Friday, June 19, 2009

Calling London Home

So it has been almost one month since I moved to the U.K. The first half of the month has been busy with some weekend travels and hosting visitors. Besides that, you may wonder what else I do with my time. Well, let’s see. The past few weeks, when not out and about town with visitors, I’ve settled into a normal routine of having coffee with Keenan before he leaves to work (we’re making up for old times!), daily runs around Common, and playing housewife...just kidding. These days a lot of time is spent in front of the computer job searching, sending out applications, and attending networking events in the field of planning and urban development. With several people coming to visit in July, Keenan’s father and our couple friend from San Francisco, we try to keep a low profile during the weekdays opting to stay in our neighborhood of Clapham and cooking meals at home. I figure we can save the tourist haunts, museums, eating out, drinking, and other fun stuff for visitors. Let me say this, I’ve thoroughly enjoy being home, especially after living like a gypsy, or a vagabond, jumping sublet to sublet with no real home base my last semester of graduate school. It’s nice to be home…finally! There is really no place like home.

This week I attended one lecture on the New Plan for London hosted by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and DTZ at their sleek new headquarters on Old Broad Street, and the presidential address at the annual RTPI Planning Convention, which is equivalent to the American Planning Association here in the UK, followed by a walking tour of the Cardinal's Place and drinks with the Young Planners Network. I felt very much at home at these planning events, as people discussed the latest regeneration projects, namely the new Crossrail and the Thames Gateway projects, which are both quite exciting. Being trained and educated at UC Berkeley, as expected, our planning program is very California-oriented – I think all of us planners have a copy of Fulton’s book, which we often regard as the “bible” of California planning. While I was the Planning Convention yesterday, I wanted to find the "bible" of UK planning, so I went upstairs to the at the Exhibition Hall on a mission to find a suitable book. To my surprise, I immediately recognized the lady at the Routledge book stand, and it turns out that she also remembered me from the December 2008 IASTE conference in Oxford. What a small world! She, along with a few other planners, recommended the Collingsworth’s Town & Country Planning in the UK, which will be my summer reading.

Summer is suppose to be quite lively and fun in London where the sun sets around 10pm -- BBQ, beer gardens, outdoor concerts...here we come.

Cheers, Lily

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