I wish I'd had time in the last few weeks to write here, it's sad that a lot of the happy moments and funny stories I remember now, will be forgotten, and lumped into a sentence like "I had a great time in London".
In the time since I moved to Hackney and finally had to learn to take care of myself completely on my own, there have been a lot of experiences that I would prefer not to remember. Those memories too, will turn into "it was rough going for awhile, but I got through it".
Today I'm going to my old neighbourhood to say goodbye to Portobello Road, Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park, Big Ben, and a few of my other favourite places in the city. I'll take pictures of things I've already taken dozens of pictures of, in hopes of capturing all of the little things that make this part of London so special. These pictures too, will be part of a file on my computer or a photo album that will say things like "London's great! Look at how amazing it is!" or "everybody should visit there - there is so much to see and do!"
Those photo albums will be full of good memories.
Lately I've been thinking about one of my favourite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond - the one when Robert and Amy get married. The whole wedding is a complete fiasco (as expected), with Marie (mother-in-law from hell) causing all sorts of problems and even interrupting the ceremony to talk about how she's feeling about their wedding. At the end of the episode, Ray gives his best man's speech. In it, he talks about editing. About only keeping the nice pictures, and forgetting about the bad things that happened. Focusing on the good memories that made the day special so ten years later people could say to each other "wow - that was a fantastic wedding, wasn't it!"
I'm glad that people have the tendency to do this, to forget about the problems and stresses that happen and remember or even exaggerate the good times. Are we lying to ourselves? Or being childish and silly for trying to forget the tears and fights and headaches? Or are we smart because we know that when we're 90 years old and not running around after members of the opposite sex, or children, or 'the perfect job', or traveling around the world, we are going to want to sit with a cup of tea and smile as we think back and remember the wonderful lives we've had.
Ten days until I say goodbye to London. A place that was never on my Top 5 Places to Visit list, and that didn't seem like it would be all that exciting to live in. A place that cost me thousands of pounds, hard times, job worries, stress, commuting problems, lots of tears, and all sorts of other negatives that I am damn proud to say hurt me, but did NOT break me.
So I edit.
When I'm back in Canada, telling stories about living here, I'll talk about the lovely accents, crazy expressions and sayings they have, the fabulous pubs and beer, friendly people, beautiful children, amazing parks and sights to visit, delicious food and incredible street markets where you can literally find anything. I'll say it was a hell of an adventure, an opportunity of a lifetime, and that I've never regretted moving here. I might even make everything that happened this past year sound like a happy accident.
"Yep, writing report cards was so stressful, I spent a month in front of a computer, adding this, and deleting that, basically working 80 hour work weeks. It was terrible. But you know, it was really good experience for me, and almost every report was a positive one. I was miserable, but it's all over, and now I completely understand why teachers get summers off!
Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I spent 24 hours in Brighton?! One of the best times of my life..."