We woke up in London, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to take on the UK day!
Well, not quite.
Kristi and I overslept a bit and hurried ourselves out the door, hoping to come across some coffee on our way to church. To our dismay, there were no coffee shops open but we did manage to hoard six scones on the train with enough time to make it to service. While waiting at the station, we kept ourselves quite entertained with no caffeine and very little sleep, just pure morning loopiness.
After church we headed to the Columbia Road Flower Market, a long cobblestone street filled with fresh cut bouquets, vibrant plants, and vendors yelling out prices and package deals. I bought a blooming purple and green succulent for Dara as a thank you for hosting us then remembered I needed something for myself. Ah yes, coffee!
We practically scoured the streets for a coffee shop like mad men off their meds. As we walked down the narrow road filled with quaint stores, I overheard another American girl ask her friend, “Do you think there’s a coffee shop that way?” It comforted me knowing we weren’t alone in this struggle, while at the same time realizing the American stereotype is sadly accurate in this way.
As it approached late afternoon, the heavens parted and God’s glory took the form of a British coffee shop. Praises! I approached the counter like a desert wanderer who just found water and ordered a café au lait. It saddened deeply me to learn that the young girl taking my order had never heard those words before. As I began to explain how one would make this delicious French beverage, two of her coworkers curiously joined the conversation and were in awe at the simplicity of it all. “And that is called a café au lait?” she asked. Yes! I wrote it down for her and they considered adding it to their menu as the boy whipped one up then handed the cup to me. They all waited for my reaction. “It’s perfect!” I said and we cheersed farewell.
After rehydrating on water steeped in coffee grounds, we met up with Dara in the hipster land of giant donuts, vegan food and record shops, also known as Camden Market. We picked a sunny spot on a staircase to enjoy our overpriced yet iconic fish and chips where we were joined by a cute Latvian girl and her beautifully bearded father who sat next to us. The girl, whom we later learned was 4, wanted to mimic her trendy dad by taking her socks off but considering she wore stockings under a dress, this made it quite difficult. Instead the child pulled her dress up and her stockings down, flashing the crowd before her dad frantically jumped up to stop her. She was very disappointed that she couldn’t go pantsless and I felt like telling her, “We’ve all been there, my darling. At least it’s cute when you do it. Twenty years from now, not so much.”