Amazing cooks and amazing people in general, the summer that I stayed with them they opened up their home and took me all over London and the country as if it were no problem. They made a different meal every night, took me to museums, old churches, and to visit other family and friends. They wanted to educate the little American girl who in their minds ate McDonald's every day, although luckily I wasn't going to vote to re-elect Bush (and they did ask me that on my first night there).
The back of their house. VERY British.
At times they drove me crazy; sometimes a young girl in London just wants to be a young girl in London. And there were days when I would skip class and just take the subway in to a random neighborhood and walk around seeing all the sights. William is also a debater and would strike up arguments over dinner, when I was tired, hungry, and missing my boyfriend at the time. But as a whole they were two of the most wonderful people I've had the pleasure to spend time with. And they were so in love. My parents are still together, but never in my life have I seen a couple more devoted to each other. A few years ago Renee passed away, and as much as I loved her, I felt so horrible for William. They very much had the stereotypical relationship of the doting yet stern motherly woman behind the eccentric goofy man. They were true soul mates and madly in love until the day she died. Not to mention the world lost a genuine and caring person.
If Renee was the heart of the house, William was the brains. He and I would go on day trips and he would tell me a hundred little facts about old buildings and parks we drove past. He is a walking encyclopedia of London, all things British, and anything created before 1900. He would have to read every little blurb provided at the museum. As you can see even trees were a curiosity to him. And he LOVED to talk to people. The last time I visited he struck up conversations with people of all ages, and lots of attractive women, just to interact with someone else (or in the case of women flirt just to be appreciative of their beauty). Sometimes he'd get this mischevious look on his face, turn to me with a smile and wink, and go off and do something silly. I couldn't help but think he reminded me of my Grandpa Pete (he passed away shortly after I got back from my summer abroad) who could not, not talk to people. I always thought his constant conversations must drive people nuts. "Who is this old man and why does he have to talk to me?" But seeing William do it made me smile to think that there were still friendly people out our world where most people would rather not make eye contact and are too busy with their own lives to bother with anyone else.
After reading my friend, Anne Marie's blog, about her host family in France I started to wonder if that's what all European men are like. Like they know this secret about life, and it's "who gives a shit?" They know nothing is worth being that bothered over and life is about being happy, not worrying over every little thing. I'd like to think in the last 5 years I've made it my life's mission to have this attitude more. So many things roll off my back now and when the time is right I get that devilish look in my eyes too. But I'm not there yet. Maybe that's what retirement is about?
Considering all that's been going on in my life right now I've been extremely stressed out and have my usual urge to run away from life for awhile. In high school and college I would often have these urges to run away to a place like the Outer Banks in North Carolina and find a small hotel that I could disappear to. I'd show up and say, "I'd like a room please," and be gone for a week. I wanted to be by myself to think and watch the ocean. A month ago I seriously considered going on a trip to a hostel in a state park for a weekend, but scheduling prevents me from doing that until January or so. If I had the money, I think I'd go to London and stay with William. I've got a little bit more freedom now, so who knows, maybe I'll be there sooner than I think.
I don't care if it's raining, I want to go back.