VISITING LONDON WITH A TEEN (AKA MY SISTER!)

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Dear world,

How are you? Lately, you’ve been spinning around pretty fast, but I have to say I’m enjoying my ride! I’m having a good time catching up with old and new friends, reading good books and watching a new favourite on Netflix, Amazing Interiors. It’s a series about extreme designs in houses all over the world and it’s perfect before going to sleep because in each episode there’s someone telling you a new tale through their style.

I started to watch Amazing Interiors with my little sister L. As some of you, my beloved readers, already know, my teen sister stayed at our place for a few weeks while she attended an English school last month. It was lovely to have her here, she kept us good company while helping us doing the dishes, which we really miss!. Seeing London through her eyes was a unique experience, I had almost forgotten how being a teen feels like.

 

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We wanted to spend as much time as we could with her, showing her the city and letting her meet our friends. However, we still had to go to work during the week, while she followed her English classes every morning and afternoon. Therefore, there was little time to explore London.

Thankfully, this city sleeps very little. There are a few museums that are open to the public during the night either once a week or once a month. That’s a very cool way to visit a museum because, first of all, it’s night (and everything is better at night), but also because you end up checking out only the sections you are truly interested in since you don’t have too much time at your disposal. If you like what you see, you can always go back for more another day.

This way, we were able to visit Victoria and Albert Museum on a Friday night and the Science Museum on a Wednesday night. The night events at the Science Museum are generally dedicated to a specific topic so you can visit the museum and on top of that, you can follow several other workshops about the topic of the night. When we went there, the night event was all about the circus so we learnt a few magic tricks as well.

 

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My sister was very pleased with these cultural nights out. She was also more into museums than I had expected, which was a very nice surprise. Because she spent all day at school, she would be pretty tired at night, therefore, no clubbing for us this time. We only went once to Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle but were home by 11 pm (in case mom is reading my post).

She also loved to spend time in parks, relaxing on the grass and strolling around after school. She visited most of the city parks as well as the more distant Kew Gardens. I was surprised by how beautiful Kew Gardens are, every single section is unique, tidy and clean and the greenhouses are just breathtaking. The tickets are well-priced and there’s a discount if you are under 16. We spent a whole day there, had a picnic, walked a lot, slept on the grass and enjoyed our lazy, sunny Saturday. Of course, I would not recommend going there if the weather is not good.

 

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We also went shopping together a few times to the main shopping venues of the city, namely Oxford St, Carnaby St, Regent St and Camden town. Here I discovered that L’s concept of shopping was different from mine: I would check out shops, she’d rather check out coffee places. Her standard order soon became hot chocolate with whipped cream and at the end of her staying, she brought me to Patisserie Valerie for a proper afternoon tea – like a British.

I’ll admit I liked her addiction for hot beverages because that led to a handful of memories of her and I sitting at a cafe, enjoying each other’s company and just laughing at how cold the weather was in London compared to Italy. It felt special having someone around every afternoon to chat with.

And when we were not walking through the city centre, we would watch Gossip Girl together or have dinner with our cousin G, who’s in London as well for the season. Having family around when you live abroad fills your house with true magic. It also allows you to connect with people on a completely different level: relatives become the friends you shared an important part of your life with and not just some people you see every now and then because there’s a ceremony and you both happen to be invited.

 

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I loved how my sister was able to meet almost all the members of our little London family, that is the amazing friends we share our daily life with. I didn’t use to introduce my friends to my family or invite friends belonging to different groups at the same event, I preferred to keep them separate. I suppose I was afraid that they would like each other so much they would stop going out with me. In the past few years though I slowly started to do exactly the opposite, introducing everyone to everybody and found out that makes my friendships even stronger because my friends now know me better. Introducing my friends to my family also means that they all feel like they belong to my life more and can open up with me.

Now I’ll stop rambling and I’ll go worrying about the big day as it’s now -1 month and we are at that stage where we keep ordering stuff online, hoping it will arrive before we fly out. I can’t wait to share all about it with you in the next months!

Hugs from London