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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Does Ari Shapiro Need An Intern?

Are you following Ari Shapiro's dispatches from London on NPR?

When I am not seething with envy, I am really happy to hear all the somethings interesting he's discovered in a place I adore: Phone boxes are a national landmarks! King George's cookbook is up for auction! World War One diaries are going online! Ari doesn't speak in exclamations. His delivery is very NPR soothing. That's just my enthusiasm. It is also how I recount his stories at the dinner table for anyone not lucky enough to be in my giant car for the broadcasts.

I imagine Ari Shapiro sorting through piles of exciting press releases (are there piles of papers in offices anymore? Or is it just my desk? Am I the last one standing with a paper calendar?).

I envision he gets fantastic invitations to explore all sorts of fascinating goings on. Which really could be just to meander down Oxford Street. I suspect he's excited to accept London's endless offerings. Then he gets to recount the nooks and crannies for people like me who idle their cars in American driveways, hanging on his every word. I'm hooked on his travelogue and hear the enthusiasm of a newcomer — not a tourist, but someone hunkering down to a new life.

And I'm so incredibly jealous.

Not to mention he's probably eating in a pubs in his off hours. There's that, too.

I'm not saying I'd want to necessarily be new to London. In fact, while I'm dreaming, I'd specifically not like to be new, to have to learn the nuances of banking, grocery delivery and UK customer service and to feel hugely self-conscious. For the kids to attempt to discern when to use "our" and to print with serifs. But to pal around with my friends on the Marylebone High Street, laze about in Paddington Park Gardens, browse Daunt Books, play in Hyde Park, soak in culture and language and well, everything? Oh, and to buy wine nearly anywhere? I would jump at the chance to go back. And how. And with a few small people to boot.

I say that knowing full well we'd sure miss our new friends in Nashville, our church, school, budding committee assignments (Spirit Shop Co-Chair!) and our great big backyard. I'd miss the ease of taking a sick child in the car instead of a bus or cab. I'd miss Target. And my motorcade-ready car. I am reluctant to admit that I like the easy peasy of it all these days. But it is really true that we miss London and are grateful for these colorful snippets of news from the other side of the Atlantic.

Surely I might feel a bit that way, too if he were reporting from La Grange. We were at a dinner party over the weekend with folks new to Nashville after living 20 years in Chicago. They were delighted that we could fall in love with that area in less than 3 years. Love we did. The melancholy longing for places left behind always sings a little song in my heart. Thanks, terrifically sentimental Irish stock!

There is something about Ari's London reports that tug at me extra hard. Maybe that it is someone else's story now and we'll just be visitors. Even if (when!) I convince the kids and their cousins to study abroad.

But I'm exceedingly grateful for the audio postcards Ari Shapiro seems to be sending directly to my huge SUV on the school run. Here's hoping he needs an intern to sort through his inbox. I'll take payment in Waitrose mini pain au chocolate. Or we can just work out a barter system with Goo Goo Clusters. I've got it: I'll work for free and provide Tennessee's most sinful confection in exchange.

Also, I need housing for 6 and school spaces for 4. Three at Our Sweet School. Is that a deal breaker?


  1. I'm here because our beloved Ari's Facebook page sent me. I can definitely relate to your post! And my favorite quote is "The melancholy longing for places left behind always sings a little song in my heart." Yes. Yes. Amen.

  2. We just moved to the UK Ascot area love living here! I can't send you a Waitrose pain au chocolate but I could send you a box of small treats . I am going home to Canada in a few weeks and can send it from there. Just make your list would love to parcel it up and post it to you and your little ones. Let me know.

  3. I just LOVE the way you write! You are hilarious!
    I can totally picture you in your car listening to the radio on the school drive now! And I wish I could provide Pain au chocolat for you, but not the waitrose ones, please, come on, the real ones from a FRENCH bakery in France:-) xx