Sunday, June 29, 2008

Facebook from London

In Saturday Morning Musings - Bureaucracy and the modern management quick step I mentioned that eldest had flown out for London on her first independent international trip. While I was critical in that post of the impact of technology, never let it be said that we are not a modern e-family!

Yesterday evening I went onto facebook as one does just to check whether Helen had posted a message on her trip. I noticed that two friends were on-line, checked and one was Helen! Quick exchange between Helen and her Mum then sorted out a problem with a Visa card.

Now as it turned out Helen was on-line because she was posting an initial report to her friends - I have the luck to be counted as one in facebook terms, something that amazes some parents. I don't think Helen would mind if I shared it with you simply because it does capture first stages rather well.

" Today at 6:19pm

Hey guys!

Just thought i'd send you a quick message saying hey and letting you know how its going so far. I think the appropriate way to create the mood when we touch down in London is this:

Walking to Her Majesties Theatre in London: Free

Tickets to Phantom of the Opera: £58

Dinner before the show: £20

Realising you've arrived in London a day later than the performance: priceless

Yes thats right, we thought we arrived in London on the 26th (thank you very much (name deleted travel) but in fact we landed on the 27th. So the tickets we have bought online for the night of the 26th was money well spent:)

I think I will quickly summarise the negative and positive aspects of the trip so far. Negative: 24 hours on a plane, missing the theatre, bringing two left foot, brown havanas, checking into a hostel which leaves a lot to be desired, dealing with one not so welcoming employee and discovering that your VISA debit doesnt seem to work in London.

Ok moving on to the positives: spending time with leaf, walking around London is beautiful, the weather isnt very cold, hanging out with Henry, not working:), seeing the sound of music last night.

I love London, its so similar to Australia but the architecture is ten times better. The sheer size is a bit overwhelming though. But I am hoping that we dont face too many more challenges, its a bit demoralising...

But enough of that, I miss you all terribly!!! I hope your all enjoying ur hols:)

Luv Hel "

Nostalgia is an interesting thing as kids start repeating things that parents have done in the past.

I come from the generation that first discovered Asia. My initial overseas trips were there and to New Zealand, so it was a number of years before I went to London. And then I was astonished at the resonance it held for me.

Australia has changed since then with a sometimes contemptuous domestic rejection of aspects of our past, so I had wondered how Helen was going to respond to London. In much the same way, it appears.

I love Paris, Rome, Florence or Venice in part because they are different. Continental romance, I suppose. London is different, yet also similar. It's partly a matter of language, but also the presence of buildings and scenes made familiar not just by history, but also through film and TV.

Sydney aspires to be an international city. Helen's reaction to London sets this aspiration in context. London has been an imperial and indeed global city for a very long while.

My only negative feeling to London, and indeed to Europe as a whole, was a sometimes sense of oppression created by the overpowering presence of history, something that Australia as a new country lacks.

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