Going Back to London
It takes about an hour and a half to get from Lausanne to London, per my friend Patti, who still has a house here. (Her husband moved them to Lausanne for a three-year stint at a consulting firm.) Per a review of flight prices on Easy Jet, a round-trip ticket from Lausanne to London costs about 100 Swiss Francs.
In the abstract, this sounds fantastic.
In Lausanne, I have found a few English-language cultural sources. Arnaud and I went to a theater performance from a troupe that does two shows a year in English. Also, the local large bookseller here, Payot, has a small English-language book section.
London would give me a convenient getaway for a weekend immersion in English-language theater, lectures, bookstores, and museums. I could get off the plane, grab a Time Out, do all the things all day Saturday and Sunday, and limp back to Lausanne on Sunday night.
And I love London. I lived there for three vivid years.
In the less abstract:
My friend Joanne had planned to visit me in Lausanne at some point this year. Over the course of a few conversations, the plan has evolved into a joint vacation—which means we meet in a third place, somewhere not-home for either of us.
As we wanted to meet somewhere not too far afield, given that we don’t have more than a week, the destination options have slowly coalesced around Great Britain, with London as the most obvious port of call.
And after each discussion on the topic, I have a feeling of held breath.
Other than going through Heathrow or Gatwick on my way from one place to another, I haven’t visited London since I moved away, many years ago.
Perhaps my hesitation comes from the vividness of those lived years. London comprised an entire stage of my life. I look back on that life stage with fondness, sadness, nostalgia, and regret.
As one does with all life stages, I suppose.
A part of me likes leaving London where it rests in my heart and mind, captured in the aspic of a time past. Part of me doesn’t want to pop the gelatinous bubble and expose my memories to the city and the Leslie of today, with all our changes and disparities. Part of me doesn’t want to lose the malleable yet protective shell that keeps these memories just distant enough for regard without an emotional flood.
I can’t stay away from London. At some point, going back will make more sense than staying away. Whether my trip with Joanne will mark that inflection point, I can’t yet say. Though I have only a few more weeks to decide.