Returned from my trip to London last night. For some reason, this visit was much more pleasurable than the trips I'd made in the past to London. But, then again, I was pregnant with my son the last time I jetted over the pond so nausea and not being able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner could have contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for England.
Our company merged with a UK company and I had a chance to meet my new colleagues. They all seem very nice. The company is located in Guilford which is a quaint town south of London which emitted all the characteristics of a London town that you'd read about in a novel - cobblestone roads with small shops and restaurants, mixed in with windy roads and homes hidden behind beautiful gardens. It was very green and very pretty.
I'm not sure how often I'll have to visit but there were several times I realized I was a world away from the US - from the triangle sandwiches at lunch slathered with mayo, meat and cucumbers to the toilets where the handle is always located on the right (that threw me every time!!)
But more than the "things" were the conversation and lifestyle differences. There didn't seem to be a rush to get things done. I ran out with a colleague to get Charlie and Lola books for my children at the local bookstore and we spent 1/2 hour looking at books by British authors without a care for the time. When getting gas, you don't pay at the pump - you pay inside and stand in the "queue" for however long it takes. Lunches and dinners were enjoyed at leisure and every meal ended with an espresso (well, not for me since I don't enjoy the java). It was very obvious that there was less stress and more time spent listening and engaging people in conversations and discussions - and not always about work but about life and learning.
I know that will leave me quickly, but today I tried to worry less on how quickly I got things done and focused on stopping a few times to just savor a moment. How very English of me...