Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Today was a pretty productive day. I didn't get as much school work done as I had hoped, but I did get to run a bunch of errands as well as go to a truly interesting and voluntary lecture on development in Africa. I'm very interested in Africa and I may have to do some work on that subject. Who knows, maybe i'll move there or something someday.

At any rate, I'm a bit more coherent tonight, so I want to reconfigure my comments from yesterday. Basically, many people I have met here describe living here as "transformative". I don't think it's anything unique about London - I think it's more related to the process of moving to a totally new place, meeting new people, and especially learning and interacting with people from different cultures. This university (or "uni" as they say here), is a great place for that because I already have more friends (associates) from different places in the world than I did in the States. So, if I want to talk about the political process and the Zapatistas in Mexico, I can talk to Victor and learn his perspective. Or if I want to know about Palestine from the perspective of someone who was born and grew up there, I can have coffee with Azar. Etc.

You get the idea. Growth opportunites abound here in ways the States could never do. I am challenged every single day here in one way or another and it's a great thing. Much of my time in the States the last couple of years was spent in rank boredom. But I'm not bored here. Quite the contrary - I'm overwhelmed with things to do because there is always someone who wants to do something and you want to do that with them because it's a bonding experience as well as a learning experience.

Is this unque to London? I don't know. But I never encountered such a thing in the good ole US of A.

Of course, all of this raises the question: Does this mean I want to stay?

I can't answer that yet - it's a complicated issue. Not only is it not easy for Americans to stay in London, I haven't yet reached a point where I really miss America. I certainly miss family and friends, but I don't miss the US. (Ok, maybe the ready supply of burritos.) If that point never comes, if I don't reach a point where I miss the US, then I suppose that is my answer. But at the risk of breaking the heart of the most adorable 2-year old ever, I do have to consider not returning once my program is up.

Of course, all of these thoughts have to be put into a certain context. Professionally, it may make more sense for me to stay in Europe anyway. Or, if not Europe, some other area of the world. I know that so far I'm extremely interested in development and the role that government can play in creating the conditions for economic investment and how that helps to stabilize nations. So, I am starting to look at organizations that do that type of work, either non-profits or businesses (obviously, business means more money for me). But this is all cursory, 3 weeks into my life here type analysis.

The point is, I like it here. I like my school, I like my new friends, and I just like my life - more so than I did at any point in the last 16 months.

Oh, and I like that I will get to see the Redskins take on the Bucs via satellite this Sunday at Sports Cafe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you've been in the big city across the pond for all of three weeks and you are actually openly contemplating staying there for good? Isn't this just a euphoric high because you are in the "thrill of the hunt" mode where everything is new and wonderful? One would think that you could have the same growing experiences in any other culturally diverse city like Dublin, Manhattan, Toronto or anywhere else that language wasn't a barrier and you were as open and willing to as you are right now.

You must realize that you are living a blessed existence because at the age of 29 you get to explore a new world that happens to be in a foreign land. You get to go back to school with the adult knowledge that 5+ years in the workforce brings you. You get to make up for past educational mistakes by studying hard, setting a good example and making good grades not because your mother wnats you to but because you want to. And even though the last 16 months were glum you get to fix that too by moving on from sadder times in a happier internal but just different external place.

The point of all this is the place that you have moved isn’t physically so different than Washington DC or Atlanta, but for you it is exactly what you needed mentally to get away from yourself in those other places. You allowed yourself to be unhappy for 16 months because you really didn’t have an excuse to be happy. Now you have the excuse and her name is London.

Remember, your world is what you make it and your openness to the newness of London is what helps to make that such an enjoyable city. When you decide to come back across the pond America can be just as glorious as the UK if only you will be willing to be open again!

BTW… The Redskins will still suck whether you come back or not. :)

9:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Don't go to the Sports Cafe, all the Americans hang out there. : )

9:32 AM  
Blogger liondog said...

2 year old will be sending mail to missing uncle Stephen......

8:09 PM  

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