Friday, January 22, 2010

Time in Stratford

Since it’s been raining, I pulled out my London Fog raincoat, a deep green, think and comfortable item I first bought when I was going to London for the first time in 1996.  And in one of the pockets, I found a ticket for Stratford, London, a place I stayed with my friend Belén a few times as I visited her.

Looking at the ticket brought me many memories of that time.  It was mostly rainy on the trips I made to visit Belén.  I don’t recall now if she worked during the day when I stayed at her flat, with her and her heroine-taking, but otherwise, hospitable and quiet flat-mates.  And now that I think of it, she was probably taking classes in the day for computer graphic design.  That’s how we met; at a CGI conference in London (see my blog from late 2009 called, “Bopping Around Europe”).

Though, I know I was on my own at times because I began to know my way around the local streets of her flat, and my way to the Underground station. It’s been so long; ten years since my last visit with her, but I also recollect taking the bus around the city wit her one night.  Maybe it was after touring the theater district, or getting a meal.  What I do remember clearly was that the city was lively, and Belén was sweet to me, and we were both smitten.

It was also at a time when I had gotten to start traveling and enjoying seeing different parts of the world.  I was making good money at the time, and my only obstacle was all of the work-hours that were required of me at Disney, and the fact that I had to squeeze any vacation out of them.  When one production was over, they had already tapered me onto another production.

But seeing other parts of the world for the first time was wonderful, exciting and educational.  People live in so many different ways and in so many types of circumstances. And on any visit, you can only see a portion of any city.  I have fragments of the selected places I visited in London still swimming around in my head, but there is so much more I don’t know. 

And Belén was finishing up her studies in London, and then would move back to her city in Spain where she continues to live and be with her family.  I remember her feeling a bit lost and lonely in London.  She had some friends from school as I recall, but London wasn’t home to her.

Long distance relationships are difficult to say the least.  Talking on the phone at odd hours, racking up $200.00 in phone bills, and seldom getting to see the person you want to be with is painful.  I always felt I let Belén down by not being able to continue our relationship in this way.  But I was at a point in my career where I didn’t want to let anything or anyone interfere with my time and success there.  I was obviously somewhat young and pretty stupid.  I’ve wised up since then.