I hated your crowds. I hated your undergrounds. And I absolutely hated your prices.
It is a hate that has grown out of many, many days spent with you.
It is a hate that reminds me of how much I love you and just how quickly I fell for you.
It is a hate in a twisted, intangible mess of emotions that I have about you.
It’s complicated, as it will always be with you.
I loved you London.
You were my emancipation, my freedom, my youth. I gave you some of the best years of my life. You gave me a lifetime’s worth of memories, friendships and romance.
What more is there to say then what I have already said. Countless words, filled with everything from adoration to anger. I shouted at you. You ignored me. I prayed at your alter. You took my money. I hugged your streets and buildings. You stood tall and taller still. I left you. You pulled me back. Our relationship was always going to be fire and ice. You promised me an unparalleled experience, and you kept it.
I still remember the first time I met you. Late August. You greeted me with that beautiful, late summer sun. How mischievously deceiving you were. I didn’t even bother fully unpacking–very unlike me–I just wanted to go out and explore you. I walked and walked and walked, through your centers and high streets, under the shadow of St. Paul’s, through the school I was going to spend the next two and a half years with, beyond the bustling noises of Piccadilly and Oxford Street, past the flocks of swans at Hyde Park and to the top of Primrose Hill where I witnessed your majestic silhouette. I sat beneath your Waterloo Bridge, admiring the evening glow of your lights and the face of the boy who would define my life more than you have.
Despite blistering wounds on my feet, that first day was pure magic.
So can anyone blame me for struggling against the tide of bureaucracy and borders? I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave you.
I am not done with your fireworks, our fights and our highs. I have not even seen half of you yet. There is still so much more to hate and to love. There will always be so much more of you that I have yet to get tired of.
But London, I have to go. The government you hold at the palm of your hand doesn’t want me here. It’s a system I have little power to change. I’m tired of being an immigrant in a country where half of the population do not understand the trials and pains of those who fought to be one.
I don’t hold you at fault though, London. You wanted me and I love you too much. I love your people, your neighbourhoods, your restaurants, your everything.
I hope you will stand strong and proud against the tide of xenophobia and racism. Don’t let it bring you down, London.
This one will be rooting for you from across the pond.