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Falling In Love With a Place Like London

It’s true that a place can shrink your growth. This is how I felt before moving to London last year, to start my degree in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. This is also how I feel whenever I visit home now and then. During the social boom that was the covid pandemic, I decided to study in London and move into student halls situated in the heart of London Bridge. Needless to say, it was more than I could have ever hoped for.

Ever since I was a young girl, I have always been inspired by the many opportunities London can bring, the dreaminess, the place where anything and everything can happen. Living only an hour away, I still only felt truly independent and wide-eyed when I was in London. Though, as soon as I moved, I felt as if I had separated myself from the eager tourist I used to be; the tourists I found when I’d walk on the Millennium Bridge every day. I had by then become a notorious Londoner.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.

Samuel Johnson

One year was filled with so many experiences that were only made possible by the people I was surrounded with. One of these experiences was the absurdity of staying up all night with my friends and spontaneously deciding to watch the sunrise at Primrose Hill–despite having a 9am online seminar on the same day. But that was the beauty of ‘the online covid year’. During autumn, we saw the leaves fall and congregate in Hyde Park, and we would visit the Tate galleries on rainy days. In winter, Covent Garden and Oxford Street were filled with those warm Christmas lights and the best golden sunsets were seen on each bridge. Then spring arrives, and we call our friends for rooftop bar drinks, St. James’s Park picnics and Hawaiian-themed flat parties. My absolute favourite is also going to Notting Hill for breakfast and seeing Wisteria grow on rich houses. Finally, as summer comes along, it is too crowded on the tube, but you can take long, night walks at Tower Bridge, watch the sunrise again and read your book in Kensington or Westminster under a tree.

However, becoming a Londoner is hard. Within any aspect of it there can be loneliness, you have to learn to provide for yourself, balance your schedule, learn to budget and not splurge even though it is London. But not the same as a day out in London, from a different place. Furthermore, being a woman on a night out in London is hard, you have no choice but to spend £20 on an Uber on the way home if the tubes have stopped. There is a certain societal expectation that to be a Londoner is to be selfish to some extent. Yet, a year after experiencing all this, I have learned that London is full of beauty–I am happy and content here.

Aurora is a second year undergraduate English student at King's College London. She has a passion for writing poetry, as well as watching the sunset on the beach, learning about personal wellness and a love for specific fashion aesthetics. She cannot go a day without music or coffee.
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