I gotta say, London was a winner for me in the Family category. I don’t’ know if it was because our own family dynamics changed or if London was as lovely as it seemed to be.
I can validate the perspective that Londoners are not overly friendly people, but I can also say that I had a few really lovely interactions with people.
Here’s are my research findings:
- Work hours might be a hard one for me to personally track because I’m working second shift, I can’t really say I got a good impression of when people were working. I don’t want to presume information, so for London, I’ll say this might be a pass.
- The parks were beyond lovely. We explored probably ten different parks while in London and they were all full of people. I really, really loved how people just hung-out at the park. In every park we visited there were people hanging out on blankets just enjoying the outdoors. There were people sunbathing, people reading, people out with picnics, people napping, just a lovely mix. During our last week, Nolan and I actually took a picnic lunch to the park a few times. I found a shady spot, laid out our blanket, took off my shoes, and read my book while Nolan played. We’d make it about three hours, just enjoying the outdoors. I also tried to take note of the number of people on their phones, I really tried not to be biased about my research, but I gotta say, it was rare to find someone one their phone. Most people were reading a book or in a group talking and laughing together.
- Coffee shops were equally as lovely. I popped into as many as I could during our stay in London. Most of the coffee shops were full of people reading the paper or talking to each other. Again, I really tried not to be biased, but I did not find many people just zoned out on their computer or phones. There seemed to be 2 coffee shops on every city block, so I think each one really had its own ‘locals.”
- A sense of community is an interesting one in London too. It’s a major city and each of the little burrows seemed to be so different than the next. For example, Tottenham seemed to be rich in Muslim culture. I ran the same 4-mile look about twenty times in Tottenham and always passed the same few cafes. The outdoor patios of the cafes were always full of men talking and laughing, which leads me to believe there was a strong sense of community. I really wanted to stop and ask them … where are all your wives – but I never did.
Here are a few other general operations:
- I think Londoners want to smile, it’s just not part of their DNA. During one of my Mom’s Day Out, I intentionally tried to make eye contact and smile at as many people as I could. The response was always a smile back, in some cases, even a surprised smile back. One person even said, “you aren’t from around here, are you?” – to which I laugh and said no.
- London, as with any big city, is extremely diverse within the burrows. Notting Hill, Stoke Newington, Tottenham, these are all so different.
Here are a few of my favorite picture from London.
By far my favorite picture of me and Nolan from London.
Nolan and me at the Park on a random morning.
Another random day at the park.
Nolan and Daddy talking about Bugs at the London Zoo.
From one of our Mommy and Nolan Day Outs.
One of my favorite moments between Jim and Nolan.
Daddy and Nolan have a sword fight.
Just a day in London on the bus.
Nolan wanted to stop and smell the flowers.
Nolan and Jim walking to the Tube Station.