I knew from my very first day visiting London, when we’d come here to work on The MASON, that I had to return here to live. I’d had that feeling before. Any time I’d gone on holiday to a city before and fallen in love with it, I’d wanted to move there. But this time was different. I knew that in my bones and I proved it by doing everything I needed to to make it happen.
Yet even when I first moved here, I only meant to come for a year. Deciding to stay came later, although not much.
It was an idea that crept into my mind during my first few weeks after arriving, as I’d be filled with spontaneous joy just wandering the streets and realized that I lived here now. But it didn’t happen all at once. I wasn’t certain.
Within the first couple of months I’d mostly made up my mind but then that decision was shaken. I found out my brother’s girlfriend was having a baby and my first response was that I needed to move back to Canada. I knew that they’d need my support and I couldn’t imagine having a nephew grow up with me so far away.
But soon there was a nagging decision in my heart that my place was in London. That I wasn’t ready to leave.
I knew that if I moved back to Canada, it wouldn’t be to my hometown. And I didn’t even feel right about moving back to Toronto. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where I’d want to be because my heart was stuck on London – maybe Montreal or Vancouver, but either way I’d still be far away from my family. It took me a while to accept the decision I was making, but soon enough I gave into it.
At first I liked to think that this certainty was because London is mine now. In the way you take ownership of a city after having had to struggle to stay there, having learned the curve of her streets, and suddenly finding yourself a local at your favourite pubs and cafes. I liked to think I’d made this great, wild place my own.
But lately I’ve realized it’s the opposite that’s true. It’s me that belongs to London.
This city is full of surprises. Pockets of beauty, secret corners, and hidden mysteries. I’ll never see it all. And there’s something new popping up every day.
My life is being shaped around her energy. My schedule bends to accommodate hers. And somehow I understand that who I am and who I’m becoming is tied to her. I know with the full force of my being that I’m not ready to leave and perhaps I never will be. And so, sometime last winter, I decided to stay.
Have you ever felt the call of a city so strongly that you couldn’t say no? Or is there a place you’re yearning for right now?