My attempt at describing my love for London

Phew... this is going to be a long'un, you might want to grab a cuppa!

I have attempted to describe this before (see the 'Londoner at heart' link on the left hand side) but I feel like I haven't done it properly. Many times before, people accused me of being a pretender, and of thinking of myself as "truly British" when in reality, that's complete and utter nonsense, so I kind of feel the need to clear things up. Let me try to explain.

As I mentioned before, after I came back from Australia, I felt lost. Truly and utterly lost. This place in Germany, which has never really felt like home anyway, suddenly felt like the completely wrong place to be in. At the time, I thought Australia was meant to be my home but over time I realised it's not. It will always hold a special place in my heart, of that I'm sure, but it is not where I'm meant to be. Day after day I found myself wondering whether I'd ever find a place where I'd truly feel myself in and the wanderlust to go out into the world and find such a place grew bigger by the day.

Eventually I ended up getting an internship in London which I had visited three times at the time. It was a pretty cool city and despite being really expensive, I was kind of curious to get to know it better. And so I went.

Stepping one foot out of the plane, I knew I was home. I knew this was the place that I had been looking for all the time. The journey to my first flat was long and exhausting but it wasn't half as bad as it could've been. Even the disappointment about having to move after only two weeks was gone in an instant after having found the most perfect houseshare. Without thinking, I signed a six month contract, even though I didn't have a job after October 31st. I had signed to stay in London until February and I knew it was right. It was so right.

"When you see orange skies and traffic lights
and then you know that you're home."

In case you didn't know, I study English linguistics and literature as my major, meaning my day to day uni life revolves around English. It was by far my best subject at school and having lived in Australia before, I obviously had the chance to improve my skills. However, I was 16 at the time and not being able to consistently speak English every single day will take away any fluency you might have previously had.
When I moved to London I was 22 which is quite a different stage in life. I actively and consciously picked up so many colloquial sayings which, in my opinion, is just natural. Living in an English speaking country I was forced to speak English every single day so obviously this meant that I improved my language and vocabulary - and the fact that acquiring languages comes easy to me probably came in handy, too.

I'm not someone who makes themself better than they are. Even more contrary, I tend to underestimate my strengths and put too much value in my weaknesses. So for me to even say that learning new languages comes easy to me (and I've been learning English for 13 years now!), it feels so wrong. Hence when people say I'm a pretender and think of myself as a Brit, I can't even begin to explain how wrong they are. I have been told multiple times that my accent sounds British and I am the first person to furiously deny it because really, I can't possibly pick up an accent in such a short period of time, as much as I would've liked to.

See the thing is, I'm not trying to be someone I'm not. I'm trying to be who I am. I'm trying to be who I am to the extent my surroundings here let me. When I lived in London, I felt at peace with myself. I liked myself. I was in the happiest place I could've possibly been.

Now I know, I know - I'm idolising everything.
I am very aware of that. Obviously I was in an extraordinary situation - I had savings, I knew I was only going to be there for a short period of time, and I didn't have to think about half the things I would have to think about if I was ever going to move to the UK permanently. But trust me, I have thought about a permanent move and the obstacles I would have to face are pretty hefty. And there would be times where I'd think it was all wrong. But I just KNOW that London would pick me up every day.

Since I've been back at uni and especially now during winter and Christmas time, I just miss the cosy atmosphere in Costa and Pret. We don't have as many cosy caf├ęs here - let alone chain stores! - with lovingly designed Christmas drinks and cups. I miss meal deals and having the opportunity to grab some lunch or a quick snack whenever wherever. Quickly getting a hot Christmassy drink in a cute little cup before going back to work or uni. Coffee dates. Rewarding myself with a trip to Costa or Pret after a long day (I know I keep coming back to these two as examples but I just love them and they're the first that pop into my head).

I could go on and on about what I miss the most but consequently, I miss the feeling of being at home. I get waves of jealousy whenever someone goes to London. The worst part of it all? London doesn't need me. London will be London without me.

But I'm not myself without London.

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