November 16, 2018

Week in Review from London

I have been in London for the past week and it has provided an interesting view of the world. I am blessed to be able to travel for work and coming to London is wonderful because I love it here. My beloved father was English and I feel close to him in England. There has been a lot going on both in the UK and America and while some things are easy to write about, others have been a struggle to even understand.  Here are eight things to share from my week in London.

1) I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that when I write about staying with Victoria and David Beckham, I am speaking about the brother and sister-in-law of the “Englishman”. We broke up 4 years ago, but I remain close to his family. It is odd to not have spoken to him for so long, but that is what he wanted as he chose to break all ties with me and my son. I have been to London 4 times since we broke up and stayed with his family each time. I love this family. We don’t speak about the Englishman because life has moved on and there is no need. The simple truth is that these people are the silver lining from that relationship. They are like family and that won’t change, so I guess things worked out exactly as they were meant to. My son and me love the Beckhams and are blessed they love us back.

2) I spent yesterday out with my favorite 13-year-old young Englishman and he is magic. We took the train to the mall and spent the day shopping and having a lovely lunch. We actually went for Mexican food, which seems odd to be doing in England when you’re from California, but it was excellent. We had a great time and were there for hours. When we realized how tired we were and wanted to head home, I asked a young woman where the subway was. She didn’t know. I then asked a security guard and he didn’t know either. I asked a total of 5 people where it was and nobody knew. I finally asked my young friend how it was possible nobody knew where the subway was and he responded that not everyone likes sandwiches. Really? They all thought I was asking for the Subway sandwich shop, not the train! We may all speak English but some things are lost in translation.

3) I went out for dinner with Victoria and a group of her school mom friends. They were celebrating the end of the year and it was sweet of them to include me. They are a very pretty group of ladies and it was interesting to listen in. They all have young kids and so it was strange to be so removed from that time in my life. They were the politest group of women I have ever been with. It felt like I was out with Princess Kate and her friends. No swearing, perfect table manners, and invisible judgment of my cussing. One of them used the word stupid when referring to someone and was mortified to have been so uncivilized.  It was nice to be a Lady of London for a night, even though I wasn’t exactly a lady and we weren’t exactly in London. I did only swear a dozen or so times throughout our 2-hour meal. Baby steps. I’m much more Essex than royalty, and I like it that way.

4) I have seen countless women wearing either a Niqab, Hijab, Burka, or Dupatta. It is a little unsettling to tell the truth. Not because I am judging their faith, but rather because I am judging the violence that is associated with those who are trying to define their faith. When you are on the bustling streets of London and you see these women, in a time when there is tension and stress in the country, it makes one uneasy and that uneasiness made me feel bad about myself. A Muslim driver drove me around London and we spoke about the pressures he feels to be Muslim and it was sad. Not sad enough to allow me to let my guard down, but sad enough to worry about the future of the planet our children are inheriting. As a Jew I understand what it means to be judged on faith, so my own judgment is disappointing, even though I understand it is the world we live in.

5) I took a “power plate” class this week at the Repose Studio in Buckhurst Hill. Posh and Becks told me I should come as it was 20 minutes and I would love it. Well I did love it, but the aftermath is not good. My legs are aching and I am walking like I just rode a horse across country.  Literally across the entire country. I’m hurting. The power plates are amazing. They vibrate and you lift weights and it is exhausting. The vibrations have a sexual undertone that I have no shame saying is quite nice. Should you ever be in Buckhurst Hill in Essex, I highly recommend going to see Glenys and Tracey. They are kind and fun when you walk in, then turn into taskmasters as they whip you into shape and do not let you stop. I appreciated their support as they tried to kill me. These two sisters will kick your ass in the best possible way. I’m now on the hunt for power plate in LA.

6) We went to the pub and David Beckham decided it would be a good idea to do shots with me. Bless him. I was already drinking vodka, but Becks and his pal decided Black Sambuca needed to be consumed, and not just one. I was scared to drink it. I felt nervous because a) I never had Black Sambuca before, and b) I am a cheap drunk in that it only takes one and a half drinks to get me hammered and I was already 2 double vodkas in. After I talked myself into taking the shot, I think I may have actually licked out the shot glass. It was heaven and I personally think Black Sambuca vanilla milkshake would be perfection. I have had a lot of cocktails while in London, but the truth is I have a lot of cocktails while in Los Angeles. I’m actually having a cocktail while I write this blog.

7) This week I had lunch with my friend Lucy. It was actually our first time meeting. I know Lucy through my Australian friends Gamble and Tempest. I love Lucy from a place in my heart that connects me to her in a rare way. She is a remarkable woman and spending time with her was very special. I met Gamble through my blog about her TV show, Real Housewives of Melbourne, and the first time I met her in person was at her wedding in Oz. Tempest and the people I have in my life because of Gamble are extraordinary. The world opens up for you if you're brave. To Gamble, I will thank you until the day I die for inspiring my bravery. To Lucy, I am on your side, in your corner, lifting you up, and holding you close. Know it. Know it is not just for now, but for always. You are worthy.

8) I cannot talk about this week and not mention Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I watched both these men being murdered and my heart aches for not only they way they died, but for their families watching their last moments of life. African Americans are under attack in America and the people who disagree are not black. The very people who are meant to protect our citizens, are killing our citizens. It is a bigger conversation with a much wider scope so I don’t want to simplify things, but today I am thinking about watching innocent men dying tragically. I’m thinking about Alton, Philando, and those who died before them. My heart hurts. My brain hurts. Words are hard to find but they will come, and when they do I will write. I am numb now and this story deserves my feelings.

I will be in London for two more days. Tonight I hung out with the Beckhams watching tennis and football. We had Indian take away that I can safely assume is going to come back to haunt me during the night. It has been a week of joy, laugher, sorrow, and tears. I am looking forward to getting home and hugging my son. We are living in dark times and it will take more than a hash tag and empty words to fix things. It is time to take action and keep the faith.