Overpriced. Overcrowded. Overrated.
These are all words that many, and even myself, have used to describe London before. And to be perfectly honest, they’re not a lie.
But my whole perspective shifted when I found out I’d actually be leaving London behind.
There are a multitude of side effects that often inevitably follow from a divorce, and they can be overlooked. The biggest side effect that I’m having to come to terms with is moving house.
Though I was born in the small town of Basingstoke, at the mere age of 6 months, my parents moved us into what has been my lifelong home in South London. We’re only in Zone 5, so we’re not right in the clutch of central London’s grasp, but we’re close enough to travel in within 30 minutes.
But unfortunately, I never completely utilized this opportunity, and continued to talk about how much I ‘hate’ London. Really, I think this was a coping mechanism.
How could I possibly miss London if the city was just an un-affordable load of rubbish anyway? (Well, the un-affordable part is true, if it wasn’t so expensive then we’d be able to afford to stay – damn you London).
So I admitted to myself that really I do love London, in fact so much so that I don’t want to say goodbye. Turns out that even if it is expensive, crowded and rife with pollution, it’s still a city which has unexpectedly captured my heart in ways I never thought possible, until I decided to truly come to terms with leaving.
‘You don’t know you’ll miss something until it is gone.’
And my God does it hurt to admit to this.
I mentally slap myself for not getting the train into central more often before, for not exploring the hidden streets of London more, for staying in my safe little Zone 5 town and ignoring the limitless views and days out London could offer me.
But becoming bogged down in hindsight is of no use, which is why I want to focus on what I can do now to make the most of this amazing city.
When will I be leaving London? That isn’t entirely set in stone yet, but by 2018 we should be gone.
It hurts my heart to even write this post, as I am still so unprepared in so many ways to be leaving. It doesn’t help that I’m the most sentimental person ever.
So for now, all I can do is use this blog as a platform to share my adventures in London, document my experience, and look back upon these posts when the time comes for me to leave.
Of course there is an entire world beyond London, but I have been so blessed to live here. Nowhere is better than home. And London is home.
And I want to love London, before I have to say goodbye – even if this makes things harder. Because London, you are so worthy of love, and I have not expressed it enough.