Liam and I went about our typical routine for the better part of the week while my in-laws tirelessly continued their major sightseeing attempts. I was so impressed with their get up and go attitude and willingness to take on public transportation around London on their own. We celebrated the end of their trip in style as Keegan and his father went off to a Football match and Keegan's mom and I took our favorite little gentleman to Afternoon Tea.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Nothing motivates a movement to clean, organize, and get the ducks in a row more so than a visit from the in-laws. With a mad last minute dash to
Okra Ikea, a good scrubbing of the bathrooms, and a general sweeping of all loose ends still dangling into any empty drawer we could find, we were able to welcome Keegan’s parents into what felt like some semblance of a home complete with decorative pillows and brightly colored throw blankets (something Ikea is good at). We kicked off the visit with a trip straight to the pub (how else would you make someone feel at home in the UK?!) for a Sunday Roast and some cask beer. Keegan took his mom to Jersey Boys for her birthday then we snuggled our weary jet-lagged visitors into their newly constructed bed. Liam, of course, woke bright and early to acclimate his guests to Greenwich Mean Time and I shuttled him off to school while my in-laws then merrily commenced an extensive, week long tour of the city on foot. Given their plans to check out some of the major sights I haven’t had the chance to see yet, I had every intention of joining them to play tourist in my own city. As soon as we collected Liam, however, I realized my four year old’s stubborn independent ideas of how we should spend our afternoons would quickly snuff my excited head of steam and for the most part Grandma and Grandpa were on their own. All the same, somehow we managed to coerce him into joining us at least on Monday and we headed off to Westminster Station. To me, this is a quintessential introduction to London. As you alight the train, minding the gap of course, where you have been crammed in between passengers like a sardine, you feel mostly sweaty, but somehow still exhilarated by the fact that you actually deciphered the electrical circuit drawing Tube Map and by some small act of God, found your way here. Momentarily and in a panic, you try to reorient yourself, but you get swept up in the crowd and quickly decide to surrender to the masses of people who all seem to know where they are going rather than swim upstream. You see the escalator, confidently forging ahead experiencing a fleeting moment of relief as going up can only be a good thing, but your confidence is squelched by the booming voice from a hurried businessman behind you, “Move aside. Stand on the right!!” As you continue to get bumped and shoved up the remainder of the escalator, light is visible. You hurry now, the soreness from being elbowed in the ribs fading, the excitement of the tourists at the top of the stairs palpable. You finally emerge onto the bank of the Thames River, beautiful countless bridges soaring across, and Big Ben looming majestically overhead. You try to play it cool, to be a “local,” but you cannot suppress the smile twitching at the corners of your mouth. This is London. I am in London. London is my home. I AM a local.
After we stopped drooling over Big Ben and the Thames, we headed up the London Eye for the ever so thrilling bird's eye view of this amazing city and concluded the in-law's first day (and my only day with them as it turned out) with a boat ride as the lights came on in the city.