I keep repeating the blasphemous statement, admitting I don’t really like London.
I don’t hate it though.
I like London. It’s an okay city but I only ever come here because it’s a hub city to the rest of Europe.
But I did something different this time.
I decided to stay with two friends from home, Liz and Adrian. I know Liz from my ad agency days in Toronto. I arrived to the agency unjaded but green and Liz was a copywriter on my account and took me in, teaching me more than she’ll ever realize, helping me develop into the fierce nickname she coined.
To this day it’s still my favourite, even when shortened to Revenge. Liz and Adrian traveled through Latin America and much of the rest of the world a year before me, I read their blog faithfully taking notes. Afterwards they moved to London and settled.
I came here for a travel conference and wanted to spend time with them. Initially it was just supposed to be for a few days before the conference. In a short time they started to change my mind about London. Staying in Brixton took away the snobby undercurrents of the city and even though we went for a tour of Greenwich starting with a Thames river ride, it somehow all felt like London was growing on me.
During the day Adrian would show me different parts of the city, explain Brixton’s history, and allow me to take photos of him in weird places like next to this Lego snowman. When I was tired of walking he was happy to oblige with just sitting in a pub although still worried he wasn’t a good host. I assured him I did not need to see some Russian architecture exhibit. The cider was enough culture for me.
At night we would meet up with Liz who would teach me what I needed to know about the transit system, BBC television and weird British humor.
The day before the conference I was supposed to move into a vacation rental apartment that a company offered to sponsor but things fell apart, there was miscommunication and they had no details for the apartment. I was stressed that I’d be scrambling because the conference was 9am to midnight with all the activities.
Without hesitation Liz offered to keep me even though they must have been tired of entertaining me and I would be coming in late each night. She also gave me detailed information each night on how to get everywhere by bus so I wouldn’t get lost.
I realized that even though I had been whinging before about friends I had lost, I had great ones here. Sometimes you are so busy complaining about what you don’t have, you forget about the things you do.
I still don’t love London but I definitely have a reason to go back.