The first time I went to London I was 27 years old and I felt so at home that I vowed to move there within 5 years, however impossible it seemed. I'm happy to report that the second time felt just as natural, although my attitude about moving there is a bit more realistic now. My husband is a Dutch citizen (not that this matters now after the UK vote to leave the EU) and it would still be extremely difficult to move to Europe; but I still can't/won't stop thinking about it.
My own brain made it difficult to enjoy every moment; maybe that's a post for another day, but we tried to do things that would quiet my sadness and anxiety and remind me of how much beauty there is in the world. This included a trip to a Hindu temple, where we took off our shoes and wandered silently through endless, pure white, elaborately carved marble columns and wooden doors, reading about science and outer space and the experience of being human. There have been very few moments over the past year where my mind was as quiet as it was that day.
We spent nearly 2 weeks in London; I don't really feel like writing about it, but it's worth noting that London does 2 things very, very well (among many others): flowers, and a strange darkness. And since—as anyone who knows me already understands—these are my 2 most favorite things in the entire world, I spent a lot of time absorbed in both.
On our last night in Europe, after 4 days in Scotland, we had a 23 hour layover at Heathrow, so we booked a hotel and took a tube ride back to Hyde Park to sit in the garden one last time.
3 weeks in Europe and not working ended up making me feel a bit like I existed nowhere and could wander endlessly. That was wonderful, but the downside is that some of the best moments blurred together a little bit. But I can't forget all of these flowers, and I will never forget the happiness I felt walking through this garden. After so much sadness and such a tired mind, being surrounded by these colors and the person I love most reminded me that the simplest things are always the most beautiful and meaningful.
To get from London to Edinburgh, we rented a car and spent ~30 HORRIFYING minutes adjusting to driving on the opposite side of the car/road, followed by hundreds of miles of blissful countryside and winding, narrow roads. We stopped in Tanworth-in-Arden for an hour and I sent my love to Nick Drake, where he rests permanently under a big oak tree. And then we had Moroccan chicken and wandered through a tunnel of green bending over the road before we continued north.