Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A fiery farewell

Having arrived in the UK in June 2000, I never expected to stay more than a year or two. The plan was to complete a Masters and go back to New York.

Little did I know it would take nine years, and that there’d be a husband and two daughters in tow.

This is because I moved to Columbia Road, the best place to live in all of London. There, you not only say hello to your neighbors but also become friends with them. Cheesy, yes, but also true.

It’s probably due to the fact that the street, located in the city's East End, hosts a weekly flower market and is home to many artisan shops, meaning that many people both live and work there. Over the last decade or so, the area has had a resurgence, attracting lots of young families, so we’ve all been really happy there.


So, when we did go (albeit temporarily) it was with a bit of fanfare. We had to say goodbye to a lot of people, so we had a little neighborhood party on Jesus Green, a small park behind our house. We had beer, juice and lots of snacks. The kids ran around, the adults caught up, and it didn’t rain.

What we didn’t expect was a bonfire. What everyone thought was a game to keep the kids busy – gathering sticks, starting with little twigs and ending with larger sticks and then pieces of cardboard – was not pretend, but a plan to light a real fire. Matches and lighters were used, and our farewell probably left an indelible mark on our local park.

We didn’t do it.

I won’t say who did, but you know who you are!!! (Culprit not pictured).

Anyway, we will miss our friends, London and especially our neighborhood.

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