely.We then got gelato in Covent Garden, a family (read father) tradition. Almond sorbet is a real thing.
My dad recommended walking the Mall from Trafalgar, so we did exactly that! We started at the National Portrait Gallery, stopped by St Martin-in-the-Fields, and then walked down the Mall. We dipped into the ICA so that Thi could experience the eclectic mix of books that they stock, and then reemerged into the sunlight. It was a beautiful day so we walked through the park to Buckingham Palace, where I was rather underwhelmed by the soldiers and their red uniform. To me, they looked like children dressed up as nutcracker men.
After the Palace, we walked through the park to Hyde Park Corner, and then jumped on the tube so that Thi could meet my best friend, Becky.
Becky was like the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. We flew through Portobello and the small side road’s leading to Becky’s house. Once there, tangerines, tea and girl-talk awaited us. We melted into the sofa and got lost for a few hours. We left in time to catch the sunset, and when London decides to do a sunset, she does them proper.
Seeing London from Thi’s perspective was exciting and refreshing. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have grown up in and around this city.
Seeing my friendship with Becky from Thi’s perspective was also special. I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a soul-sister who, after everything we’ve been through, somehow still loves me. The opportunity to introduce two such loves to each other? Pretty priceless.