Lily and I just had a fantastic weekend with my little cousin who visited for the weekend on her way home to California from a pre-MBA trip to Turkey, Croatia, Greece and Italy with 25 of her fellow classmates who will start at Columbia Business School this fall. Having family in town to visit is always special because you share such a commonality that you are able to link up your present and future with your past in a way that only really good friends and family can do.
You also get the update and fun news on cousins, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and in our family, nine little nephews (no girls yet in the new generation). It was also nice for her to see London as our grandfather, Papa-ji, had spent many years here for medical school when he was young, so this city does have a bit of family history for us as well.
As this was my cousin's first visit to London, we took her to the usual tourist haunts over the weekend. Friday evening we took a pleasant stroll along the South Bank, enjoying the balmy evening and the beautiful sights of the London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. We then carried on through Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Leicester Square to soak up the loud, if somewhat chaotic, atmosphere of Soho. Exhausted from her previous all-nighter in Venice, we decided to take it easy and went back to Clapham Old Town for a few night caps before hitting the pillow. It's been some time since we had family in town, so it was great catching up with her and her learning about her new adventures in New York City.
On Saturday we went to Borough Market for lunch, then on to Tower Bridge, the Mayor's Office, Tower of London , and then back to St. Paul's Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, and the Tate Modern. Later that afternoon, we took her to a friend's backyard BBQ up in leafy Hampstead and had a great time meeting new fellow Americans. We couldn't let my cousin leave without trying the quintessential British summertime drink: Pimms. I hope she managed to pick up a few bottles from duty free for her parents and sister.
Sunday we had a leisurely brunch at Raoul's in Notting Hill and then walked off the calories along the famous Portobello Road. We also strolled through Hyde Park to our final destination Harrod's in Knightsbridge.
We thought it would be fun to have a homecooked meal of southwestern-style shrimp and blackbean enchiladas, Mexican rice, and guacamole for dinner with of course a few bottles of coronas. We spent the evening chilling out and looking at her amazing travel photos. It was really low-key evening, but much needed one spent with my little cousin. Best of luck at Columbia and hope to see you in the Big Apple soon! K.V.