When I was nine years old, my parents took my sister and me on a family holiday to the UK. We spent a good portion of our two-week break in London, going to museums, exploring different neighbourhoods, navigating the tube and riding double-decker buses. By the end of the trip, I was so smitten by the city that I proudly announced to my mother that I was going to live there one day.
Seven years ago today, I made that goal come true.
I moved to London fresh off my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design; I had a British passport (my father was born here), a British boyfriend and an older sister already living in the UK. Seven years later I still have two of those things, as well as an ever-growing love and appreciation for my adopted hometown and all it’s given me.
I feel like different places impact on different periods in our lives. Ottawa saw my childhood, Toronto my work-hard-play-harder university years, and London is where I became an adult. Here I’ve dealt with mundane things like flat-hunting, job-hunting and taking care of myself, and big-ticket ones like breakups, death, and the kind of homesickness that can come when (almost) all your friends and family are a long-haul flight and several time zones away. I’ve seen more joy and heartache in this town than possibly anywhere else, and it regularly reminds me that a) I’m as anonymous and inconsequential as anybody else and b) I’m much, much stronger than I ever believed.
In day-to-day life, it’s easy to get frustrated with London (as with anywhere); the weather can be miserable for weeks on end, tourists on the tube piss me off and the people are abrupt and stand far too close behind you at ATMs. But every now and then, when I’m walking by myself in a park or gazing out the window of a black cab while it zips me home after a night out, it hits me. I’m so, so lucky to live here.
After all that eulogizing, I’m looking forward to escaping my beloved London as soon as the clock strikes six this evening. It’s a three-day weekend here, and I’ll be spending it by the seaside in Dover with a good friend. We’ve got a tight schedule of horseback riding, pub dinners, trips to the seaside and relaxation planned; it’s a tough life but somebody’s got to do it. I’ll be back here next Wednesday.
Later, lovelies! x
P.S. For more (practical) London love, check out this recent article I wrote for Apartment Therapy, on tips for thriving and surviving in this fantastic city.