The Meeting Place, London (Credit: Flickr SteveR)
Two months on from my rather disgruntled post, Five reasons London hates me, I’ve come to a realisation: London was playing hard to get. Just like the infuriating behaviour of primary school boys, London was twanging my bra straps and pulling my hair not to upset me, but to gain my attention (just to clarify, primary school boys no longer do this to me, thankfully. That would be weird).
All of the initial rudeness was just a flirting ritual, a testing of the waters; a test of my resilience. Could I put up with London’s lack of emotional warmth? Would I turn out to be needy or disloyal? Could I cope with the stress of our relationship?
I persevered and in turn aroused London’s curiosity. Suddenly the tables turned and I was the one being pursued. So, we have engaged in a mild flirtation of late. I’m rather enjoying it, but I’ll keep acting aloof until I’m sure London’s the one. Here, I give you five ways London has started to woo me.
A budding romance
Spring has sprung and the birds are singing. Summer’s on its way, which can only mean one thing: love is in the air. My walk to work has transformed from cold, grey and dull to colourful and fresh; blossom falls to the pavement like sweet-scented snow and the breeze is crisp and invigorating. I even exchange a friendly ‘good morning!’ with the local bin man. Everything looks better when the sun is shining.
The first sign of spring in London © Emma Sparks
Our first date
London and I had our first official date last month. We went to see Billy Elliot for my birthday. As the curtains rose to reveal the stage adaptation of my favourite childhood film, a wave of realisation hit me: this is what London’s all about. This is why I’ve always wanted to live here; the sheer density of creativity and performance art crammed into this one city is astounding. There’s a magic about the West End you can’t find anywhere else in the UK; London has reminded me that I need to make the most of it.
A walk around central London can be stressful. People like to stop dead in the middle of the pavement, only to spin around and march straight into their unsuspecting cohorts, sighing dramatically at the sight of you, who is selfish enough to be in their way; you often risk your life crossing the road; and the noise and oppressive sense of urgency can be overwhelming.
One Friday I took a stroll around central London after dark, to find a different kind of energy. The streets were still busy, but there was a buzz of excitement, of eager anticipation in the air. London had shrugged off its cloak of nine to five stress and was preparing for the weekend. The streets were aglow with that Friday feeling; so was I. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered as I took in the view from Waterloo Bridge.
London at night © Emma Sparks
Give me some space
After a few weeks, I needed some space; we were moving too fast and I felt suffocated by the intensity of our surroundings. London, being the thoughtful suitor he is, granted my wish in the form of Crystal Palace Park and Primrose Hill. There may not be as much green space here as there is at home (Oh, what’s occurin’? Yes I am from South Wales), but in London, seek and you shall find. Crystal Palace Park is huge and you get an impressive collection of ‘lifesize’ dinosaur models thrown in. Watching the sunset over the iconic London horizon from Primrose Hill was a milestone moment in our relationship; seeing the skyline from up high gave me a different perspective, in both senses of the word. One deep breath, and I was calm. No matter how crazy London life can be, there is always somewhere to escape.
Primrose Hill (Credit: flavouz)
Hope for the future
So there is a glimmer of hope. London is certainly on his best behaviour. There is also no question that being in London has opened up the door to many opportunities; in fact, the capital is very supportive of my aspirations to work in the travel industry. I attended my first #TravelMassive in April, where I met some lovely bloggers and travel types. I plan to attend again in May; an evening spent with like-minded people could be an ideal second date for me and my city…