You Have Stolen My Heart

As I stood by myself on Oxford Street the other day, christmas decorations twinkling above me, tourists and Londoners rushing in and out of shops, the snow softly falling around me, I almost started to tear up a little at the sudden approaching reality of leaving. It’s not that I’m not excited to go home…I’m so excited to be with my family again, it’s just so hard to leave a place that’s been your home for the past 3 months and not know when you’ll see it again. Part of the reason I feel like London is my home is because it is the home that I picked for myself, not one my parents picked. I realized that I am literally “in love” with London. I started to laugh when I realized how my love for London actually parallels a relationship. Let me explain the similarities.

When you meet someone new for the first time, it’s exciting. There’s so much you don’t know about them, so many things you haven’t done, and you can’t wait to see what they offer. This is how I felt about London upon arrival. Things are a bit awkward at first. You haven’t quite figured out all you need to know about them but you slowly ease into things as you get to know them better.

Then you hit the honeymoon phase. You’re having so much fun together. You don’t see any flaws because everything is perfect. After a few weeks though, this begins to fade. You start to see the other one’s quirks (the hell the Tubes are at rush hour, the slow walking obnoxious tourists, the bad British plumbing) but you accept them because you love them too much to let something little like that matter.

As time goes on, your relationship becomes stronger. You grow more and more attached as you get to know the other on a deeper level (the non touristy parts, the small side streets, the fastest way to get from point A to point B, the little known art galleries, the markets). When you go away for a week or a weekend you miss them and think about them the whole time, even when you’re in a place as awesome as Italy. You can’t wait to get back to see them and can’t help but smile every time you hear the words “Welcome Home” as the plane touches down in Heathrow/Stansted/Gatwick. You realize you are totally and utterly in love and don’t ever want to be apart. Your life just doesn’t seem right without them.

Just like in any relationship, you have a song that reminds you of them and makes your heart smile every time you hear it. For me, this song is “Firework” by Katy Perry (I know, cliche – not my normal type of music). But it is the song that was playing on my iPod when I got my first view of London from the plane. If you know the song, it has violins building up to the chorus which comes in quite strongly. While we were beginning our descent, the song was building up and as soon we burst through the clouds the song hit the chorus and I looked down to see all of London, the sun rising over the Thames, Big Ben and the London Eye. It was very climactic. So now every time I hear that song, I will always think of London and will never forget that first view. It sounds sappy but if you’ve ever had feelings for anyone, I know you know exactly how I feel.

The whole time you’ve been together, you’ve been dreading the inevitable end. You try not to think about it for the three months you have together, but it’s always in the back of your mind. Your stomach starts to knot when you think about it, and your heart hurts. How do you just leave someone you’ve been so happy with for the past 3 months? It just doesn’t seem right. You know that what you move on to next will never be good enough. You’ll try to replace London by going to lots of other cities but you know they’ll just remind you of it and make you even more sad. You know you won’t be totally satisfied until your together again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to go home. I’ve missed my family so much and can’t wait to spend a wonderful Christmas together. Home isn’t bad, it’s just not London. It’s hard to go from having the world at your fingertips to a small town in NC. I wish I could live in London WITH my family. Then my life would be complete. And just perfect.

“By seeing London I have seen as much of life as the world can show.” – Samuel Johnson

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