Saturday, 15 September 2018

A love letter to London

As I write this I am sat on a train on the way to Exeter. My home for the next 3 years (with a year in Spain sandwiched in.)

It felt weird booking these train tickets. Having my parents and sister buy return tickets and myself only a one way. We haven't even arrived and they haven't even left yet but I'm already feeling like I've been thrown into the deep end. I'm more than capable of spending time alone and away from family- this summer alone I spent a total of 41 days without my family whilst I was away in different places. But actually living and studying alone in a new city feels strange. But this post isn't about how much I'm going to miss my family or even my friends. It's about how much I'm going to miss London. The city I was born in and grew up in and the city that has essentially made me into who I am today.

I'm so used to slating it; calling it a soul sucking and depressing place but as my days in the capital dwindle away I'm starting to realise how much I'm going to miss this place. I'm so blessed to call this place my home, to live in an area where Tower Bridge is a 10 minute walk away, 6 if I speedwalk, an area where I can walk to Covent Garden and Oxford street if I really wanted to and get there in under half an hour, the double deckered busses that have served me for the past 18 years and that I've never had to pay to get on, even that god awful Central line service. The Jubilee and Northern lines which whenever I get on, mean that I'm on my way home. The convenience of everything. On the day of the Westminster Bridge attacks, when all public transport was held and roads were blocked I simply walked home. It's been the only way of life I've ever really known- having everything at my disposable and as I count the days till I'm gone I truly understand a) why my parents decided to migrate here and b) the quote "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

A few days ago I met up with my secondary school friends for the last time before we all parted ways to embark on new adventures from gap years to Biology at Oxford. We walked around Soho under the candy floss coloured skies as the sun was setting and I couldn't help but say "wow, London is actually beautiful." Covent Garden by night, a place that is usually full to the brim of tourists and locals alike was deserted, with a slight hum of people chattering from rooftop bars and alfresco restaurants. We walked around the cobbled streets and appreciated our last time together until Christmas. And that night, walking back to Elephant and Castle where we would all see where the next leg of the night would take us, with a bottle of Bacardi and a litre of coke in hand felt somewhat monumental.

Those who know me will know that I will defend South London till the day I die but walking over Waterloo bridge at night, a journey that would take us from the North side of the river back to our local South felt so bittersweet- as if we were leaving behind our new memories from that evening in central London and returning back to the reality of home. Home where suitcases are strewn across the floor in a failed attempt to pack for the 'big move' They say that walking over Waterloo bridge at night is an almost euphoric experience. Seeing the cities landmarks lit up and the reflection of those lights onto the Thames. I don't know. It does something to you.

So as I get ready to settle into a new city and start a new chapter of my life, I will mourn my departure from my beloved London. The place that I and my dearest friends call home.

-Dalal

15 comments:

  1. Dalal, this actually gave me shivers - so beautiful. Although I don't live in London, but visit quite often, I can understand that feeling that it gives you. I don't know what it is about that city but it makes me feel things I can't feel when I'm at home. I really hope you enjoy your time at Exeter, a bit of a change from the hustle and bustle of London!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it, I've said it before but it means a lot to me! It's a complete change to London as you can imagine but I'm going to take it as a new experience :)

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  2. Wow this was written so beautifully and really reflected the heart n vibe of London. I've never visited but a girl can dream! I hope you have lots of fun in Exter and make it a home as well!
    http://sputniksweetheartn.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Thank you so much. London is an amazing city, you must visit it!

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  3. Ok so this made me cry. You’re going to appreciate London even more when you’re back 3 times a year but do take in and allow yourself to fully enjoy your new surroundings. Do keep us updated on life in Exeter, that journey Issa trek so I don’t know if I’ll be visiting anytime soon �� BUT I’ll live vicariously through your stories

    Fran | www.franciscarockey4@gmail.com

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    1. I shed a few tears whilst writing this- not ideal when you're on a train! I started appreciating it properly in my last week or two because I knew I'd look back and think "Why didn't you do more!?" It's only 2hr30mins by train ;)

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  4. This is so beautiful and bittersweet. As a fellow South Londoner too (brap) I can so relate to this - ESPECIALLY the euphoric feeling of walking down Waterloo Bridge at night with friends and then running for the 171 or N136 lmao :') <3 GOOD LUCK IN THIS NEXT CHAPTER!!! I've been to Exeter for my bro - it is sooo gorg.

    Zoe xo
    delicate--musings.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. THANK YOU! It's incredibly bittersweet and whenever I read my post it gives me that sinking heart feeling...ah well. It's one of the BEST feelings! Haha that's me but for the 1 or 188 omg.

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  5. this is so beautifully written oh wow!! this feeling of leaving home is going to be me next year! GOOD LUCK IN EXETER!! You'll smash it xx

    www.ellacharlottejones.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much Ella. I'm wishing you the best of luck for your whole university application experience!

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  6. Dalal you’re honestly the most beautiful writer and this post is no exception. Your ode to London is one that the city would most certainly be proud of. Good luck in Exeter, I’ll be wishing you the best every step of the way! You’re going to amazing <3 xxx

    eleanorclaudie.com

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    1. Thank you Eleanor, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading. Sounds weird but I felt like I could not leave London without writing something honouring it. Lots of love!!

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  7. i love love LOVE! ur way with words. this made me miss london, but i have never even gone lmao! u just do a great way of selling it. i also feel this though, i moved from la to nyc for school n even though i hate la. i still do love n miss it. ur strong though n u'll do fine at school n london will b there waiting for ur return <3

    a fucking look

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    1. Thank you thank you thank you! I've gotten that comment a lot which is very satisfying. You have to visit London soon. I guess when I do return I'll begin to see all the rubbish bits but right now it's rose tinted. Hope NYC is treating you well.

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  8. Ah Dalal, this is so beautiful. I hope Exeter fills you with a similar sense of home and love, although I know the feelings will be slightly different I hope they are just as good. Although I don't live as central as you (if I even count as central lol) I'm having my farewell to London tonight and am definitely going to get my friends to cross Waterloo Bridge with me. x
    constnatlylibby.blogspot.co.uk

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stop procrastinating and just comment already
jk
funny comments get extra points