Thursday, July 22, 2010

Six Weeks

Well, at long, long last, a decision. Teriann and I will be moving back to Phoenix — home sweet home — on August 31.

I was bursting with anticipation, but now I'm overflowing with mixed feelings. To be sure, I'll be elated to be home. There are too many people I haven't seen in too long, and I'm eager to get on the right side of our cash-flow. Here's an unlikely statement: I can't wait to start working. But there are people who I'll dearly miss here in London. And let's face it, leaving the most vibrant, culturally rich — in a word, best — city in the world (I feel no remorse in calling it so) is bound to be difficult. We are bracing ourselves for reverse culture shock.

In fact, if there's one challenge ahead that truly worries me (and mind you there are no shortages of challenges), it's to find a way to avoid merely existing. I want to keep pushing — from a career point of view as well as artistically and personally — and I want nothing more than to bask in the comfort of home without losing sight — or reach — of this.

And another minor event occurred since I wrote here last: I graduated from the Royal College of Music. Below are fellow composers Franco (Mexican), Camilo (Columbian), Huw (Australian), and some lousy American.

On the steps between the College and the Royal Albert Hall.

So now when people ask me why I'm in London, I can no longer say I'm studying. Now I'm just plain old unemployed.

This new prospect of a time limit, however, has lit a fire under us: we've been tearing around London making sure we see everything we want to before we no longer have the opportunity to stroll into one of the world's great museums for free.

One highlight was the Wallace Collection, a hidden gem of a place. One part stately old house, two parts museum, we especially liked the room full of paintings by Canaletto and this emerald green room. Expect our living area to look like this in the coming years!

And today we had a terrific day seeing two essentials: the Museum of London and the galleries of the British Library.

The latter holds everything from the earliest known sources of the New Testament to Beatles lyrics scrawled on the back of birthday cards in one relatively small space. It's worth a trip to London just to see the contents of that room. And the Museum of London details the story of the city from prehistory to the Great Fire of 1666 with astonishing depth and interest (the newly opened recent-history exhibits leave much to be desired — if you're visiting, plan to spend the bulk of your time on the first floor).

Despite all the history and tradition though, there's always something new, something happening. In Trafalgar Square, for instance, statues occupy three plinths in the square, but the fourth plinth changes every so often. At the moment, it's a gigantic ship in a bottle.

What a city, eh?

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