My last day as a Londoner came and went in the most peculiar of ways: drenched in sunlight.
I had experienced some of the worst weather of my lifetime during the course of my two months in London, which seemed to be crammed into a period of two weeks that tormented me daily. And I’m not talking about the rain, either. I’m from Vancouver, and I’ll stand up and put it on the record: Vancouver rain is much worse than London rain. London rain is real rain at least, that pours and then lets up after a while. Nothing like Vancouver’s constant haze and ceaseless drizzle.
But the weather had started to turn, and in the early March days I felt a little less of a nip at my skin as I stepped outdoors, I felt a little more encouraged to open up my bedroom window and allow a slight breeze to entertain the room. The weather started to get so nice it caused an even more peculiar emotion to stir in me: envy.
I grew envious of London and its warm weather because, well, I was about to leave. After sticking it out through the devilish wind storms that literally blew my umbrella inside out and nearly pulled me with it – suddenly making me empathize with Mary Poppins while fully understanding the origin of the folk tale – I had difficulty finding it within myself to be happy about my sudden good fortune.
I began counting down the days until I would leave London, and then when it showed up I found myself wishing I could have just a little more time. I woke up startlingly hungover and nearly found myself wasting my final day away a bedridden fool, but with a little encouragement from a friend – and from the gleaming sunshine coming into my bedroom window – I got up, and decided I’d spend my last day as a Londoner once again as a tourist.
Strapped with my finest of lenses, my dwindling Oyster Card, and my (least) comfiest of shoes, I hit the streets of London, not feeling any shame or embarrassment at my frequent photo-taking pauses. I started to see so much beauty in London; with the warm sunshine as the backdrop to London’s vast landscape and tall buildings, something magical occurred. For a city I’d grown to have a particular disdain for (for many reasons) I found myself saying goodbye to it with a newfound respect and love.
Drenched in sunlight, London was suddenly beautiful, kind, and warm. Within its vibrant and bustling streets, filled with St. Patrick’s Day adorned teenage locals who were too drunk to stand and tourists who were too polite or perhaps too nervous to ogle, I found myself lost in a sea of smiling faces.
Though I knew these smiling faces weren’t a permanent fixture in London, I allowed myself to get swept off my tourist-swollen feet. I drifted off with the image of London and I, once lovers, now parting with the most romantic and sincerest of goodbyes.
My last day a Londoner, drenched in sunshine, spoke volumes for the promise of my near future. The promise of Spring, just around the corner, held within it a multitude of warmth, rebirth, and blossoming color. And with my final deep breath of London’s warm air before I stepped onto the tube for the very last time, I could only smile, reaching out my hand and physically grabbing the tube handrail, while emotionally reaching out my metaphoric hand as well.
I turned the next page, and there was something marvellous waiting for me.
A whole new chapter.