Sunday, 23 June 2013

Culture Shock!



"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."  

This weekend I had the opportunity to vault that fence and immerse myself in a big, vibrant, energetic city.

And I have to admit, that I found it quite a culture shock.

I lived in London for a short a while after university.  That chapter in my life wasn't terribly pleasant, and whilst the fault for that is in no way London's, being back in this city, driving past familiar streets, seeing buildings I would regularly walk by, inevitably brought back some difficult memories.

Yet it was strangely paradoxical; on the one hand long-buried memories awakening, whilst on the other hand, it all seeming so terrifyingly, wonderfully, new and exciting - after all I'm so different to who I was back then.

Where I live now, is in a small town, nestled at the foot of a ridge of beautiful green rolling hills.  Our tiny corner of this place is so quiet, on the edge of the common, where the only noise at night is that of the owls and foxes, and during the day, the intermittent hourly quiet rumble of trains going by.

There have been times when I have missed the culture of city-living; a desire to have art galleries, museums, big bookshops on my doorstep.  Times when that grass seemed so much greener.

Having lived here for ten years, and then suddenly being back in London I felt like a small child; I stood, open-mouthed, as I took in the height of the buildings around me.  Sky scrapers stretching into the clouds.


Buildings towering over trees...trees!  Where I live nature dwarfs all that surrounds us; trees dominate the buildings leaning over them, protecting them, we live in the shadow of the hills and three or four storeys is considered a great climb.





So many treasures lie hidden around corners, peeping out at you when you least expect it.





































And the architecture will literally take your breath away.






And whilst being awe, and appreciating the scenery, the energy, the anonymity, I must admit to also feeling overwhelmed a few times.

How I had a few brief moments of sudden, heart-wrenching longing for my quiet spot in the world, where I can retreat and be quiet.  Of seeing a skyline punctuated by treetops, and hills.

But being in London gave me so much, and for that I'm so very grateful.

It challenged me to meet some of those long-buried memories and start to file them away again, in the right place this time.

It showed me how much I have changed, and how far I have come.

It allowed me to experience a very different beauty and energy than that which I am used to.

It helped me see that I'm where I ought to be.

It made me appreciate my side of the fence.

It's true: The grass isn't greener.  It's just different.





26 comments:

  1. Fab photos! I was born and bred in central London and love going back up but also love living in my patch by the sea now. You're right, it isn't greener, just different and sometimes I just need to go back home x

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    1. Thank you! I would just love to live by the sea (oh look, there I go again...!)

      You're so right, sometimes you do just need to go back home. xx

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  2. A wonderful post, love the photos.

    London is amazing, I will always love it, but I love my home by the sea more. London always makes me think, most of us never stop to appreciate the beauty of London, some of which you've captured wonderfully in your photos.

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you could see the beauty I was trying to get across.

      I'm enjoying the peace and tranquility back home now. Sometimes you have pop over the fence in order to truly appreciate your own side. xx

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  3. I love this post. Fabulous words and pictures.

    I grew up in the country but after uni came to London and stayed. I live in a leafy green west London suburb now - it's not the country but not quite as hectic or built up as central London. I do confess though, I enjoy escaping back to my mum's, a quiet walk in the woods and through rolling fields - it always feels like a holiday when I visit now.

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    1. Thank you so much.

      It's funny how you can adapt to your surroundings after a while, and yet still have a yearning for places that have also been home. I love coming back home after I've been away, because just for a little while, home feels like holiday. Does that make sense? x

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  4. What a wonderful post. I feel like this about where i live now. I used to live in the countryside and miss it a lot. The town isn't so big but still I need that bit of country. I was recently going through London and felt totally overwhelmed. I started longing for my little house in the town I often say i dislike.
    Thank you for this post and the wonderful photos. The tall building does something magical on the laptop scream when you scroll down! xx

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    1. oooh, that sounds intriguing about the tall building. I wish I could say that it's by design and not accident!

      London can be overwhelming, especially when you aren't used to the pace I think. It's beautiful and magical but in a totally different way.

      Makes you appreciate your home (even if, like me, it can drive me potty at times)! xx

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  5. What a wonderful post and the photos are fabulous. Was so great to meet you over the weekend, would have been great to spend some more time together. Next time :)

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    1. Thanks so much Charly. Yes I'm so sad I didn't get to pick your brain about cameras! Definitely next time x

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  6. Beautiful post :) those pics of London are brilliant. I haven't been there for so long, dying to revisit and take it all in.

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    1. Thank you! It seemed so different and so familiar at the same time - very strange. Would love to know what you make of it when you do go back x

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  7. Fabulous words and pictures, you are definitely right the grass isn't always greener, but every now and then it's nice to have a jump over the fence xx

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  8. Lovely photos. I grew up in London and it always feels like home but after living in the rural countryside I could never live in the city again, but it is nice to dip my toes in every now and then x

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    1. Thank you. Toe-dipping to remember and remind ourselves is good every now and then x

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  9. Such stunning photography! I have a similar relationship with Paris, that you have with London - a place with some rather strange and difficult memories that I haven't really revisited yet. I had no idea that you were feeling like this at the weekend. It makes us appreciate where we come for doesnt it? I hope yu enjoyed Britmums. I was sorry to not see you again on Saturday :( x

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    1. Yes it does make us appreciate it, definitely. Had a great time at BritMums, and I was sad not to see you on Saturday - well I did through a crowd but by the time I'd crossed over you'd disappeared! So many people there! Hopefully we'll meet again soon though xx

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  10. Your photos are fantastic! I'm a bit like you, in that I love to pop into the city now and again but soon find the noise and hustle and bustle overwhelming and i need to get back to my quiet, calm home.

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    1. Thank you! And I'm so pleased it's not just me! What with all those moose and turtles on your doorstep I can see why you'd want to get back to it :) x

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  11. This is a gorgeous post - pictures and words. I'm sorry that London has some bad memories for you, but glad that you're starting to replace them with positive new feelings....it's such a fantastic city! It would be lovely to see you here again some other time. xx

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    1. Thanks Nell. It is a fantastic place! And like you said it's nice to find newer, happier memories. And the children are really desperate to come and see London (and the Queen..) so even more happy times to come.
      Yes, I'd love to see you again soon too as you are a truly lovely lady xx

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  12. Meant to comment on this earlier....fantastic photos of London. It's good to get away from home sometimes to return with a new perspective. There's also something to be said for facing the past and the difficult times, returning in a different stage of your life and recognising that you got through the bad times and came out the other side, happy and stronger for it :-).

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  13. Love the way your photo of your glass completely belies the conclusion that the grass is not greener, just different! I'd love me some of your green grass. :-) Really glad you could lay some bad memories to rest. It was AMAZING to meet you in person and I am plotting ways to meet up again. On either side of the fence. Or if I can find the fence, perhaps on it.

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