I admit, I’m a little practical and a little cynical to believe in much beyond what I can see. But the last few years has taught me something along the lines of ‘if you will it, it will come.’
You see, I’ve been in love with London before I even met it. Now I get to call it home.
My grandmother has had an affection for the Royal family for as long as I can remember. I remember having a passing interest in it through the tabloid magazines she’d sometimes collect. I remember watching Princess Diana interviewed by Martin Bashir, and I certainly remember where I was when she died and in the days following, watching London and the rest of the world mourning her. My mother and I got up at 3 or 4 a.m. to watch her funeral. Watching that coverage, I remember some of the images of London being so pretty.
Fast forward to university, I studied English Literature for my first degree. My favourite professor, Dr. Perkin, who is British, taught me in a couple of courses on Victorian and Romantic literature. Learning about the different English writers and poets, and his unending enthusiasm for the topics, kept me captivated during his classes. I looked forward to them. Dr. Perkin also taught me about Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, where so many of England’s brightest and most talented people from yesteryear are buried or honoured. I’d wanted to visit London ever since then.
I watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton marry in 2011 while I was working as a digital journalist for CBC News. On a beautiful spring day in April, I was sitting in on a webinar while watching the television on the desk was broadcasting the new Royal couple’s wedding procession through the streets of London with thousands of adoring fans cheering them on. I wanted so badly to be there (and definitely not on a webinar), be in the crowd, enjoying that momentous day in such a fairy tale place.
Less than a year later, my parents made my dream come true by taking me there for my 30th birthday, which, funny enough, was also Kate Middleton’s 30th birthday. (See? It was meant to be!)
One morning, sitting in a bakery with my parents in Bloomsbury, I recall saying to them, ‘I’d love to live here for a couple of months.’ And I left London with a city obsession. I had London books and prints for my wall long before I moved here.
So, how did I get here?
Well, on a trip to Turkey in 2013 with my sister, I met my now-husband, who is Australian. He and his sister were on the same Contiki tour as my sister and me. We pretty well ditched our sisters halfway through the trip, which included a cruise through the Greek Islands. I returned to Canada to finish a work contract and he continued to travel. He and I kept in touch on Facetime almost every day, and I took a chance and booked a one-way ticket to Germany to meet him one month to the day I left him in Athens. I ended up travelling with him for five weeks, through Germany, ducking into Prague, and seeing a few stops in the Netherlands. It was the most romantic five weeks of my life. He told me he loved me the day I was leaving him in Amsterdam, the same day he moved to London to begin his five-year ancestry visa. He came to Canada five weeks later for six weeks (he was working temp jobs) and then for the next year, I spent two months in London every two months between work contracts. We’ve now been in 14 countries together in less than two years. He proposed to me in Australia, and we married this past January in London. So, now I have a visa to live in the UK for the rest of my husband’s visa, (and hopefully with the ability to extend it after that time is up) and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I fall more in love with this city with every step I take in it. I love the history, I love the beautiful architecture, I love the parks, I love the accents, I love seeing children in their school uniforms, I love seeing black cabs, I love the early spring – I feel so lucky to get to live here. It’s not without its challenges, and I miss my family and friends, but there’s no where I’d rather be than in London.