March 08, 2007

Bench in the sun

Park

After a trip that began with three hours on the runway at Snowstorm City, while they de-iced the plane again and again, and then a long night of flying over the ocean while strangely cheerful flight attendants kept waking us up and giving us food at bizarrely inappropriate times, my husband and I were finally reunited with our daughter. How good it was to hug her at last! She seemed happy to see her overtired, drugged-with-dramamine, zombie-like parents and chatted about her semester as she guided us expertly about the city. We ate in a pub that served veggie burgers, walked through streets in Chinatown that were strung with bright red lanterns, and took a quiet evening stroll along the River That Runs Through the City to look across at the Famous Clock Tower and Equally Famous Government Buildings.

This morning, while our daughter went off to go to her classes and hand in midterm papers, my husband and I walked through the neighborhood where I lived 25 years ago. The building, in fact the whole street of tall pale buildings, is still there, looking very much the same, the lobby filled with Arab women in dark veils. A big American-based hotel has filled up the space near the train station, turning the quiet streets into a bustling area of tourist-type stores with racks of colorful scarves for sale in front. The little bakery is gone, but the pub is still there, with the same wood bar where we gathered to drink and tell stories every night.

The big green park around the corner looks the same as I remember it, with its ponds and fountains and diagonal paths. My husband and I found a bench in the sun near one of the fountains, and then I left him to write in his journal while I walked about and took photos. I came through this park practically every day as a college student, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. It was my first time — well, okay, my only time — living in a city, and I appreciated having all that green space so close by. How strange and wonderful to return 25 years later, so changed myself, a grown-up now with a daughter as old as I used to be, and find the park still here, the same paths and trees and benches in the sun.

Fountain

18 comments:

Kathryn said...

Wheeeee! You're HERE! and tomorrow is tomorrow and I'm so looking forward to it.
Hope you sleep well tonight!

listmaker said...

What a beautiful park. Have a great time!

Sarah Sometimes said...

How lovely.

ppb said...

Have fun!

RageyOne said...

glad to hear you made it there safely. have fun!

Linda (FM) said...

Yea for hugs with Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter, and for exploring old haunts! Enjoy!

Lilian said...

Yes, how lovely, it sounds like a perfect trip so far and I hope it continues this way. It must be thrilling to see how your husband reacts to being abroad for the first time, even though you're still in a "familiarly sounding" place.

Lydia said...

it looks wonderful! have a great time.

Jennifer said...

I lived just around the corner from that very spot 10 years ago (near the train station with the name of a bear) and you've brought it all back. I hope you have a lovely time.

Check out Bathurst Mews, which still has horses at the end (or did last time I visited).

jar said...

I am so glad that you are there and get to see your daughter and that you get to show your husband all the memories. The photos are beautiful. How green the grass is!

Chip said...

time is a strange thing isn't it.

juneaudog said...

Grass? Green grass? Amazing how we can adapt so well to our surroundings. Whether it be changes in seasons or space and even time - going back 25 years - no small feat. Lots of discovery of who we were, and where we came from.

julieunplugged said...

Isn't the whole thing spine tingling? Wonderful experience, memory and shared new memory/experience.

So glad you're writing about it.

Wegie said...

Long time lurker emerging to say "welcome to London!", even though your incoming flight was probably one of the ones keeping me awake in the early hours of yesterday morning!

Grass? Green grass?

Yup. And flowers. You may now have some idea of how much it has rained during the past month over here ;-(

Yankee, Transferred said...

I'm envious.

Kyla said...

How amazing! Have a wonderful time, jo(e)!

Bitty said...

So lovely; have a splendid time!

BeachMama said...

So beautiful and so green! Hope you are having the best time!