I’m taking my son to London this summer!
Of course I have been to London twice before: once in 2006 when I went and explored it on my own and once in 2010 when Paul and I went on our “honeymoon” (and spent a day at the Tower):
This is me at the White Tower in 2010. Paul and I had not yet learned to take selfies.
This is the first time Ben will go to London though. He’s been to Paris and Verona and Venice, to Basel and Zurich, but the closest he’s been to the British Isles is either visiting Victoria or the British pavilion at Disneyworld (both are equally fake-English – I actually felt quite at home in a fake Tudor cottage sweet shop in EPCOT)
I had been holding off on the UK because it’s easy to visit. I like my world traveling to be more exploring and challenging. Visiting Britain (or any of the British Isles) doesn’t require any language or cultural effort. It’s actually comforting for me to visit Britain because it’s so much like home: growing up with an English parent, in a former colony, in a borough that boasted two separate tea rooms and an invisible “Tweed Curtain” separating it from the rest of Victoria, means that I totally get shows like Very British Problems. I may have gone all-in on my mother’s family heritage of Brooklyn Jewish, but I also have British citizenship by descent, and I grew up in a country that was still governed by the British constitution until I was four.
But now, we’re going to Eurocamp! A handful of us will be representing Brooklyn – and the USA based B-PSA groups – at the camp in Newbury. And on the way back, we’re going to stop in London, see the city, stay at Pax Lodge, and see two of Ben’s three namesakes: Big Ben and the Tate Museum (Unfortunately, while there is a PAUL chain of patisseries, there is no major “Boothe” attraction to check off Ben’s full name).
We’ll go swimming at the ponds on Hampstead Heath. We’ll ride the Eye. We will go to the Museum of the City of London, and to the Tower and the Bridge; we’ll go to the War Rooms. I will drag my son with me to shop at Camden Market (Actually, I may leave him in the hostel room for that.) We will see what we can in the two and a half days we have, from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday morning. It isn’t a lot of time, but I’m still excited to have it.
So we’re going to London. And it’s a Mama-Ben adventure, like our trip to Switzerland, because Paul doesn’t have the days off to go with us. I still look forward to it, even if I have to miss my husband (and Ben has to miss his father). It will be a great adventure. And while Ben is not as excited about it as I am, at least, after listening to Neverwhere, and getting over his suspicion of China Mieville to read Un Lun Dun, he’s somewhat interested in visiting the city that has inspired many, many fantasy versions of itself. Or he could just be interested in riding the London Eye. Who knows what goes on in the brain of an almost ten year old?