Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Weekend in London

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

After a few days in Florence and one workday in Paris, my beau and I headed to London on Friday for a three-day weekend. I hadnít been to London for a real visit in at least nine years and was looking forward to it. In 1995, I lived in Surrey, to the west of London, for almost two years. I moved there after leaving Paris and right before I moved to Florence.

My beau and I must have walked over 10 miles in three days, admiring the city as well as visiting churches, museums, and markets. One of the places we enjoyed visiting was Borough Market. I love food markets because itís a treat not only for my eyes, but also for my stomach. It also reminded me of my mercato (market) in SantíAmbrogio.

What I enjoy in England are the many parks sprinkled around towns and cities. You almost canít help but walk through a park in London. Now that itís spring, the colors and odors were fantastic. The grass was green, the flowers were blooming, and the buds on the trees were beginning to open.

I love traveling to new and old places: I get to experience new things and breathe in a different air. Three days was short, but just enough for me to enjoy another country that I used to call home.

Out of the last 23 years, I have lived 18 of them in France, England, and Italy. I speak mostly French or Italian and only speak English to my English-speaking friends. I, of course, read and write in English, but I donít hear English being spoken around me much unless I go to the US.

There is something comforting about hearing and reading my mother tongue everywhere I go. Itís almost like being in a warm bath. The words not only swirl around me, but also my own thoughts seem to amplify. Of course, the highlight of my trip was getting lost in a large bookstore where all the books are in English. When I am in Italy and England, usually the selection of English books is limited to wall.

England never felt like home to me, but I do love it. It was probably the only country where I always felt like an outsider. The language didnít bring us together, but rather separated us. People knew immediately that I was American. I enjoyed my trip to London and basked in my mother tongue while taking in the charm of the city. Unfortunately, I didnít get to meet up with any of my friends so maybe I can go again especially since the train from Paris to London is so easy and quick.

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