Coming back to London is always a surreal experience.
Feeling the plane pull into Heathrow, disembarking into the airport, hearing that clipped accent all around me again – it always takes a moment for it to sink in that I am back in England, that I have finally made it here. And then it settles over me: home.
Each time I go to London, I try to explain why I love it so much and why I am so happy here. Though I’m only here for a single day before I whisk off to France, this time I’ve settled on the quiet. There’s something beautifully reserved about England and about the way people interact with each other; it is not distance, as I think it is the most connected people I have ever come across, and it is not shyness. It is a silent acknowledgment, a politeness, an understanding of privacy and contentment. There is something beautiful in the fact that London breathes in unison but does not feel the need to speak.
London is the place where I don’t have to push myself to be someone that I am not. London is the place where I can be me in all my complexities and idiosyncrasies and be accepted and welcomed for them. London is the place where I get to relax, be myself, not have to worry that I’m not following the norm or obeying the rules. London is the place I feel real.
My first night back in London, my best friend and I went to Brick Lane. If you tell me you are going to London, this is going to be my recommendation – it can be found in some guidebooks but not all, so it’s a good amount of tourist charm and genuine quality. It has the best Indian food I have ever eaten, the best bagel baker I’ve found, and the nicest markets I’ve shopped in.
Brick Lane is also in the midst of East London, which is my secret hipster weakness. No regrets.
Honestly… I hate to leave.