Whew, I’m finally back on the plane headed home. Thank goodness. Don’t get me wrong: Bubs and I had a great time in London and Paris. We did TONS and we really enjoyed catching up with friends and family… That said, both of us are also ready to return to our bubble. It’s funny, bc when most people vacation, esp somewhere far away, they go for AT LEAST two weeks since they’re “already traveling so far.” But for us, ten days felt a little long: we get fatigued being away from home. Next time, maybe shave off another day or two. Shrug.
Both cities were amazing, offering lots of walking (which we enjoy), breathtaking landmarks and architecture, tasty foods, and easy transportation, but dayum, we are tired, boss! For one, there’s the jetlag. Bubs had flown in from NYC (EST) and I from California (PST), and then we met in London so it was the intersection of three substantially different time zones. Then, I’m out of shape and neither of us is used to walking 15-20k steps/day, so our bodies definitely had to adjust. (On average, J clocks about 10k and I do like a lame 2k.) Second, the weather in London was cold, rainy, and windy… What can I say, the Valley has made me soft to the elements. Add to that, we did way too much eating out, so yeah, too many bodily changes going on at once. After so many days of hard living (excessive eating/drinking), our stool is coming out like rabbit pellets. Seriously.
Typically, J and I are superstar packers, but this trip was kinda a fail. I blame Bub’s business trip to NYC: he had all his fancy shirts, a blazer, a work bag, his shiny shoes, etc. Then we were also misled by his eldest sister, a shopping aficionado who urged us to take a big suitcase for “all the goods” we were going to buy. It ended up just being kinda cumbersome to lug around.
But that info is just boring details explaining why we felt so damn tired. On the positive side, we had a fun adventure. London reminded me a little bit of Canada, where the common language kinda fools your brain into thinking you know the country and culture but shit is off just enough that something feels amiss. In London, my highlights included having afternoon tea (tea biscuits and scones with clotted cream and jam) with our friends whom we met over a decade ago in Shanghai. They’re very unconventional, and the lady is quite entrepreneurial, so I enjoyed hearing her interesting business ideas. Entrepreneurial people are so refreshing bc I never have to explain why I left my shitty jobs (as with my college roommate and her “what job number is this for you now?” comment). J and I also had some incredible meals, including some fresh, new Mediterranean flavors from Chef Ottelenghi at his restaurant Nopi. Les Mis at the Queen’s Theater was a memorable night: our seats were perfect, just far enough so our necks weren’t strained and stretched but close enough that we were in the midst of the action. Surprisingly, I didn’t completely lose my shit during the performance like I normally do… I mean, I really am wed to the NYC Broadway rendition of the songs… That’s just what I grew up on, and frankly, it’s always going to be my gold standard.
After five days in London, we hopped the Eurostar train to Paris. The ride was pricey (next time, get the tickets in advance!) but comfortable, if somewhat restless. There was an Indian family next to us who brought on their entire lunch– bento boxes of curries, naan, rice, and all– and proceeded to have a freakin’ party on board. To my amazement, they talked THE WHOLE TIME, like 2.5 hrs.!?!? Who has so much to say amongst family??
Paris was a really beautiful transition. Unlike the clouds and gloom of London, the weather was warm and sunny, at least for the first two days. Thank goodness I packed three different outerwear, bc I used it all on this trip. I shed my big puffer and switched over to my thin athletic jacket topped with my F21 red pleather. I was feeling pretty badass and chic sporting my MJ jacket with my edgy side shave. Haha. Yup, side shade (aka quasi-mullet) made its European debut.
In Paris, we met up with J’s youngest sis S and our niece M. S is a project manager, so we got a shit ton of landmarks crossed off our lists in just a few hours. Traveling with other people is always a riot: M was super lax; S was aggressive about hitting the sites; then, as a group there was a lot of indecision (due to decision fatigue?) re: food/drink spots. Usually, J and I like to leave the hotel, come back mid day to rest/nap in the room, and then go out again. On the there hand, S is very much an out all day until late evening kind of traveler. Her very first day in, she got off the 10 hr flight from SFO, cabbed 30 min to the hotel, and then stayed up and out until 11pm. The next two nights, after all of us spent the entire day out, she and J hit up a nearby bar at like 11pm. I declined: I was so tired and the bar scene is even more exhausting. That night they got home after the bar CLOSED at 2am. The next night, it was the same deal except Bubs came home after the first bar closed at 2am, and S continued to hit a second bar with some new friends she made at the first bar! She got back to the hotel at 6am!?!? Hard core, I tell you. She was asking us how late we normally stay out on the weekends. Um, same as during the week, lady. Bubs goes to bed around 9 or 10; I fall asleep around midnight or 1. If we go out, we are almost always home by 11p.
So of course, after we retired to our rooms one of the nights, Bubs was all sighing and stuff. “We need to have better hobbies or new activities for when we travel. We need to be more fun.” Yada, yada, yada. I mean, I’m the first person to be inspired by how other people live their lives, but sometimes it’s so fucking frustrating being downplayed. I mean, I drink but I don’t really go to bars and drink a lot nor do I make friends with strangers in such settings, so what, now that means I’m boring and no fun? Or I’m not a huge shopper who goes overseas and brings back a bunch of loot, so now I have no interests and hobbies? I started getting a little defensive with Bubbey, bc why do I have to keep defending or justifying how I live my life? Am I supposed to keep apologizing for not being the way other people are? When does this stop, this mentality that there is something wrong with me or us and our choices? I dunno. I was annoyed. I mean, already I have self acceptance issues about my career, so please don’t pile on all this other shit. If you want to be a different person with different interests, have at it. But don’t impose that shit onto me. Like the whole bar scene. I’ve given it plenty of tries, and I just don’t like it. I’m not going to apologize for not jiving with it.
I digress. I’ve missed my Marty a lot on this trip. I’ve been really happy with the frequent updates from the sitter. I think I found a good one, so it’s a relief to have options esp since I might be headed back East or to Taiwan again soon. I’m also excited to start cooking at home again. Apparently, there IS such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Seriously. My body needs to stop shitting rabbit poop and get back to normalcy.
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