My City, London

It has been only recently that I have come to really, truly love London—really love it.  Honestly, I am not quite sure why it took me so long—London is so easy to fall in love with.  The skyline, the river, even the indeterminable weather seem to be imbued with a mixture of English charm and busy, metropolitan life that you could never find anywhere else in the world, and I love it.  I love London.

I know the exact moment that I realized how much affection I had for this city because it was only a few days ago.  I had taken a friend’s advice and visited London’s National Portrait Gallery, the preeminent collection zone for all the paintings of old people you see in high school history books.  I was browsing through the Elizabethan section of the Gallery and stopped in front of a 1500’s portrait of Shakespeare—not your typical Shakespeare either, with the high, frilly collar and the vacant expression.  This Shakespeare was younger, rocking an earring and a drawstring shirt, looking for everything like a pirate who could bust a sick rhyme in iambic pentameter at any given moment.

I laughed out loud in the middle of the hallway, getting some weird stares from a couple of older gentlemen sketching in the corner—look at that girl, snorting at five-hundred-year-old works of art.  I did not care, though, because I had just been hit with the most bittersweet thought in the world: I am really going to miss it here.  Shakespeare would not be a five-hundred-year-old rebel with an earring back in Texas—just an old writer from someplace far, far away.

The day after I realized my love for London, a man drove a truck into the crowds on Westminster Bridge and killed four people.

I was getting ready to go out and meet a friend when I heard the news—armed assailant, possible terrorist connections.  My stomach dropped.  My heart broke a little.  Who could ever bring themselves to do something so horrible in any place, much less in a city so full of history and diversity and life?

But the Brits are masters of “carrying on”—they have been doing it for about a millennium—and the next day, London pulled itself back together, stronger than the hatred that had tried to tear it apart.  A couple days after the attack, the city held a candlelight vigil for the people who had been killed, and I was so proud of London for coming together, closer than it had been before, even after this tragedy.  The resiliency of the people of London has only made me love it here even more.

I cannot believe that my time here is already over halfway gone.  Although I am excited to get back to the States and see all my friends and family again, I know that I will hate to leave this amazing city.  I may not have been born in London, but I feel the city in my bones anyway, and I am glad that I will always have a home here on the other side of the Atlantic.

Chelsea Teague is a junior majoring in professional writing and rhetoric.

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