It started like any other week, in our Dublin apartment. I coordinated with my clients, checked on the advancement of our different projects, and worked my way through a couple of things on Monday.
On Tuesday, early in the morning, Shana left to go on a business trip to the US. And just a couple of hours later, it was my turn to pack my bags and leave for the airport: after 14 months, I was going back to London for a little bit.
I’ve spent the past week in London, attending a conference where one of the teams I work with was exhibiting on the show floor. We’ve spent 72 long, exciting and tiring hours in networking events, meetups, and at the conference.
And on Friday, while my colleagues were heading back to France, I was checking out of my hotel and crossing London to go from the rich Kensington area over to trendy Shoreditch neighbourhood.
It took a long tube ride on the Circle line to get me to the other side. I checked in to my room, and quickly left to pick up some lunch outside. After a quick look on Foursquare, I found a salad bar nearby, and ended up taking my lunch to go. I sat in the sun, surrounded by local tech workers discussing their projects, their days, listening to different accents and stories.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures getting over 27 degrees. The British man next to me commented on how his neck was going to burn, which made me chuckle. A plane flew by, above, in the clear blue sky. And in the background, one could see the high shining skyscrapers reflecting the sunlight on our little plaza.
After lunch, I went back to the hotel room where I’d stay until the evening: lots of work to catch up on.
Unfortunately I had planned to meetup with an acquaintance in town, but things fell through. I was on my own and when dinner-time came, I decided to walk over to Boxpark, the container park I already went to last year. I found myself eating a lovely vegan Indian curry, surrounded by hip Londoners getting ready for an exciting warm Friday night.
On my way out, I walked back and tried to take in the scenery, the evening lights, and the sheer joy of people enjoying drinks outside of pubs, giving the whole atmosphere a very summery atmosphere.
On Saturday, my friends Daniel and Kim invited me over for brunch with some of their friends, further north in the Shoreditch area. I met Daniel last year when he was kind enough to give me a tour of the Monocle office and studios.
I left the hotel early and, knowing that I had about 30mn to walk, I took my time to enjoy the great sunny day ahead of me. I discovered new areas, walking from Brick Lane over to the northern side, where I found a beautiful canal that I didn’t know existed.
I walked around different markets, places that I can’t wait to show to Shana. I also found plenty of cute and quirky shops, restaurants, bars and a surprising amount of Vietnamese Phó spots — I suspect that it’s trending in London, considering there a few of them in a row.
The hour-long walk was a great opportunity to catch up on my never ending list of podcasts.
I arrived at my friends apartment and discovered a lovely and well decorated place, in a friendly residential neighborhood, overlooking a nice park. Looking down, we could see that a lot of families and groups of friends were outside, making the most of the heatwave.
For brunch, Kim and Dani started us with some salmon & avocado toasts with wasabi mayonnaise – a truly delicious treat. We then enjoyed an egg served alongside potatoes, mushrooms and potatoes with some fresh herbs and spices. We had some prosecco alongside our meal, and better yet, a really fun vibe filled with interesting conversations. Over several hours that felt like minutes, we talked about Europe, Asia, the US, culture, traveling, our family stories about immigration, modern multicultural relationships, and shared recommendations of books/movies/tv shows for the others to discover.
I ended up coming back around 7pm back at the hotel, getting ready to hop on the plane tomorrow morning. I’m not going to like this 6am wake up call to go to the airport, but it’s been a great couple of days in the city and I already can’t wait to go back — hopefully later this year, with Shana.