Of unexpected lessons from London

So, it has been just over two months since the last blog post. Talk about going silent.

Silent though things have been,  there has been a lot of growth occurring on several fronts. Over this period of blogging hiatus, Eurostar have recognised my contributions to their bottom line. I’ve accumulated enough  points to have access to advance tickets at a discount – and  I am working toward a next voucher for a reduction on travel costs.

Over two months, hundreds of  academic book pages have been read, many more journal articles have been highlighted and annotated, thousands of words have been  written, re-written, and  submitted for publication. Comments from critical eyes have returned to expand my knowledge and challenge what I thought I confidently knew. I’ve read authors that I thought I knew well but really had no clue about  – reading more closely what Deleuze has to say, what Marx’s key arguments really are  and so forth.

Gratefully, this process of expansion has occurred with London as an interesting background and also as a text in its own right. One has to read London quite carefully as one would a convoluted piece of writing by Michel Foucault it seems – with both an English and French dictionary at hand, perhaps even with Latin, Greek and German dictionary software on cue. And  most importantly, one has to re-read. Over, and over, again. The meaning of  ‘London’ becomes clearer with every  respectful and close ‘reading’.

Amidst the experience of pursuing grad studies in London and discovering London itself for a year, another set of lessons have emerged, somewhat unexpectedly.  At first expecting to engage with London as a place of study and professional growth, I never viewed London as place for self exploration. I just thought I would be in and out of there, fill my mind with theoretical concepts and return to Paris where life can be lived more fully and  the Self explored deeply.  London would be a no-nonsense machine spewing out and depositing objective knowledge into my head, with little engagement with my emotions or  my humanity. Paris would  be where beauty would continue to educate my entire being  as per the stereotype that I shamelessly believe in.

I am grateful that London has shaken some of my assumptions and offered up  points for reflection and self discovery beyond the academic.5 I’ll explore these in a few blog posts to come.)

Seeing as I  resolved to accumulate a list of reasons to be grateful for the experience of studying in Paris and London – and only got to 46 out of an expected 365  by the end of this year  –  I will add a 47th reason for now.:

Reason to be grateful 47 out of 265:

I am grateful for London’s capacity to surprise –  in a positive sense. For his (for London is certainly male) capacity to also  relieve you of your preconceptions and  offer new lessons about yourself that either affirm what you have always sensed to be correct, or that challenge your confident self-knowledge.

More to come on this in the next post(s)!