I've decided to keep this painting because really, this is where my London adventures began. The hostel I stayed in was only 2 blocks away and so for my 5 days in London, this is where my wanderings began. This is where for the first day or so I would feel so overwhelmed I wondered what the hell I was doing so far from home, wandering around in this huge city; and fretting about how to capture it in my little sketchbook with my pens, brushes and watercolor paints. I had never left the continent. I'd been quite content to explore Canada and not deal with currency exchange and such a drastic change in time zones. It was almost a bit too much. I phoned my Aunt in Toronto from my home in Edmonton mere minutes after I finally committed and purchased my ticket to London. I was crying. I was excited but scared! My hands were shaking and my voice was trembling. Thirty-two years old and having a panic attack about a really cool trip. I'm so glad I went though. Once I got the hang of how to read the tube map (thanks Chris!) and kept an eye out for which platform I needed, Earl's Court station was no longer daunting. Five days later, when I left the hostel and got into the station to leave London and head into the countryside, I was walking quickly, knowing exactly where I needed to go. It felt marvelous! I could easily pick out the travelers that had just arrived. They puzzled over the map, looked around, flagged down the attendants, clung to their luggage with the same scared look that I had. 'It's OK', I thought. 'You'll get the hang of it in no time!'
I will go back to London one day. I have no idea when. There is still so much of Canada I haven't seen yet. I found my oyster card the other day. It was hiding in my knapsack, and if I remember correctly, there is about five pounds on it which is good for a few rides on the tube, to at least get me to my accommodation when I do finally return.
And that's why I'm keeping it.