Oh London - we love you. Yes you're wildly too expensive, and yes the fact that I pay 3.30 for a latte kinda makes me wanna kill myself at times, and yes everytime I have to wait more than 2 mins for a Northern Line tube and THEN it terminates at Kennington a part of my soul chips away and never comes back. But beyond all this - I love you. I grew up in you, and you make my life a little better each day I'm with ya. Being away from London for so long, I feel like coming back to it I've developed this second love for the place. So here's a little nattering on things that all Londoner's probs miss about the place when they're away.
1.Having a deli, 3 Starbucks, and about 17 decent lunch places all within a 7 minute walk of my house. Because really no one in London has to go far for decent food ever, yes we pay through our teeth and silently scoff at the prices ($7 for a sandwich Hammersmith, REALLY?) But we have options GALORE and we bloody love it.
2. Nightbuses - Yes someone is probably being sick into their Chicken Cottage bag and yes people are getting off and flirting in front of you not realising how drunk they are, but really night bus journeys are a right of passage and a bloody way of life.
3. The fancy shit you never did - you suddenly wish you did all of your shopping at Wholefoods and shopped at Harrods and Selfridges everyday just because you feel like it's what the rest of the world thinks your London life must be like.
4. Pub Gardens - yes New York has the hyline, and yes Sydney has some bloody amazing beachside and rooftop bars - but does anything beat a London pub beer garden in the sun? NOPE.
5. The Tube - After 21 years of complaining about how shit the tube is, I was left started and feeling like my whole world view kinda crashed when it turns out it's literally the best thing since sliced bread in comparison to public transport around the world, I mean a tube EVERY 2 MINUTES? Man - London is great.
6. Greggs - Okay okay so this more of a general England thing that a London specific thing - but like GREGGS WHY ARE YOU SO DAMN GOOD? The amount of hungover days I wanted to cry because if I wanted a pasty I would have to actually go to the supermarket and make one from scratch because they are just not a thing in Australia. I'm still sobbing about it tbh.
7. The sheer amount of Starbucks, Carluccios and Starbucks - THERE ARE SO DAMN MANY ON EVERY STREET. It's actually great, well actually it's kind of confusing because when you say to your mate - hey let's meet at Pizza Express at Kings Cross, there are potentially around 72 restaurants you could be talking about.
8. The Londoner Pace - Am I running? Am I power walking? Am I gliding through the air over you in a bid to ram myself onto that last Northern line tube? You'll never know. Man everyone else in the world walks so goddamn slow.
9. Midweek Drinks - Yes the Americans love a beer, yes the Australians love a piss up. But no one drinks quite like Londoners. If you can get through Monday - Friday without having so many post work beers that you suddenly want to skip dinner and get a big Mac, you're probably not in London anymore.
10. Speaking of drink - you suddenly miss there being a pub at every turn, with over 7000 of them, London has more pubs than any other city in the world and you could try get through them all, but your liver would probably curl up and die so maybe let's not eh?
11. Being able to have every cuisine in the world for dinner. Sushi? Indian? Pizza? Indonesian? Thai? Fish and Chips? Choosing is for losers. I missed having all my mates around, ordering everything under the sun and setting up a sort of island conveyor belt with different countries. (Can we all officially tell that Gilmore Girls has affected my life a bit too much now? - Soz)
12. Oxford Street - well the idea of it. Every shop you could basically ever want to go to and more? Sounds amazing! The reality is you will get rammed with pushchairs, get pushed onto the road and avoid rickshaw drivers JUST. You will also probably lose the will to live.
13. Stylist, Metro, Evening Standard, Time Out - Okay well maybe not the Evening Standard so much because if a political paper is going to be edited by a sitting politician - it's probs a whole lotta bias. But seriously, getting really decent FREE magazines and papers as you get onto the tube is bloody awesome, and always cheers up my commute a little!
14. Bridges - just because if you've seen any episode of Made in Chelsea you know SHIT is about to go down if they have a serious chat on a bridge. But honestly, there are so many incredible ones around London, and maybe it's because I needlessly like to overanalyse things but when life gets you down - a peaceful little walk across Westminster bridge always puts me in the BEST mood.
15. Museums and Galleries - London has some of seriously the best things in the whole world you can get done for free. The V&A, Natural History Museum, The Tate. Have a day off? Go get some culture in you. Actually soz you don't live in London? No more of that for you.
16. People who stand still in the middle of the street and take pictures of dumb shit like Pigeons. As if they're going to go home and be like 'Hi Doris - look at this great London Pigeon I found.' Actually no I don't miss those people at all, I kind of think there is a special place in hell reserved for them.
17. The fact that there is literally a Chicken shop everywhere and for £3 you can taste true drunken happiness. So yes Australia may have the Halal Snack Pack and yes America may have their 3am Breakfast Bagels (oh Nantucket I miss you.) But really all Londoners know that nothing beats the hazy walk home after 6 ciders quite like a box of 3 piece chicken and chips.
18. Wifi being everywhere - Whoever decided to turn all the old phone boxes around London into wifi hot spots was a genius and I kinda thing we should build a shrine to them, is anyone game? But seriously it's such a good move! And it does mean that us Londoners get to spend less dolla on data and avoid those crazy priced panic top ups of OH SHIT there's still a week before I top up and I have 300mb of data left, help me plz.
19. Foxes. Because through every morning when you're running late to work and you then realise oh man, a fox has broken into my rubbish and now the neighbours know just how many Dominos I routinely go through in a week moods. They're actually kinda cute, and it's actually hilarious when you tell people abroad what pests they are because they literally aren't quite sure how to process this info.
20. Being able to be a fancy dickhead and not have anyone judge you. Because yes in London it's totally acceptable to drink Prosecco and eat Sushi on the common. And no you do not look like a fancy pants homeless person.
Photography by Sarah Anne Choa