From the first time I watched Lindsay Lohan in the Parent Trap I’ve been fascinated with London. I’ve kept it under wraps for years but I’ve subtly expressed my love of London over the years. From wearing a union jack belt buckle I found in my step brother’s closet after he moved out (sorry Tommy), to my keep calm and carry on phone case that made me instant besties with a client, to my love affair with the BBC and their programming of Robot Wars as a kid to Doctor Who and Sherlock today, including sneaking off to watch Queer as Folk UK on my laptop at BYU.
So when I stepped off the plane in July 2014 to spend a week in London before meeting up with friends in Ireland I was giddy as could be. I hopped on the Tube and checked into my hotel near Buckingham Palace. I visited the British Museum, Soho, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, and even popped up to Oxford.
That trip changed my life because I walked away from Oxford telling myself I’d be back someday and I did. I flew away from London’s Gatwick Airport headed to Dublin and I told myself that I had made it. This kid from Utah who had been kicked out of BYU, who had survived living in the middle of nowhere in Texas, whose Mom never graduated college had made it to London.
This past month I’ve woken up in ‘my London flat’, walked to the tube and chatted with Sunni my coffee guy, found a local pub, found about a dozen ways to work for when the tube breaks down. I have upped my wardrobe to fit in with the ‘London Style’. Spent Sunday’s having brunch with friends and exploring the city. I am so far from becoming a Londoner it isn’t even funny, but at the same time I am closer than I’ve ever been before.
London isn’t perfect but it has some of my favorite bits of every city. It is the political heart of the UK and (until recently) a lot of Europe in just the same way DC is. It is the financial heart like New York and has the theatre scene to back it up as well. It thrives on distinct neighborhoods just like Chicago with each one very proud of its heritage and even local football teams. It has a tech bubble in East London just like San Francisco, complete with areas I’d avoid as much as the Tenderloin.
London has parks and green spaces, public transportation with connections to 4 international airports for cheap flights to Europe. London, while it may have its risks post-brexit, represents a unique chance for me to live where I’ve dreamed of and experience the new cultures that it has to offer.