A Love Letter to London
I am a born and bred northerner. I love the north, northern cities, and northern people. When I left home to go to university, I didn’t even consider anywhere further south than Sheffield, and ended up settling in Manchester, with a bunch of northern friends… and affordable rent!
Yet, in September, it will have been a whole year since I moved to London. Visiting London is great fun, like splashing about in the shallow end of a nice pool, or going in the Jacuzzi; moving here straight out of university to pursue working full time on my blog felt a lot like diving in at the deep end without a single swimming lesson.
London is not like anywhere else and my time here has been a series of highs, lows and heightened emotions. I am a terrible sucker for the romantic faux significance of milestones, so 12 months on seems like the perfect time for me to reflect on my first experience of living in London, and to try to figure out why I have ended up falling in love with the capital.
Is it the people? Surely not, I thought. I just don’t get on with Southerners, do I? It turns out, in spite of the fact that they pronounce things incorrectly and invariably all sound like the Queen or Del Boy, I do. The people I have met and befriended in London, no matter what their background, are driven, creative, and (most importantly) up for a laugh. Maybe they won’t always smile at you on the tube, but who really wants that anyway?
It would be naïve to suggest appearance has nothing to do with my love for London, which is really quite beautiful if you look at it from the right angle, at the right time. Watching a pink sunset over the skyline from a rooftop, sitting in the front seat on the top deck of a bus across Tower Bridge, or walking around world famous landmarks at night time, is like seeing your boyfriend in his best outfit, with a fresh haircut.
Over time, too, you find yourself endeared by what might be considered by others to be imperfections about your partner. Maybe your girlfriend has a wonky tooth, but that’s your favourite thing about her. Peckham High Street may get a little crowded, but it’s got a really fancy Burger King and a salon called Beyoncé’s.
I could not possibly write about my London love without talking about the food here. After moving to London, I also became vegan, and have been living lavishly, hopping between the city’s best meat-and-dairy-free spots. In London, eating out and discovering new restaurants, pop-ups, and market stalls is bascially a competitive sport – my own personal Olympics! If my stomach is in fact the way to my heart, that must be where the city has got me.
All of my positive feelings toward London can, I think, be summarised in one word: opportunity. The opportunity to meet people, to be inspired, to see bands, to see art, to make art, to experience unique events that just don’t happen anywhere outside the capital. A part of me resents the fact that you almost *have* to live in London in order to succeed and progress in a creative industry, but now that I am here there is something nonpareil about the seemingly infinite prospects available to me, if not immediately then at some point in the future.
The consistency of the place is overwhelming, sometimes oppressive, but opportunity keeps that small but indubitable buzz of excitement permanently in the pit of my stomach.