Courting London, The Arrival of Spring & New Beginnings
I’m sitting outside a café on the trendy Westbourne Grove strip, stirring my coffee and soaking up this beautiful Spring day which is sun-drenched (for now). I’m on a date with someone I’ve been seeing for the past seven months and just between you and I, it’s been more of a conquest than an effortless love affair because for the majority of the time he’s been a real prick.
We’ll come back to this moment of realisation later but first, let’s rewind a little…
NEW CITY, NEW RELATIONSHIP
Moving to a new city is a major commitment, one that takes a certain amount of emotional investment, patience and a lot of faith, kind of like a new romantic relationship.
Until now I guess you can say that I’ve been lucky in love – Brisbane city was my good time guy, it was all slut drops and tequila shots. Sydney city, love at first sight.
London, on the other hand, can best be described as that dapper gent who won’t text you back. London is not a city that makes you feel particularly special and very quickly you realise that you are just one of eight million people trying to make this relationship work.
If you’ve ever dated London you’ll know that he becomes a particularly unfriendly chap during the winter months and I can see why a lot of people who move abroad give up.
Like a cruel headmaster, London dishes out freezing temperatures, gloomy grey skies and strips away every slither of sunlight.
For those who think it is possible to remain positive from November through to February picture this:
A clear, crisp morning in Notting Hill and me running down my stoop, grinning from ear to ear, giving a Snow White-esque wave to the squirrels, the stray cat and a homeless man and then next thing I know I’ve slipped on the sidewalk my legs are in the air and I’ve got a halo of twinkling stars around my head.
That’s the kind of relationship this city and I have, I give everything to London and London gives me…frost.
My experience of London changed somewhere in January when I stopped resisting the bad and started to look at winter like an initiation process.
From that day forward I put my head down and got on with it, still giving my all to London but expecting nothing in return.
Then something amazing happened, my stride transformed into that of a Londoner and before I knew it there were flowers appearing on my doorstep.
SPRING (A NEW LOVE)
This brings us back to the present moment, Spring has a funny way of doing that – reminding people to stop and marvel at the now.
On a day like today, all of the tourists are contained to Portobello Road, they emerge from Notting Hill Gate station and follow the famous street right the way down, mesmerised by the market stalls and pastel coloured houses. Amazingly they rarely discover the real hidden gem, Westbourne Grove which is located merely a few metres away.
On Westbourne Grove you’ll find a lot of members of high society going about their daily lives, dashing in and out of their expensive cars, shopping at Daylesford or just enjoying a cup of coffee on the strip.
I am far from a member of high society but after several glorious minutes of sunshine tickling my chest and face I feel like a million bucks.
As I reach for my purse to pay the bill (London is always an expensive date) I notice a young girl who’s strayed away from the tourist track. She’s in her early twenties and strikes me as someone who’s just moved into the area, maybe from America. The way that she’s clutching her phone I can tell that she’s using maps to find something, probably her way home after wandering too far.
In the early stages of my move to London, I felt lost during every single moment of the day. It was a hard feeling to come to terms with especially after knowing Sydney like the back of my hand.
However, in hindsight isn’t that the best kind of love? One that dares you to feel vulnerable and be brave even when you don’t know what is going to happen next.
I’m lucky enough to catch the exact moment that the girl looks up from her phone and discovers where she is. She is standing in the middle of a flower stall, on the left side of the road are a row of vibrant purple blossoms and on the right, grand terrace houses with cafes underneath. Directly infront of her is a neon sign that says ‘Wild at Heart’ and I can tell in that moment she is pleased with herself that she dared to walk a little further.
As for my current relationship – Well, he’s moody, high maintenance and impossible to please, however, London has taught me more in the past seven months than any other city I’ve ever lived in.
Whether or not he’s the guy for me? Only time will tell.