Skip to main content

On London

It seems impossible to consider, but there is a moment when London becomes just… London. Just a city you work in, live in. Its history, its grandeur, its beauty, fall away. You take them all for granted and, instead, life in London becomes about getting from A to B, about eating when you’re hungry, about finding distractions to get through those few hours when you’re not working, eating, in transit. So when something comes along to reboot your brain, to remind you how truly wonderful England’s capital is, well, it’s a blessing.
 
London, you're A-OK in my book!
For me, that reminder came in the form of my dad.


When I returned to London from Greece (thankfully flying with the wonderful Aegean Airlines rather than British Airways – in which case my flight would have been cancelled), my dad came along. Though he had visited London some ten years previously, in darkest winter, with my mum, it was almost as if he was visiting for the first time. Not only because it was the beginning of summer, but also because he would now be seeing London as the city his eldest daughter was choosing to call home, if for a short (?) while.

As I mentioned in my post from (gulp) two weeks ago (really hope y’all didn’t notice my lack of posting last week for the FIRST TIME EVER since beginning this blog – not even a re-post!), my time in Greece was…complex. And even with my two side trips to the islands of Andros (go!) and Zakynthos (go second!) which were wonderful, I was still utterly elated to return home. Yes, home. As the plane touched down at Heathrow airport (terminal two thankfully), the weight I had been carrying around for a little too long, evaporated. I was back, back to my life, back to my routine, back to not thinking about how wonderful London was because surely I was a hardened Londoner by now.

Or so I thought.

Instead, I became a tour guide, a cheerleader even, for this amazing city. Not only that, I became a witness. A witness to someone else falling in love with a place that already had my heart. I thought it would happen gradually, if it was to happen at all (I had put together an itinerary to ensure it did happen but one never knows…), but even on the drive from the airport to Dad’s hotel in Fitzrovia (yes, I pulled out all the stops), I could see him falling already.

Over the next few days, under a sun that greeted us somewhat shyly, we visited horse guards and modern art exhibitions and a great abbey and pubs and men’s clothing shops (dear god the service in those places is amazing) and Pret (yep, you read that correctly) and libraries and museums and parks and Hackney and streets filled with buildings to put any other Empire to shame. It wasn’t only my dad’s eyes that were wide with amazement at every turn, my own eyes were once again opened to how truly wonderful this place is. There is so much on offer, and not just in terms of things to do, but the history that greets you at every turn is breathtaking. The diversity of people, of food, of how your day will unfold, makes the city utterly unique.

We dragged our poor feet back to the hotel lobby on Dad’s last day, a short while before he was due back at the airport, and with our thirst quenched, I knew he would return to Melbourne with a better understanding of why I had chosen to live in London.

I was always going to write about Dad’s visit to the UK. I knew that during those few days, the angle for my piece would present itself and the words would flow. And then the terrible events of Saturday night happened and I knew I wouldn’t change my mind. I wanted to write this piece to remind myself, remind anyone reading this piece, about how easily it is to fall in love with London and why whenever something terrible happens to it, we’ll all band together to make sure life keeps going. Because when you love something, you don’t give up, you don’t let go, you never stop caring. And that’s why we will never be defeated by those driven by hate and fear. London has my heart – it always will.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On accidentally becoming a cat person

Building a new life in a new city can throw challenges at you both big and small. Most challenges are to be expected; learning a new public transport system, setting up a bank account, finding the local pub, getting a job, making friends. Some are not; Brexit, realising your old winter clothes are a laughing stock when compared to ACTUAL winter clothes, Brexit, knowing your phone calls home will always mean one side of the conversation is just waking up while the other is on its way to being drunk and never the two wavelengths shall meet, Brexit.
What I hadn’t planned on were challenges that would fundamentally change who I was. And in that respect, there is one challenge needs addressing, and has needed addressing for some time. For the eagle-eyed amongst you, you will have noticed a certain someone who has crept into my Twitter feed and onto my ‘currently reading’ page. And for those of you who have spotted this certain someone, and also know me well, will surely be wondering WHAT TH…

On the privilege of seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (no spoilers, promise!)

Beloved characters from books, films and television shows are often sacred ground for us fans. We have journeyed with them, taken them into our hearts and think about them when our real lives are being a little less than spectacular. And so, when these characters are revisited for what sometimes feels like a money grab, and what sometimes is (I’m sure) a form of closure for the creatives, we wait with the duelling emotions of hope and fear, wondering if those in charge are about to wreck everything. Most often than not, they do wreck things, a lot (Mitch Hurwitz and your Arrested Development season 4 shambles, I’m looking at you!). While I always want more Bridget Jones, Mad About the Boy didn’t quite do it for me and I’m terrified about seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby for fear that watching it will forever ruin the first film and first two books for me. Similarly, I’m nervous about the upcoming Gilmore Girls episodes even though I’d give my right arm to go back to Stars Hollow. And maybe…

On buying toilet paper in a new city

It’s the little things. They’re the parts of life that can offer the greatest moments of joy or send you into the darkest depths of despair. This is true never more so than when you’re trying to create a new life away from the comfort, security and familiarity of home.
The first time I moved to the UK was ten years ago. I was in my mid-twenties (read: actual mid-twenties) and I was lucky enough to have arrived with a job and friends to stay with until I got my own place sorted. Nevertheless, I still experienced some sharp learning curves and long, dark moments of doubt about the choices I’d made. Thankfully, I came out the other side a better, more learned, more experienced person who could often be heard remarking how living in the UK for two years was one of the best things I’d ever done.
On my second move to the UK, which entered its one-month anniversary this past Sunday (hence the reflective tone of this post), I expected things to be very different. I was at a different stage of m…