My first love affair was with the city of London, and it’s now etched into my being; we’ve become soulmates. Like any relationship, we faced our trials and tribulations. But overall, it has always been a relationship filled with love. The hardest part of our love affair has been this painful breakup. Sadly, for the time being, I must bid farewell to London.
I had big plans for 2020, I am a dreamer, always seeking the next goal. To attain certain dreams, I would need to take a leap of faith. This involved leaving my beloved city of London behind, and although this farewell wouldn’t be forever, it still hurt to say goodbye. Yet, as a writer and dreamer, I know that every journey requires venturing “into the unknown”. The first step of a magical quest is always the hardest. I felt good about my decision because something exciting lay ahead. All until… 2020 happened!
The funny thing about dreams is, sometimes, they do not turn out the way you envisioned them. Nevertheless, dreams still can come true. This year, I finally published my first novel. I couldn’t have imagined my debut novel would launch amidst a global pandemic, that friends and family could not celebrate their wedding, graduation nor prom. I never predicted we would lose simple freedoms to hold our loved ones, and the awful losses. My dreams, like many other people’s dreams, must remain on halt as the world hits the restart button. Whilst the world is buffering, I must bid goodbye to London. However, as boxes lie around me in my picturesque flat, I feel myself smile from fond memories.
I first came to London as a misguided teenager with dreams of becoming a writer and finding true love. Nine years later, I am happily married, and I have officially launched my debut novel. If I stop to think on the perilous journey, to get to this stage in my life, it puts things in perspective.
Nobody belongs in London, and yet, everybody belongs in the Big Smoke. London is home to everyone. To say I love London would be an understatement. The city has moulded me into an author, and become etched into my heart forever. Without London, I would not be happily married or discovered new depths of my creativity.
Whilst London may be the capital of the United Kingdom, there is no lack of different languages to be heard. No matter what your beliefs, background, ethnicity or sexuality, London welcomes all walks of life. I will never forget my first time in Soho, a place where the LGBTQ+ community were free of prejudice. Being gay no longer felt like a solitary experience. Here in the city men were openly holding hands in the street without judgment. I would meet so many different people from the community who had all gone through different trials and tribulations, from transgender to bisexual.
As mentioned before, the city homes a vast array of cultures. In fact, it brings tears of joy when I think about the beautiful marriage of different cultures in one small area. You can be in South London and get the best Caribbean food from the jerk chicken to the curry goat. If you go to North London into Camden Town you can see the gentrified glory of alternative punk and rock.
Of course, I wish I could enjoy the delights of the city before I leave, but I have been graced to live in the city centre where I can walk the familiar streets during lockdown. Some streets still manage to give me chills even to this day. St Paul’s Cathedral always takes my breath away, and walking next to Tower Bridge is always a delight. There is something beautiful about the collision of the historical buildings that manage to co-exist with the ever-growing skyscrapers.
I have been lucky to meet so many creative people in London which leads me to believe the city feeds inspiration to others. I am often attending performances of local artists who are climbing steadily to success. It feels only fitting that my debut novel would launch when I lived in London.
Naturally, there is also the dark side of London. The extremely expensive living costs have resulted in my living in some interesting places. Despite London being a cosmopolitan oasis, I still got targeted by bullies. The most frightening memory was getting mugged at knife point. Yet, all these things have only fuelled my creativity.
When something bad happens, it forces you to change and adapt. I am not the same naive boy who arrived in London, and I am grateful for that. I discovered different cultures and learned new languages. I have adapted around past events and ultimately grown wiser. I know I will not stop dreaming and that I will return to the city in the future.
London had since made me want to explore the world. I keep seeing new places and each new country feeds into my crazed convoluted mind. No matter where I will end up in my career or in my personal life, London will be the reason I got there.