David and I first got the idea to move to London in late 2009.
I remember that I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of our living room in Stockholm, packing for an autumn trip to see David's family in Milan. My internship at Cosmopolitan had just ended and there was really nothing to keep me in Stockholm any longer (except for friends and family, who were used to me running off somewhere new every once in a while, sending happy postcards and coming to visit twice a year with little presents and big stories) and David wasn't keen on the idea of moving back to his hometown either. He had told me about an old dream of his: living in London. As a musician, he was longing to spread his wings in the city that gave us Queen and the Beatles, the city that still had that rare quality that is so elusive in music nowadays: soul.
"So why don't we do it?" I said. And there, on a living room floor, in October 2009, a dream was born.
Of course, things didn't go according to plan. They never do.
Something happened. Life happened.
Jobs, family emergencies, circumstances kept us in Sweden well into 2010. Then a huge, devastating, tsunami-like wave hit us and brought us back to Milan: David's mum got sick and we hurried, with heavy suitcases and heavier hearts, back to the dusty heat of the Italian city summer. Things turned out okay in the end. Everything slowly went back to normal. Or maybe we created a new normal.
Fast forward two years. David's mother's illness is healing slowly but somewhat miraculously, we're living in what must officially be the World's Tiniest Flat in the most beautiful area of Milan and I'm working at an okay job. In April 2012 we decide to take a mini-break and go to London. We walk around in the rain, eat Indian food, see a musical, both have job interviews. And fall in love all over again. This time, our minds are made up and nothing will stand in our way. I find myself wanting this so bad that my stomach flips. I haven't been this head-over-heels for a dream in almost a decade.
On September 4, 2012, our plane lifts. And nothing is ever the same.
This Thursday afternoon, I worked from Caffé Nero on Trafalgar Square, getting started on a new article. I finally left the café at about five p.m, with dusk settling over the majestic city, Christmas lights twinkling, tourists hurrying to the shops and teenage girls giggling at the bus stop. Whizzing by Westminster on the 159, I felt my stomach flip again. Tears almost came to my eyes with the glorious, dizzying realisation that this is it. I live here now.
I love this city so much that it sometimes makes my head spin just to think about it. You know those butterflies that you get in your stomach in those first intoxicating moments of a love affair? I feel them every time I walk down Brick Lane or take a stroll around Camden market, every time I see the London Eye from the bus window, every time I take that first sip of red wine in a pub in Angel, every time I wake up to a sunny Saturday morning. I have such a ridiculous crush on this city. I want to celebrate its beauty every day. Shout it from the rooftops. I want to live and love every unique, wonderful moment it brings me. And for the first time in ten years, I don't dream of moving anywhere else. Ever. If home is where the heart is, London, you have my heart and it's yours forever.
You know that little dream that's been growing like a seed tucked away somewhere in the back of your mind? Go with it. Follow it. Run freely and fearlessly with it. If you don't, you may end up living with the heaviest, most uncomfortable baggage of all: regret. But if you do, one day you might just wake up and be...home.
Picture from my Instagram