557 days ago (yes, I counted) I packed up my things into boxes and moved to London. Three jobs, two homes, countless tube journeys and a LOT of brunch later, and I’m leaving.
When I moved, back in the summer of 2017, I was very sad, very fed up, and in desperate need of some change; and London offered that. It also turned out to offer me new friendships, endless things to see and do, and the most glorious summer I’ve ever had.
At times, especially at the beginning, I felt incredibly lonely and a little bit lost in a city so big. A few months in, I wrote about trying to make a home for myself in London, and how I was struggling without the people I loved being just down the road. But, in time, I found people I loved in London too.
Online friendships, which were once made up of retweets and double taps and DMs, turned into real-life brunches and dinners and evenings spent singing along to High School Musical. Disappointing dates and evenings spent swiping were soon swapped for proper conversations, getting past date number two and, much to my surprise, falling in love.
It’s somewhat bittersweet. I get to return to the friends I spent all that time missing back in the beginning, but now I’ve gained a whole new set of people to miss.
There’s other things I’ll miss too. I think I’ll miss the anonymity. The walking down a busy street and getting lost amongst all the people. The going to Tesco in pyjamas, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to bump into someone from work, or someone you went to school with haven’t seen in almost a decade.
I’ll miss the choice. The knowing I can get on a bus or jump on a tube and be in a totally different part of the city within 30 minutes. And, even though I might frequent the same spots over and over again, knowing the option to go somewhere different is there. If I want it.
Of course, because I’m leaving, I’m inevitably going to focus on the good things. The same way you miraculously seem to forget the bad bits when you’re going through a breakup.
I won’t miss crowded tubes, signal failures and the disdain at having to wait over four minutes for a tube. Standing in the cold, waiting for a Wimbledon train to finally arrive. Standing in the cold waiting for the number 74 bus to turn up after the aforementioned Wimbledon train never happened. Rent prices. Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. The Central Line in thirty-degree heat mid-July. The Central Line in general.
But I owe a lot to London. The city that picked me up when I was at my lowest. It pushed me to meet new people, make new friends, start new jobs and, most importantly, learn to cook more than just toast.
So goodbye, for now. I’m sure I’ll be back soon.