This hasn’t always been my city but it will always be my city. I first visited when I was 8, visited many times after and moved here in 2014 (July 31st cos I’m that much of a Harry Potter nerd). London is my home, where my heart sings with belonging.
London is a world city, we have everyone here, all the countries and people. It’s where the misfits come to gather. I feel like I belong here because you don’t need anything to feel like you belong except to love this city.
Well for the most part at least. We have our little Londoner rules, stand on the right, don’t make eye contact on public transport, don’t walk slow, drink lots of tea, always queue. We will get outraged if you push in whilst someone else is leaving the train, or if you queue jump. Most of the time we’ll just tut and go ‘really’ and not say anything.
Yesterday a terrible thing happened and all our hearts broke for our city, for the people who died and were injured, for their loved ones.
We do not have small hearts, people rushed to the aid of those injured, the brave service people of this city. We all worried about the situation online. I had plenty of friends checking I was ok and sending love and prayers to those in need.
As with 7/7 and the riots we do not let hatred bring us down, we tell it to do one and get on with life. We clean up and grieve and we don’t turn on each other, because it’s what they would want.
I love this city for many reasons. I love that the most outlandish things can happen and no one will bat an eyelid, that it gives you the freedom to do outlandish things. I love the fast pace and the ability to get anywhere in London so easily (well maybe not in the South). The best way to discover this city is to walk around it, you’ll find gems and you’ll find a sense of belonging.
My favourite place in the whole of London is a six storey bookshop, another person’s might be a tiny park or a bustling pub or a street filled with antique shops. There is something for everyone here. We have concerts and musicals and plays, sports venues and art galleries and pop up cafes. You can never be bored, there will always be something you haven’t seen, there will always be something new and something extremely old.
London just has that feeling, that vibe, the one that sweeps you off your feet and makes you fall in love with it. Then plonks you back down on the busy footpath full of smoggy air. It’s alright, we have plenty of parks.
We are resilient, we are worldly, we will always stand together and no matter what happens you can guarantee we’ll still end up drinking tea and moaning about the weather. We are Londoners.
“There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere”- Vivienne Westwood