Every Monday us interns are given a Sabbath day to rest and reflect and do things that give our hearts joy. So, of course, I spent it wandering this beautiful city and drinking coffee and trying to learn more about British culture.
This morning I set off for the Museum of London, which is about a thirty minute walk from my host family’s flat. The sky was gray and it was drizzling slightly, business people were walking at terribly fast speeds, and the world felt crowded and small. I found myself at Pret, an organic coffee shop right outside of the museum. And I loved the atmosphere, the feeling of taking up space in a new place, how coffee tastes just as wonderful half a world away from home.
The museum was really interesting and I learned a lot about London’s history, starting from the Roman Empire’s rule through the recent Olympic Games. I’ll spare you most of the details, but London has been through a great deal of political upheaval and social change, not to mention several devastating fires. But I think its history has made its people even more interesting and diverse, although the gap between the rich and poor even more extreme.
Then I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral and my goodness, this church is stunning. I spent a long time in its prayer chapel, writing down my prayer requests and lighting a candle, and honestly just enjoying being in God’s presence in such a beautiful environment. It contains a kind of quiet reverence that just kind of fills you up. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, it’s something you have to experience for yourself.
Then I walked over to the Tate Modern Museum, which is under construction right now. I really enjoyed seeing Henri Matisse and the Mark Rothko room, but besides that, I found myself much more drawn to the people wandering the museum than the actual art on the walls. It’s really interesting to think about how museums have the power to tell us what is worth looking at and contemplating. And I have a hard time being okay with the immense amount of money put into these exhibitions. I don’t know, I just don’t think this is what art is supposed to be. I really think it could be something better than money and privilege and status.
What a day, what a day, what a day. London, if you keep this up, I might just move here.