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Memories of London



Alrighty, back in 1982 and 1985 or 86, I took two trips to Europe. Once right after high school, and the other a few years later. London became my favorite city in the world even though I’d never traveled beyond Arizona and California. Growing up Mexican-American in a non-Latino neighborhood and school, I always felt there was something “off” or “less” about me compared to my peers. Not on the inside, but on the outside. My olive skin color, wirey black hair that refused to straighten or feather, calling my grandparents nana and tata. Let’s just say there was a little bit of a culture clash going on. My high school journalism teacher was leading a trip of theatre students to London and encouraged me to join. I didn’t want to at first, out of fear. But my parents paid for half my trip and I raised the rest from working at Jack in the Box. I HAD to go even though I felt terrified.

I’m so glad I went through with it. Going to Europe at 17-years-old, wow! I fit right in. Nobody cared or treated me different because of my hair or skin, because England was a mash up of all kinds of people from all over the world. In fact, it felt cool to say I was Mexican-American there, it gave me personality and confidence in my conversations. I didn’t want to leave. I remember my last day in London so clearly. I closed my eyes and breathed it all in, holding back tears. I realized that this experience would forever change my destiny. I realized it would be very difficult to return, I hated that thought. I knew would see the world with new and bigger eyes. I knew I had a chance to succeed and fit in somewhere. I just had to go home to Phoenix and find my tribe.

I saved up for the next few years and returned at 21. Not just England, but also 8 other countries for about a month. During this trip, I had already met, dated, broken up and became good friends with Patrick (my now husband of 24 years). Back then, he knew how much I loved London and used to tease me, he was into 48 Chevys and pachuco attire, he just didn’t get it.

Fast forward to after we had been married ten years. We never took an official honeymoon and decided to go big to make  up for it.

“You choose the destination” Patrick said.

I’m pretty sure the sparkle in my eyes lit up the room.

“London.” he moaned. “Ay, Kathy. You want us to go to London? All the way over there? I don’t want to go there. I have zero interest!”

Well, a year later, we’re walking off a British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport. After all those years of missing my favorite city, I had finally returned – this time with my best friend/soul mate. By the time we took the train to the city and hopped into a big black taxi, Patrick had already given me the nod of approval. “I love this,” he said. “Thank you for talking me into it.”

We had such a great time! We spent one week in London and one in Paris. I bet you are wondering WHERE ARE THE PICTURES OF THIS MONUMENTAL VACATION, KATHY? This was 2000, no iPhone, and I had misplaced my little camera. So… we have no pictures. Not only that, we were dorks and kept getting lost every day! London was fine because everyone spoke English, but oh lordy in France, we wasted so much time trying to find our way around.

That being said – here are the two items from the Target Gift Registry that I wish I could blink my eyes and have them for our trip: canon-rebel-t5i   The Canon EOS Rebel T5I: This is actually the camera I have now that I use for almost all of my blogging and video.  It has auto-focus for both video and photo. This is the perfect camera to capture those magical moments on a special vacation. I would give anything to have had this camera on our trip. I hadn’t started blogging  yet, so I don’t even have any of our memories recorded. These days I take this baby EVERYWHERE! The other item I wished we had: samsung This Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 10.1. We could have used the GPS, looked up all the latest happenings in the city, taken pictures and then stored them all here for easy access to come home and show every single family member each and every photo… These two items are long lasting, useful tools for both personal and business reasons. Not only will they enhance any vacation or honeymoon, but they’ll also grow with the family and help document all wonderful experiences! No matter how long a couple has been married, either one of these will be a golden gift! GIVEAWAY: Post a comment sharing about your favorite summer vacation, honeymoon, life changing trip and what items you wished you’d had. I’ll draw one name next week to recieve a $25 Target gift card! United States only, must be 18-years-old or older, one entry per person. Here is where you can check out all the other cool items in the Target Registry! target-gift-registry

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16 thoughts on “Memories of London”

  1. My favorite summers are spent at the beach in Baja… Items I wish I had with me… a really good beach umbrella and some great beach walking shoes 🙂

  2. Before my junior year in college I did a study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico. Even now, two decades later, I remember the vivid colors of the traditional costumes of the Guelaguetza, as each region paraded through the zócalo. I learned to love tacos al pastor; tasted mole for the first time; stood spellbound by street artists creating masterpieces with spray paint; and I fell in love with all things Dia de los Muertos. Such passion and joy. Changed my view on death and cemeteries. Changed my perception of Art and color. Changed me.

    What I wish I’d had? Easy! A digital camera. Mine was still old school Point, Shoot & Wait. I missed so many beautiful shots because I didn’t know my hand had shook until weeks later when I got the film developed.

    Kathy, thanks for the chance to relive this trip. So magical. Viva Oaxaca!

  3. The summer of my senior year in high school, I was an exchange student to New Zealand. The trip started two days before school let out, so even though I graduated, I was unable to go to my graduation ceremony and ‘officially’ receive my diploma, wear the robes or toss my cap, but I never felt I missed out on anything because that trip was amazing, and to this day, (30 yrs later), I still keep in touch with my then host family.

    This was in the days before cell phones and the cameras were 35mm film, so of course a digital camera would have certainly come in handy. But I regret nothing!

  4. My favoriite summer vacations are always the summers I spend in my favorite city in the world, New Orleans. There is no city on earth like it. From the food to the people and their wonderful New Orleans accents, to the food…ohhhh the food…and the music , it’s heaven on earth. My last visit two years ago I stayed near the Frenchman Street area. There was an awesome street musician performing there one night. I tried to make a video of his performance with my phone but it did not record and I was devastated! Moment lost…I wish I would have had a better phone or digital camera! Oh well…I will always have my memories!

  5. We went the the UK for about 4 weeks, for our honeymoon. It was the 1st time I’d ever flown. We had booked a tour trip, so we had a tour guide, paper maps, disposable cameras, and phone cards. This was back in 2002, before the other technology existed. We love London too. We wanted to live there, but found out I was pregnant, when we returned, so alas we stayed put. We’ve gone on many roadtrips since then, but never out of the country again.

  6. Summer vacation in St. Augustine, FL, with my husband 26 years ago. It was in September, after Labor Day. We slowly crept up and down the coast from Fernidina Island to Daytona Beach, eating great seafood and spending a lot of time on the beach just watching the water and listening to the waves break on shore. Time alone to focus on one another and no distractions, it was heavenly. A few months later I was pregnant with our daughter and it would be 3 years before we returned to the beach. With baby in tow, quite a different vacation experience! Fun but I fondly remember the romantic vacation along the Atlantic coastline and our wandering about and only us.

  7. I’m never forget my honeymoon! My husband and I went to Italy for two weeks. It was an amazing adventure! Like you, I wish I had my canon rebel ti4. My little cool pic camera rocked it… But I’ll need to go back and take my family with me!

  8. My favorite vacation was a trip this year to a quilt retreat. First of all, I won the trip in a contest at my quilt guild meting. Second, my BFF also won. It was in Kerrville, Texas. A wonderful area of the state. The Hill country, the wine country. It was a retreat of 25 guild members and we ate, talked, sewed, and shopped for four beautiful marvelous days. No cooking, cleaning, or waiting on hubby or children. There was a quilt shop across the parking lot where we could buy more fabric or anything else we forgot to bring. This was my first true vacation for myself.

  9. Sadly I don’t travel much but my favorite trip was to Disney Land with all of my siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandma. I wish I would have had a better camera.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  10. in a year-end holidays my husband took the family to spend the holidays to Flagstaff. Traveling so beautiful and exciting. What I want out on that journey is the The Canon EOS Rebel T5I because I have no camera and no pictures of that memory of that wonderful trip.


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