On my recent trip to London, I met up with a dear friend of mine who I hadn't seen for at least three years, Sarah. We met in university and have been close ever since. Since she lives in London, and I was passing through on my way to Spain, we decided to meet up at King's Cross station and find a place to have dinner. The weather had turned really cold that day, and I wound my scarf around my neck to keep out the cold while I waited for her outside of the station. There were the usual London crowds of all sizes, shapes, colors, and humors which I love to be part of, so I lost myself in 'people watching'(1) when suddenly I heard a voice say, "Anna!" We threw our arms around each other and giggled like college girls again. It was so good to see her. She suggested that we eat in St. Pancras station. I had actually not been there since the big renovation 9 years ago. It is a massive place that is used by 50 million travelers each year. There is a lower floor that is filled with elegant shops and cafes, and then upstairs, looking like strong, young horses all in a row are the Eurostar trains, ready to gallop into Europe. We ate at a restaurant on the upper floor in the shadow of the Lover's Statue. Well, alright, it's not really called that; its real name is The Meeting Place, and it was created by Paul Day. It is a 20 ton, 30 ft bronze statue of a man and woman in an affectionate embrace, touching foreheads. Significantly, the artist is married to a French lady, and the sculpture reflects the two of them. Just as England has a port to France and the rest of Europe through train travel, so the two figures, each from a different country are connected. Paul Day said, "I wanted to create a statue that showed a meeting of minds as well as a physical connection." And I think, for me, that is the hope of international travel: to meet the minds of others. Sarah and I certainly made up for lost time(2). The poor waitress kept coming to our table to see if we were ready to order, "Just a few more minutes," we would say, and then continue talking. Three hours later we finished our meal, but we were not even half way through our conversation. It had been a perfect encounter: a dear friend who I hadn't seen for a long time, meaningful conversation, and a beautiful, cosmopolitan setting filled with art.
1. 'People watching' is self explanatory, and an activity that many people enjoy in busy areas.
a. I had a four hour layover at Los Angeles International, so I bought a coffee and people watched.
b. The very best people watchers are babies; they are so curious and fascinated by human activity.
2. 'To make up for lost time,' is a common expression used often when talking about conversing with someone you haven't seen for a long time, or getting work done that you have delayed for a long time.
a. She got out the sheet music from storage and played the piano, making up for a lot of lost time.
b. My cousin and I have been so busy for the past ten years, but at my aunt's wedding we talked for hours and made up for lost time.