Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Lovely Color

When I lived in London back in 2001, I worked at a small public policy research consultancy.  The pay wasn't great, the job was at times mundane, but the atmosphere was awesome.  It was an open plan office, and everyone was friends, regardless of age or seniority.  When the company won a new project, champagne was brought in (no matter the time of day).  There were office pranks and inside jokes.  There were well attended weekly happy hours at The Fox, our local pub down the street.  And our work actually did something to better society.  It was a great job.

I was young, I was energetic, and I was loving the fact that I was the only American at the company. It was before law school.  Before meeting my husband.  Before kids.

It was back when I was me and just me, and okay with that.

Living in London had made me a huge tea drinker, and throughout my eight hour work day, I would consume at least four cups of tea, with milk of course.  Whenever one went to make tea, the custom was to take the order of those sitting around you - milk?  sugar? how many?  I became quite competent in carrying up to 4 cups of tea at a time and rarely got an order wrong.

On one afternoon I remember making tea for a co-worker named Shirley. I didn't normally fetch tea for her, as she sat across the room from me, but I think on that day she was sitting at a different desk, closer to me.   I didn't know her that well, but she was such a friendly person and had the coolest, most proper English accent.

When I brought her the tea (milk, no sugar), she said to me, "Why thank you, Shannon. That looks a lovely color."

I just love that sentence:  "That looks a lovely color."

To this day, when I make tea or coffee, and add in the milk, I say to myself, "Well done, Shannon. That looks a lovely color."

I miss England sometimes.  So much.


  1. I like that phrase, too. "That looks a lovely color." Have you ever noticed how much more well-spoken British people are than their U.S. cousins, on a general basis? We'd probably say, "That looks awesome, thanks, it's just, like, exactly the way I like my tea. It's really nice of you to get it for me! Thanks a lot!"

    I often miss being places and doing things from my life before kids. Not that I don't like my kid, it's just...something to hold onto, I guess.

  2. I lived in London in 2001 also - I worked for Nomura, a Japanese investment bank, in the legal department (as a secretary). This was also pre-law school, pre-husband, pre-kids. It was pretty awesome. I miss it also. (And I miss proper cups of tea :) ).

    Where was your company located? In the City? Where did you live? Nomura was within walking distance of St. Paul's Cathedral, and I lived right by the Gloucester Road Tube station.

  3. Hi Lauren- The office was near Old Street tube (near Shoreditch), though I believe it has now moved. I lived in Camden, right near the Mornington Crescent tube. I spent two years after college in London and LOVED it! I always thought I'd move back. It doesn't seem like it's in the cards now, though I suppose you never know...

  4. Yes, I have that same fantasy. Camden is a great area - I am jealous you were there for two years; I only had a visa for 6 months. But boy, did I squeeze alot into that six months.

    If you wanted to make the dream of moving back there a reality, you (or your husband) could try for the Foreign Service! That is a goal of mine (and my hubby's). Course, now that I am staying home, I am not exactly racking up the international exposure/experience, but hey, I am going to try anyway...eventually.

  5. I too lived and worked in London pre-kids (around 1998). LOVED it! I lived off Oxford Street by the Bond St. tube station. (In the link I left with my profile, I linked to a post I wrote that also pictures the front of the flat I lived in - so quaint!)

    I often think about "What if"... what if I had stayed there. What if I had gone back. What if I tried to go again even after kids. But then I think how AMAZING it was that I was able to have that experience. And to take it one step further, what an AMAZING thing it did for my outlook now as an adult and a mother.

    I feel so fortunate that I had that experience. (As I guess you feel too!?) How lucky are we? What a "lovely" thing to think about :)

  6. I got hooked on tea with milk in London! And everytime I drink it here at home, with the sad, weak tea that passes for English Breakfast here, I think, maybe I just really like warm milk. Yuck. Haha.


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