You know that thing where you go on vacation or a trip somewhere and no matter how amazing it is or how many cock(s)(tails) you down or how many awesome ass people you meet in the jacuzzi, somehow you just can’t wait to get back home? Well, I’ve been living in London now for more than two months and this place is already starting to feel less like a tourist destination from which postcards are sent and more like a place I live in for real.
It’s a weird feeling, mostly because my only previous experiences in the UK have been fleeting. Passing through airports. Popping in for a day or two on my way somewhere else. There’s a way in which your whole sense of geography changes when you leave North America and have places like Lisbon, where I’m going in two weeks in hopes of being seduced by Ronaldo, or Berlin, where I’ll be at the end of July, just a hop, skip and a jump away.
When I first got to London at the end of April everything was so new and different. You know, culture shock. I didn’t understand the streets. Why are all the cars on the wrong side of the road? OMG where the actual fuck am I right now? Switching my phone to airplane mode at two a.m. on a Friday when my phone hits five percent battery because oh god if my phone dies before I can get a night bus back to East London from some club south of the river I will be trapped.
Everything was a potential Instagram moment, too—the street signs, the views, my neighborhood, the red buses, the sunsets. But I’ve noticed that now I’m feeling less like an American tourist in London and more like an American person who lives here and who will definitely be eating BBQ on the Fourth of July and possibly also wearing an American flag, we’ll see.
The feelings of this place being home are manifold. First, I really love my neighborhood and keep discovering new things to do. I know how to get home now from practically anywhere without using my phone. My housemates and I get along really well are now comfortable seeing each other in various states of undress. But London felt even more like home, like the place I was always meant to be, after a short trip I made to Paris last weekend.
It’s like I’m in Paris and I’m speaking French and everything is amazing and I look great but it’s raining all the time and there was a definite moment where I couldn’t wait to get back to London. Not because I don’t love Paris or because I was bored, but because traveling is great but home is better. When you visit some place else you can’t help but compare your home to the new place. My first few weeks in London I was busy comparing everything to New York because that was my reference point. In Paris I found myself comparing everything to London, because duh.
In New York people say that when they leave the city to go back to where they’re really from, or to visit friends in North Dakota, or their family in Minnesota, they have fun and all that but god they can’t wait to get back to New York.
As soon as the Eurostar pulled into St. Pancras from Paris I easily glided down into the Underground, expertly knowing to take the Victoria line north one stop to Highbury & Islington, pre-walking to the exact car I need to get in to be deposited at the correct exit, popping out and then changing to the Overground toward Stratford where I will jump out at Dalston Kingsland, walk through Ridley Road Market and make my way home.
—Follow Madison Moore on Twitter: @popgazm