Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Week 37 and 38

If April/May was a month full of international travel, May/June is shaping up to be equally exciting as a month of visitors!  We have had a wonderful last 2 weeks of playing Bed and Breakfast (and Barbecue) to some very old and wonderful friends and we now have a couple days respite before the second wave hits.  Between managing little Liam, who was home yet again on holiday (we now have 6 1/2 weeks straight until school dismisses for summer so finally I feel ever so slightly justified since most everyone I know in the states is kicking off endless summer school vacations now...), and maintaining high B&B(&B) standards, I find myself behind on the blogging.  So without further ado:

Before the guests arrived, I found some time to explore the intriguing district of Shoreditch and close-by Spitalfields Market.  A weird mixture of trendy grit and corporate gentrification, Shoreditch did not disappoint my camera’s lens.  Ascending from the train platform, I was immediately greeted by streets lined with spirited graffiti, “vintage” shops and weathered coffee joints, all seemingly settled residents since this neighborhood could remember.  As my eye moved upward along modern glass towers looming over the grunge, however, I had a strange feeling of disorientation at the juxtaposition.  Hipsters walking alongside freshly shaven man boys in suits more expensive than my camera and glorious street food shacks within walking distance of slick sushi chain restaurants made my head spin in confusion.  In my opinion and only based on the couple of hours I spent here, this place has a serious and unfortunate case of identity crisis.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed the explosive visual stimulation as I walked down Brick Lane and through the converted, once derelict buildings of Old Truman Brewery, a case in which gentrification got it right actually.  

I ended my journey with a browse through Spitalfields Traders Market and found myself transported back in time to the days my mom would drag me in and out of antique stores looking for some treasure or another.  At that time, to be blatantly honest, I was bored to tears.  Literally.  At some point, I remember feeling like I could not step foot into one more antique store again or I would absolutely die.  Back then, antiques were old. dank. moldy. dull. boring.  Now . . . . they are (buzz word/ drum roll) “vintage.”  {Although, as an aside, I must say, I do NOT count old, used Converse shoes as “vintage.”  That’s just plain gross.  And smelly.}  Ironically, I could’ve spent all day in Spitalfields Market.  When did that change?!  I must be getting old.  What an incredibly rich and diverse collection from cameras, record players, artwork and yellowed maps in crusty painted frames and antique toys, to furniture, metal enamelware, silver, old tweed jackets and union jack flags, even creepy old doll faces/ parts equally creepily displayed together in an old leather suitcase.  In some stalls, the goods were as beautiful and old as the sweet little ladies selling them.  I managed to drag myself away from it all, only with the promise of lunch at one of those fabulous trailers brimming with soulfood and the restriction of having to carry anything I bought onto the train and on the mile walk to pick up Liam before heading home.  That rusty turquoise vintage bread box was calling my name though, so I will without a doubt be returning . . . to find my treasure.  Maybe this time I’ll be dragging my mom :)

IMG_5839 IMG_5803 IMG_5805 Week 37 and Week 38 IMG_5817 IMG_5819 Week 37 and Week 381 IMG_5818 Week 37 and Week 382 IMG_5835 IMG_5864 IMG_5859 IMG_5809 Week 37 and Week 383 Week 37 and Week 384 Week 37 and Week 387 Week 37 and Week 385 IMG_5854 Week 37 and Week 386 
And of course, with the entertaining of guests comes the fabulous opportunity to play tourist in my own city alongside some of my most favorite people in this world.  2 of my closest friends from architecture school were in town this past week so going to the top of the Shard was a highlight for all of us . . . even Liam, who was extremely skeptical of going that high into the sky!
Week 37 and Week 388 Week 37 and Week 389 IMG_5915 IMG_5876 Week 37 and Week 3810 IMG_5878-001 Week 37 and Week 3811 
Love you girls!  Special thanks for coming all this way to see me!!  (And London, of course!)
(I call this series below, "Reaching for Spring.")
Week 37 and Week 38

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