For twelve months, I’ve been a resident of your fair city. Twelve gloriously sweet, whirlwind months.
You felt like home after twelve minutes.
I’m sometimes asked if I’ll ever leave you. And my mum loves to badger me about when I’m moving back up north. But as things stand right now, I’m not sure I ever will. In my hometown, 11pm’s the time you think about hitting the sack, not the club. Rap concerts don’t go down on random Tuesdays. No-one knows what ackee and saltfish are. And the view ain’t nothing like this:
People tend to mourn manners once they’re south of Watford Gap. Rude, inconsiderate, always in a rush and only thinking of themselves. That’s how your people are categorised, London. Outsiders think they’re all soulless drones who can’t hold a conversation and risk spontaneous combustion if smiled at. (And maybe that’s legit what it’s like in your central parts, but I rarely like to visit them. No offence.) However, my experience is so, so different. The people I’ve met since moving to your city a year ago? They’re some of the warmest, most creatively turned-on people I’ve ever known. I know real-life human beings who like to frequent dance classes, poetry readings and hip-hop karaoke nights as much and as often as I do. 10pm ice-cream dates have become a thing and I get invited to actual outdoor picnics in the East End (which are taken very, very seriously by some). Thank you for the introductions.
I could go on. About the way my tummy smiles when I consume your messy falafel wraps and cinnamon-topped chai lattes like the foodie-hipster-cliché I’ve become. About the way I catch myself almost dropping the word ‘sick’ into complimentary sentences. About the way the tube map no longer looks like a bewildering array of multicoloured spaghetti strands that – wait – you actually expect me to master?! About the way I can’t cross the river without goosebumps forming and my head attempting to defy the odds by spinning 360° atop my neck. About the way I’ve become so accustomed to seeing it that I breeze past Buckingham Palace without a second glance, preferring to marvel at the camera-clutching tourists with grins as wide as their heads who’ve circumnavigated the globe to get a taste of this place that I actually call home.
Cheers, London, for the love affair of my life. Let’s not call the whole thing off just yet (or – dare I say it – ever), OK?
Smitten in SW16