I opted to come down to St. Ives, Cornwall on the south coast of England to have a relaxing, distraction-free place to take my exams. Plus, I love, love, love the ocean -- so it might have also been an excuse for some beach time...maybe. I rented a tiny cottage on the beach and the Canadian joined me this weekend after spending the last week in Canada with friends and family and also work.
As a side note - The Canadian's tinerary:
London to Toronto. Drive an hour to Waterloo, Ontario. Make a presentation. Sleep. Interview all day. Drive to Niagara Falls to see parents. Sleep. Go to Ottawa to see sister, brother-in-law, cousins and nephew. Sleep for 2 days. Fly to Thunder Bay to see Aunt, Uncle, friends and Grandparents. Sleep for 2 days. Fly to Toronto. Fly to London to see wife. Get on a train 2 hours later and take a 5 hour train ride to St. Ives. (He went from Thunder Bay, Ontario to St. Ives in 21 hours. That was one tired Canadian!!)
So, we've been stuffing ourselves full of seafood this weekend (and maybe some scones and Cornish clotted cream and tea...), and wandering the crooked and hilly streets of St. Ives. The water here is mindblowingly beautiful and actually, in some places it's even warm (and I am a total wus about cold water). I'll post some pics later when I can get them off my phone. And, I love how the restaurants here try and locally/seasonally source everything -- it's inspiring.
I'm also learning, by being here in St. Ives (and the other places in England I've traveled), that some of the discontent I experience as an expat is endemic to London, not England. I can't put my finger on it entirely, but, London is just a difficult place to live -- even though there are many individual things I love about it, it's just not for me -- at least not long term. I'm grateful for the opportunity to live in England, so I'm not really knocking London, but being so happy in St. Ives for the last two days kind of underscores my some of the minor depression I experience in London. That said, I've learned some 'discontent management' tactics in London -- going to parks, meeting friends, cocktails at this AWESOME cocktail bar in my 'hood called 'The Shop' -- because I refuse to sit around being sad and waste this incredible opportunity either.
I think I would love to, someday, live the smaller village life in England -- particularly here in Cornwall. I was here back in 2004 and was completely fell in love with it. Now that I'm here again, I remember why. Plus the clotted cream!!! It's like crack. For real.