UK in March 2006

Coming out of my teens and looking for work, I came across an intriguing advertisement for a youth group named Beyond Borders, by the British Council in Sri Lanka. It was my first foray into a beautiful world of youth activism, and my introduction to young people  who were passionate about change and community issues. I was less vocal than the rest, and less ambitious. But, I did say yes to some opportunities that led me to UK in 2006. Lost in the murky ground of winter and spring, London was bleak and dreary, and I did not enjoy it so much, which is understandable I guess, given my own country of constant sunshine. Still, the meetings were energetic and eye-opening, as well as colorful, given the many Asians in the teams.

We were in London for a few days before we headed to Avon Tyrrel, where we had so much land to run in that it is a wonder we got any work done at all, and with the sun just beginning to shine, and the lovely accommodation, we were quite simply, happy.

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However, what I remember most  is running beside the Thames and across the bridge, to get to something with minutes to spare, and then halfway over the bridge deciding it was not happening. My friend and I were quite determined, but also realistic about our chances. Of course, I am quite happy about the dash, even though it speeded up an absolutely delicious meal on the sidewalk next to Thames, because the view from the bridge at 6pm is truly majestic.

No trip to London would be complete without Madam Tussaud and her wax figures, and we did make that pilgrimage and the three of us took turns posing with the stars as all tourists do. But again, as usual, it is not these famous attractions that stick in ones mind but things like having that amazing ice cream on a cold day in a sleepy little village, and a walk past the famous spots  that takes you to a bustling but out-of-the-way market on the streets.

And of course, that book you picked up at a bargain no one will believe, or the witches and goblins you and your friend stood next to…

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