By Alex Bottner
I was watching Ellen Degeneres’ new comedy special on Netflix. She has a bit about how people look for signs in everything, like if someone is questioning their relationship, they would say, “I was looking at a squirrel in a tree. The tree has leaves! I should leave my relationship!”
It made me laugh and think of the street wisdom session we did last week. We ventured into the streets of Brixton and were challenged to look at the streets in a new way. To really study them and take note of what we were drawn to. We then had to think about a question we had in the back of our minds and look to the streets for answers.
Was I a bit skeptical? Yes.
But being challenged to slow down and really take in our surroundings took me back to how I used to look at London as a tourist, before I moved here. I used to love aimlessly wandering and exploring new areas, going around Camden market, Columbia flower market, museums and watching the people just as much as I was taking in my surroundings.
Living in London is very different to being a tourist in London. Toronto (where I’m from) is a busy city, but nowhere near the scale of London. Commuting (and generally moving around) in the city makes you feel like you are swimming head on into a school of fish. You learn to keep your head down, avoid eye contact, and soldier on. Stopping or slowing down for a moment feels as if you are going to set off a chain of angry Londoners behind you.
I enjoyed experiencing Brixton with fresh eyes and remembering why I wanted to move to London.