How showing around visitors lets me see more of my city, and even see the familiar bits with new eyes
24.08.2011 - 01.09.2011 19 °C
I have two sisters, and they recently came to visit me in London, spending 8 days in England. They spent a few days staying at my flat, before moving to a hotel on the Southbank for a more central experience of London.
The great thing about having visitors is that I wind up doing things I haven't yet had a chance to do. For me, this was an opportunity to final get up on the London Eye, the massive wheel across from the Houses of Parliament.
Visitors also provide a chance to see and do thing I wouldn't normally do myself, even with my local friends. I went out to see David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing, toured the Victoria and Albert Museum and even had afternoon tea at Kensington Palace.
More importantly, though, it reminds me that my life in London isn't just life, it is an experience. Much as I talked about in a previous blog, sometimes it is easy to get yourself into a routine. Work has been very busy lately, and many days I am tired and just want to get home and relax.
Having visitors, especially new ones to the city, is a great way to see things that you take for granted every day in a new light. One day, we were sitting in my front room, and my sister was staring out the window. "My God," she said. "Look at that view. What an amazing view!"
I looked out the window, and saw the set of buildings which used to be a school and is now high-end flats and offices spaces for creative industries, backed by a grey, cloudy sky.
"Umm, it's not exactly overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral," I said.
"No, but it is so much different than what you would see at home," my sister said.
I am not sure if the view of my window is really amazing, but it is different than the view I had out of my apartment in Toronto, and I do live on a street of Victorian row houses which you don't get back in North America. So, I looked out the view again, through the eyes of someone who had never been here, and realised it is pretty special, because it is so different than what they might see elsewhere. It's just my everyday view, and the kind of view that people might have all over London, but it is a view of London.
It was a great reminder that I shouldn't take my local commute, or the view out my window for granted. It may be every day to me at this point in my life, but it certainly isn't every day of my life so far. It is my a special experience living abroad, and I can't forgot that.
Now, when I look out my window, thanks to seeing it through my sister's eyes, I can remind myself that it is the view of an experience I am living, and that is pretty special.