So I’m off. I’ve got about four days left of London. The time is split by a trip to continental Europe where I’ll be able to compare the awesomeness of this city to a lot of others. But I know nothing can compare to this place. Nothing can compare to walking to the coffee shop and seeing Big Ben in the distance. Nothing can compare to being called ‘dear’ on a daily basis. Nothing can compare to constant dog sweaters.
I’ve spent roughly three months in this city and I could spend the rest of my life here too. Never once was I homesick for the regularity of Washington, DC or the charm of Florida, my home state. It was like this city absorbed me, body and soul and then I just existed. I was always excited to get out of my room, just walk around, maybe go to a market and look at pretty things all day. And I didn’t even have to go to a market to see pretty things all day, I could just take a stroll through Hyde Park or by the Thames.
Beauty was so regularly available that it became the norm but I can see myself waking up to the sounds of emergency vehicles again in DC and whimpering for the beauty back.
When I first arrived I was so anxiety-ridden that the time seemed to zoom by. It was only when I realized my days were numbered that I began to savor. And I’m so glad I did. It started to become a game in my head where I would not let a day go by without doing something new, without being pleased with my day and those were the days I’ll remember for a long time. It could be a simple thing like a walk or a museum outing for under an hour. I just had the self-motivation to do pretty much everything and I’m so glad I did.
Travel is stressful and you can have an absolutely crippling breakdown thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Your bag could get stolen, you could break your iPhone, your hair straightener could erupt in flame, you could be forced to have the most awkward breakfast of your life at your Berlin hostel. All of those things could happen and you could be left in a state of absolute misery but what you have to remember, totally and absolutely, is that you are in a foreign country. I know people who have never been on a plane before, who have never seen snow and if you remember how lucky you are to have traveled to be living in London then everything becomes fine.
I could not have asked for a better stay here. It felt like I could finally breathe without stalling after I got over the initial hump. It was like taking a shot of happy every morning.
I’ll be riding on those memories when I go home. I’ll be nostalgic to the point of annoyance. I could be having a wretched day but then I’ll think of the red buses and almost getting run over and the dog sweaters and the stress will pour off. I have these memories to ride on and I’m so thankful.
I’m going to miss a lot of things. I’m going miss the smell of croissants and expensive coffee. I’m going to miss escaping into the city by myself with my own motives, on my own terms. I’m going to miss the red buses and the tube. I’m going to miss Parisian weekends and bus rides through the countryside. I’m going to miss the trees and the roses. I’m going to miss the sound of my neighbor’s voice. I’m going to miss the bottles clinking at three in the morning. I’m going to miss how the air felt after a day of rain. I’m going to miss how my hair has looked for three months. I’m going to miss my hairdresser who cut my bangs and spoke zero English. I’m going to miss boys who wear oxfords and argyle. I’m going to miss the horrible Chinese food in Camden. I’m going to miss walking down Drury Lane and Fleet Street. I’m going to miss the scooters and I’m going to miss the city. I’m going to miss this city but I know I’ll be back. I have to be.