We joined a group of ex-pats and west side locals for an eight mile walk along the Thames River between Putney Bridge Station and Richmond.Â Our walk was broken into two mile segments by stops at three cozy pubs along the way.
Itâ€™s easy to forget how quiet London can be â€“ or how much green space still exists in some areas.Â The personality of each borough continues to impress and amaze me.Â Most of our walk wandered through residential areas looking over the river, though we did happen upon a rowing club, complete with rowers busily readying to take the water.Â Some of the communities along the river had gardens where bamboo and tropical plants still thrive through the moderate winter.Â Lush green grass still grows under topiaries and tasteful statues.Â Where there is water there are also reminders of New Orleans and San Francisco in the architecture.Â Itâ€™s nice to find something familiar so far on this side of the globe.
There were fascinating individuals among us; I barely scratched the surface of the knowledge that brought all of these intriguing individuals to London.Â (Of course, it isnâ€™t surprising that work brought almost all of us here; Americans have a very hard time living abroad without a work or student visa.)Â What most of us do have in common is a sense of adventure and a desire to see new things beyond the comforts of home.Â We are looking to be challenged and to question the ways in which we all fit into the fabric of life, the universe, and everything.Â Each of us has a unique story, but there are common themes.Â Itâ€™s funny what we miss about home â€“ and how we define it.Â The tactile things (especially food) seem to be pretty high on the list of things we miss and the things weâ€™ve come to love about London.
Although the walk itself was incredible and the fresh air was the best thing I could have done for my body, I am so thankful to have shared a day full of conversation with fantastic people…Â I learned that not everyone from Vancouver lives in an igloo, not everyone likes the high-five, not all Californians turn their nose up at fish â€˜nâ€™ chips, there are British people who donâ€™t think I am undermining the economy or committing a crime when I buy soy butter, and that I now have a group of friends that live close enough to me that we can meet for a burrito.