Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maybe it Takes a Canadian

Most times when I tell a native Londoner about my book - a London travel guide - they do a double-take.

'Wait a second,' they say, staring at me as if my face will reveal my nationality (if they haven't already figured it out by my accent). 'You're not from here, are you?'

When I explain that I've lived here for five years but I'm from Canada, they usually nod. 'Ah, yes. Sometimes you need a foreigner to introduce you to your own city.'

While I'm not saying I know London better than someone who's lived here their whole life, in a way, I have to agree. We take for granted what we know best, and we don't have the same curiousity and urge to explore as someone who's new to town. Even though I have been here for awhile now, I still love walking down the street of gleaming white terraces, the strange cadence of the siren blaring by. Something as simple as an iron lamp-post or the gold-lettered sign on the pub will remind me that I'm in a different world than the one I left behind. I always go to end of the alley to see if something cool is around the corner -- whereas in my hometown I always chose the fastest route possible.

From the rubbish bins to the church steeples, London still holds that foreign appeal to me. And I hope that never changes.


Deniz Bevan said...

Go Canada go!
"London still holds that foreign appeal to me. And I hope that never changes."
I hope so too - lately I've been really conscious of this effect (after two road trips to the States in as many years), and have been trying to focus on seeing Montreal "properly" - especially since we're hoping to relocate within the year!

Yannick said...

Hi Marsha,

Know very well the feelings you are describing. There is always something new to discover in London, even a fairly simple street can yield some secrets!

Although I do not share your love for rain, I do have a Variety Lab song called London in the Rain, in which the main lyric -it's a lounge song - is 'I like London in the Rain'. It's from one of the Hotel Costes compilations. You should check it out

Enjoy your holiday in Egypt!


P.S I like your book stall idea! I so want to take part in that.

Marsha said...

Deniz - I love Montreal and when I moved away, I really missed it and regretted not exploring more. I love the Plateau and in particular the restaurant on Duluth - Au Pied Cochon (sp?) or something along those lines. And, of course, smoked meat, bagels, poutine... now I'm hungry. Have some for me! :)

Marsha said...

Hi Yannick,

Funnily enough, I have that CD and I love that song!

Glad to hear you're up for the book busking - you're in. :) Thanks for your help with the edits last week and I'll see you when I get back!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have found your site. I am planning a small leap across the Atlantic next year, to work as a qualified social worker. I've started doing my research, and following you around is hopefully going to help!