I won’t go as far to say London is a Marmite city, after all some people can visit for a week and leave with nothing more than sore feet and some clichéd photos. But for the rest of us, London either makes you want to run away or just hooks you and reels you in*.
I have had this discussion with fellow bloggers over the last week, and all confess to being speechless when asked some variation of “why do you like living in London?”. The lame (and instantly available) answer mentions the incredible amount of stuff to do in London, or how close it it to Europe. What that answer doesn’t do is actually answer the complex relationship most expats have with this crazy city.
New York has the ambition, Paris has the romance and Rome has the food…so what does that leave London with?
Well, for one London has options. Anything you want to do, any people you want to meet, and niche hobby you want to take up is available here. For me that was finding Kiwi girls who like brunch, bloggers who like exploring and coffee fiends who like…coffee. The only catch is that you have to be ballsy enough to go out and grab all those waiting opportunities. Its more than just ‘stuff’, more than a list of current shows and exhibitions – its what lets you live the life you want to lead.
London is also an escape. For kiwis especially, London is used as a 2 year break from reality. Its the place you go before you have to think about mortgage, marriage and kids. Or its the gap between the career you choose out of university and the one that is right for you.
This big city is a lot smaller than it used to be. I was here for university about 5 years ago** and it was a completely different game. With the proliferation of Facebook groups and helpful apps London is a much easier pill to swallow.
What London also has is the ability to make you feel special. Whenever you see one of those little blue plaques you remember the hundreds of years of thoughts, feelings and inspiration around you & makes you appreciate every footstep. Or when you turn a corner and come across Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace or St Pauls, you suddenly feel privileged to be dwarfed by such monuments.
Its not always easy. London is expensive, my family is in a different hemisphere and my accent gets constantly mocked. So why do I like living in London? Because I am happy here.
*or both at the same time
**man that makes me feel old