Monday, March 31, 2008

Family reunion half a world away…

The first week that I was in Algeria this last trip, I got an email from my dad. He said that my cousin Becky was taking her daughter to London as a gift before she graduates high school and that they’d be there the last part of March. I didn’t really know how long I’d be in Algeria or what day I’d make it through London but I sent Becky an email and crossed my fingers that our schedules would allow us to see each other. Fortunately things worked out and I got to spend a day with them both in London. I haven’t seen either of them in almost twelve years. Sara was just an adorable five years old the last time I visited Becky in Eugene and now she has grown up and become an intellectual young woman. She’s still adorable but that isn’t something that a 17 year old girl wants to hear.
I’m having a hard time grasping how fast time is flying by. Becky’s kids are almost all grown up and mine is starting first grade this fall. Crazy!
After I met up with them we set out with no specific plans. We hopped on the tube (London’s subway system) and headed off to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. When Becky called me at noon I was in a meeting at the company office about twenty minutes from the hotel they were staying at. I told her I’d meet them at 2:00 across from Victoria Station, so I had to walk about three blocks and take two trains to get to where we were meeting. I got really lucky and timed it perfectly; I made it at 2:00 on the dot. I’ve had really good luck navigating around London via the tube over the last few months and have gotten pretty familiar with a few sections of the city. So I felt a little dumb that only a moment after I made a comment that I was impressed with myself for being able to find my way around London, the first train we got on was going the wrong way. Can’t win them all I guess.
After we walked around Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, we walked along the Thames River and crossed over to ride on the London Eye and see the Salvador Dali art gallery I have to thank Becky and Sara for seeing both of them; if I hadn’t been with them I probably wouldn’t have experienced either one. I really liked the gallery; Dali was a strange guy and had some pretty wild and strange pieces but I really liked a few of his sculptures. The London Eye was really cool also, I didn’t realize the enormity of Greater London until we were at the top (443 feet at the top) and you couldn’t see where the city stopped. Yesterday I was comparing my London pictures to Sydney’s (my niece) who was there the first week of March and we both had taken a picture from the London Eye that were almost identical. Pretty weird…
After the gallery we walked back across the Thames and down to Embankment where we met up with Hans for dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant that Hans and I ate at in January. Again I was kind of proud of myself for being able to find it quite easily. I have to say that although I have really enjoyed touring around London I could never live amongst seven million people. I’d go nuts; there is no such thing as personal space. Plus you have to pay to use the bathroom in most of the public places. Where I grew up we just found the nearest tree, over there that would get you a city tour I wasn’t quite up for.
I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with both Becky and Sara. It made me once again realize that as life is happening so fast we rarely get time to spend with the people we care about; sometimes even when they aren’t really that far away. Sometimes it’s because we don’t take the time but I think more often we really don’t have the time. Life is so busy all the time it’s really hard to make the time for spending with everyone that is really important in your life. When you finally do see them again, you realize how much you missed having them in your life. I don’t think that there’s any way around it; unless of course you are independently wealthy and can travel all the time. If by chance you are, feel free to send me a plane ticket and I’ll go with you!

I guess we could all use to look at our priorities and make a list of what is most important. I’ve learned from experience how important it is that if you think about calling someone to actually call them. If you think sending them an email, send it; and more importantly visit them if you can. You will never regret making the call, sending the note, or making the trip; but I can promise you that you could regret not doing it.

With that said I have a few calls to make…

Big Ben from street level.

Becky and I next to a statue of the Burghers of Calais (I haven't got a clue who these guys were) in front of one of the Parliament buildings.

A Salvador Dali sculpture in front of the gallery.

The London Eye from ground level.

Becky and I in the Eye.

This is the picture that is almost identical to one that Sydney took. Hers just had less people on the ground.

Sara, Becky, and I after a fabulous Italian Dinner.


Stefani said...

Um, Tyson, I didn't get a call...


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