I live in London.
The meaning and the way I feel about those words changes from time to time.
Some days I’m quite blasé about the whole thing. Yeah, it’s where I live…yada-yada, no big deal, it’s just a city….whatever.
Then other days, I’m absolutely amazed. OMG! I live in Londuuuuun! How brilliant is that!
It’s where on any given day I can see Big Ben or Parliament House, red double-decker buses and Black Cabs, Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace….the very same things that people who live in other parts of the world can only dream about.
My Grandmother is from London and despite living in Australia for 60 odd years, still retains her very Queen like accent, I’d listen intently to her stories of growing up in London and going to boarding school. Back then, I imagined it would have been adventurous and exciting and lots of fun, just like the Enid Blyton, St. Clare’s and Malory Towers series of books I loved to read as a young girl, though I am sure the reality for my nan was nothing like the adventures those girls got up to. Still…I always fantasized about the day I’d get to go to boarding school in England. That day never came sadly, but my yearning to one day see London for myself stayed with me.
I was 35 when I finally made it here, by chance. I met my husband back in Melbourne 10 years ago. We were dating for a bit but I had no plans to include a man in my life at the time….I was going to move to Queensland and get myself some sunshine. Anyhow, you know what they say about making plans….life tends to get in the way, right.
Next thing I know, Marc and I are a couple, are on a plane and then touchdown…London Heathrow airport!
It was very exciting. We had no jobs, no plans and bugger all money. We found a hotel from a noticeboard at Paddington Station, grabbed a cab, went and checked in, threw the luggage in our room, then we were off walking. I had only one destination in mind.
Walking through Hyde Park and Green Park was just lovely, all the statues and gorgeous big trees, people walking their dogs and jogging around The Serpentine…..but when I saw, for the first time, with my very own eyes Buckingham Palace….I burst into tears. I was so happy. Marc thought it was cute that I got so emotional, I was a little embarrassed at how overwhelmed I felt. It’s hard to explain but it was kind of surreal, (I hate that word and try to not use it….but it really does fit here).
I had seen it on television, in films, I had read about it in books and magazines, I’d had my nan and others who had seen it for themselves try to describe it….but being there and seeing for myself, in person….well, it was just fantastic. All I could think was…I’m in London. London! I’m really here….at Buckingham Palace. Pinch. Yep….this is really happening…..more tears.
Over the years we have lived here, it’s really become home. I no longer feel like Australia is home. I still use the expression, “back home”….but, home in the Australian sense means where we are from, originally. Home, in the British sense is more than where we live, it’s where we feel truly at home.
There are things I miss about Oz, and always will. I miss the casualness and friendliness of the place. It took me a good 6 months before I realised that people in London weren’t being rude, they were just keeping to themselves, minding their own business….not something that happens in Oz. People in London will happily come for dinner or coffee if invited, but rarely, if ever, just “pop round” unexpectedly like they do in Oz….I miss that. I miss someone just being in the area, calling to tell me to put the kettle on, they’ll be there in 5mins.
But London has so much to be happy about, to be grateful for….so much that makes me love the place.
Yeah, the skies are grey a lot of the time….but when the sun shines through those clouds, Oh, how the people rejoice. People instantly get a pep to their step and will smile and say good morning. We do not take blue skies for granted here….it’s something to be celebrated. I like that.
Yeah, it drizzle’s a lot, it can drizzle non stop for days, weeks even…..but when it stops, people will talk about it being a “nice day today”. I like that….focus on the good, focus on today.
The flats in London are fabulous, all that Georgian and Victorian architecture….I love it.
The galleries, are endless and free! Perfect for those drizzle and grey type days.
Want to see a play….no worries, take your pick….there must be at least 50 different choices in London on any given day.
The summer concerts and festivals pack every weekend with the very best in music that the world has to offer….and they are all here, in London….or not far from London, every weekend, every summer!
Want to duck over to Paris for lunch….no worries, the Eurostar will have you there in 2 and a bit hours. Pop over in the morning, come back after lunch. Easy. How could anyone not love that?
Europe is just over there….anywhere you want to fly to for the weekend, or a week, is just a quick flight away. Zip to New York in around seven hours, Black Friday sales anyone? Brilliant.
I love walking along The Thames from Hammersmith, down to Putney, over the bridge, head to Barnes, stop for a pint and lunch, cross back over and head home through Chiswick. It’s a fabulous walk and a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Watching the rowing clubs practising on a misty morning, joggers out jogging, walkers out walking. I love it.
I could go on and on about London and all the fabulous little things that make it the greatest place to live….the sense of humour of Londoners is unique and very special. Grab a cab in London, they ALL know where they are going and boy-oh-boy do those cab drivers love a chat, I love that!
Portobello Market, Borough Market and Camden Market are brilliant. The sheer amount of choices one has in London is honestly mind boggling. The food, the pubs, the clothes, the parks….there’s something for everyone….all the time!
London is my home, she is a part of me now….and I am very happy about that.