Sometimes the world breaks your heart. Sometimes it cracks your heart wide open and love shines out. This is just my little ode.
- I fell in love while in London. Twice. The first time taught me what I deserve, who I could be and what I was capable of. The second time felt like coming home. Don’t tell me London isn’t magical.
- I found my home church. Which completely grew my faith in unexpected ways and everything feels better now.
- I met my best friend there. And my other best friend. And that other one. Basically, I have the kindest, funniest, sexiest, brightest and most supportive circle of friends and I met them all in London. And the best part? Almost none of them are actually from London. Because London is so cool and diverse like that.
- Speaking of people from other places…there is something to be said for meeting folks of different cultures, faiths, races, sexual orientations, values and outlooks all in one place. You know how people travel to learn more about how the rest of the world lives? You don’t really need to. You can just go to London. It’s eye opening and extreme and also so safe.
- Speaking of travel, if you decide you do need just a bit more of any of the things I mentioned above, you can easily travel to other countries from London for the price of a venti macchiato from Starbucks. Hang on while I find my receipt from my £5 flight to Copenhagen…
- I’m just gonna come out and say it: I really, really love the tube. And even better, I really love the overground. And you know what else? I don’t even hate the DLR. It’s efficient and safe and clean (just maybe don’t get off at Shadwell…)
- Which reminds me, TFL employees paid for me to get to work 3 separate times. The struggle was real and people can be the kindest. Especially in London.
- I saw celebrities walking down the street and I won’t pretend for one second that that wasn’t exciting. #Shameless
- The weather isn’t nearly as bad as people say. There may have been rainy days, but have you ever watched the sun set over Putney Bridge in July? Try it.
- The tourist attractions are some of the greatest and cheesiest in the world. Ripley’s Believe It or Not was the biggest eyesore of Piccadilly Circus, but I watched people pose every day in front of those stupid exhibits they had out front and people were literally so happy. Like that goofy kind of happy that you only get when you are a tourist in the greatest city in the world.
- I can’t mention tourist attractions without mentioning my absolute favorite, The London Eye. You are big and glassy and centrally located and you give people amazing views of an amazing city. Keep doing you.
- I have learned animals, food, colors, numbers and swear words in several languages because I lived in London. Some of those words have come in handier than others, but I like to think they all help me become a more well rounded person.
- Living in London makes you feel like you are part of the most wonderful secret that the rest of the world is missing out on. And they are.
- I just really think its funny when you’re sitting in the pub in Covent Garden after work and you see horses walk past the window.
- Everything Royal: Will and Kate. Diana. Harry. Buckingham Palace. History. Ridiculous made up holidays. The fact that the Queen has like, 4 birthdays. How about seeing an actual
duchessprincess shopping at Lululemon? The road being closed on your way to work because: THE QUEEN. Hell, I’m not even mad at Megan Markle. Get it girl. I love it all.
- London accepts people. Unlike, oh, let’s say, New York, where you could live there for 15 years and people would still argue whether you were a ‘true’ New Yorker. In London, you just belong.
- Late night fox encounters. It is random and it is wild. Literally. It’s a bizarre experience to get to the point where coming face to face with a fox on your walk home is normal. And then when it actually follows you home? Welcome to Holloway Road. But don’t worry. It isn’t really following you. It’s just that it was heading your way because it happens to live in your backyard. With its 6 pups.
- Night bus stories. (Not actual night buses though. Those are scary.)
- Start at Victoria. Walk to Buckingham Palace. Take a picture. Cross the street. Walk through Green Park. Watch out for squirrels. Exit the park. You’re close to The Ritz. It’s fancy and cool and you can’t afford it but walk by and turn your nose up as if you’re too good for it anyway. Keep walking. Stop in at Waterstones. Take your time, it’s huge. Buy a book or two. Leave the store, hang onto your bag because you are going to get pushed and bumped into. Keep walking though. You’ve made it to Piccadilly Circus. Take in the lights. Watch the street performers but don’t give them money because they make more than you. Listen to it all. Feel less alone. Now take this walk every time life gets hard. You’ll feel better. I promise.
- Everyone is just trying to make it and with that comes so much acceptance of you and whatever dream it is you are trying to reach. You just feel welcomed and understood in London in a way that other places don’t offer.
- Chicken shops. I wouldn’t go in one, but I like to think it was London’s way of leaving the lights on for me during my late night walks home.
- Colorful doors in Notting Hill.
- I started sharing my writing with people for the first time in London. I started this blog in London. I’ve been writing my whole life, but I feel like I really became a writer in London. London makes space for you.
- City farms. Cause sometimes you just need to get away, but not actually get away.
- Brick Lane. Everything and all the things about Brick Lane. I can’t get enough of Brick Lane. I LOVE BRICK LANE.
- Like food? Coffee? Beer? Welcome to London. You’ll find the best restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and pop ups. Late night greasy chips on Liverpool Street? Date nights with your love at Chiltern Firehouse? Bone marrow cocktails at Duck and Waffle? London has it all, and more.
- Summer. People get happy in London in the summer months. I know they do everywhere, but it’s different in London. There’s energy and buzzy excitement. There’s also Southbank, which is my favorite people watching summer spot. Late night movies in Hyde Park aren’t the worst, either.
- Discovering special spots like the balcony of the Sky Garden that feel like they are just yours but actually everyone in the city also thinks that place is their special spot. (That tiny French wine bar in Shoreditch really is mine though.)
- Museums. FREE museums. And galleries and concerts and live shows and slam poetry and festivals and gigs and workshops and magazine talks. What’s your flavor?
- Oxford Street. On a Saturday. At Christmas time. London has this funny way of helping you measure what you can handle.
- East London. West London. North London. South London. (Yes, those are in a particular order.) They are all so different and wonderful and charming. You can spend a whole day in an area different from where you live and feel like you’ve actually traveled to a new place. Try spending your morning in Hackney and your evening in Chelsea. It’s bizarre and amazing.
This list is by no means complete. This is just what spilled out over the course of the day, besides a few tears, of course. London is good, is what I’m saying. It’s magical and accepting and filled with sparkly souls all trying to do their thing. I spent 28 years dreaming, imagining, and planning for London. And then I showed up on a sweltering day in late October and God laughed and life said, “Buckle up.” So I did.