(Originally written in April, 2009)
My adoring crew has pointed out in the most non-loving, finger-pointing, laughing out loud way, that my “Madonna voice” is alive and well in London. I have to admit, I noticed it before we got here. While I was working nights to accommodate the 8 hour time difference, and days to accommodate a typical work day, I noticed myself talking with a British accent when on the phone with the lovely Brits. In fact, I wasn’t just suddenly English with the Brits, but with the French and the Germans as well.
My boss said he wonders what they must think speaking to an American producer putting on a British accent. I swear, I’m not doing it on purpose. It just happens.
And what’s so wrong with it anyway? When in London, right? It rubs off and I have to consciously stop myself from doing it. When I was inIndia or China, I would speak broken English the same way they did – it’s just an empathetic adaptive middle ground of communication.
I’ve found myself using phrases like, “let’s give it a go” and throwing in accent words like “quite” and ending sentences with, “well it’s quite lovely, really”. And whenever something is good, it’s “fantastic” or “brilliant” or “very good, then, cheers”.
I’ve discovered that a “quid” is the same thing as “a buck” ($), it’s “toilet” not “bathroom” and you must “LOOK LEFT” not right for oncoming traffic. You don’t just order a beer, you order a “pint” and today at Burger King I saw a Royale Chicken Sandwich – but they did have the Whopper. I’ll have to speak to Quinten Tarantino about that one. And for the record, I was only at Burger King because we had to eat on the road after a 12 hour day and 3 hour drive back to the hotel. It was nasty.
Indian food, as it turns out, is an absolute must in London. Yes, you can try Bangers and Mash or the infamous Fish n Chips (chips meaning fries), but nothing beats an amazing Indian food dinner in London. “It’s really quite lovely.” There are as many Indian food restaurants in London as there are Mexican food restaurants in San Diego – I suppose due to English rule in India for so long. We ate at one in SOHO last night that was mouthwatering.
SOHO in London’s “West End” is where the theatre district is with a feel reminiscent of Broadway in Manhattan. Our cameraman from Long Island asked with surprise, “Oh, there’s a SOHO here?” Funny, because there was a SOHO in London before there was one in New York. So much of the English names came to the America we know today, predominantly on the East Coast, that we sometimes assume incorrectly are inherently American.
SOHO is also the gay part of town complete with bumpin’ dance music from the clubs, men dressed as women, and hot muscular guys completely unavailable to the female gender. Pre-kid, I would be compelled to hang out, drink and dance through the wee hours. But these days, a good night’s sleep sounds more appealing. I used to want to “live”. Now I just want to “rest”.
Something about becoming a mother changes every fiber of your being. What used to be a relentless pursuit of career, world travel and “success” has now become a less important way to make a few bucks. I’m not nearly as stressed out as I used to be. Why? Because there are more important things in my life than making sure the director eats breakfast or that the driver isn’t late. I still care that things get done well and get done right, but I don’t base my worth on it anymore. The only thing that makes me worthy is being a good mom to my baby girl and a happy wife to my husband. Does that make me “domestic”, “less adventurous”, or heaven forbid “weak”? Anyone who thinks that has never had a child.
A woman who runs her household, mothers her child, is a wife to her husband, a member of the workforce and a friend to herself is anything but domestic, less adventurous or weak. They are the underdog, the underappreciated and the finger on the pulse of normalcy. We do it all,sometimes begrudgingly, but always with pride and purpose. That is what womanhood is all about. This is what I am teaching my daughter with my absence, but I can’t wait to get my lips on those sweet soft cheeks, my arms around that warm wiggly body and nose in that baby-smelling hair. I love you Bambina. I’ll be home as fast as I can.