a city through the eyes of a girl who's not sure how she ended up here

Monday, 21 December 2009

Here's something I never thought I'd say...

...I miss London.

I really do. I have been back at the Accidental parents' place for three days and something feels very wrong. The village is oddly quiet. You can look out of the window for a good fifteen minutes without seeing a single person walk by. I have seen one bus in three days, and not a single cab. Christmas shopping is deeply limited, and requires a car, (and wave bye-bye to all those lovely things you intended to buy from Heals or Paperchase). All I have to blog about is how much I miss London, unless I tell you all about the shop-lifting incident I witnessed on Monday in the local WHSmith but even that was massively unexciting. So I won't.
Waiting for something to happen in Staffordshire
Transport links and decent shops aside, however, what I really miss is the pace of life, the well-worn daily patterns enacted at top speed. I can do twelve things in one day in London; up here I struggle to manage one productive achievement every 48 hours. Life in London is like a complicated jigsaw puzzle, slotting in odd shaped tasks around hundreds of others. Up in Staffordshire it feels like I'm doing one of those puzzles without an edge, no corners, no straight lines. Somedays up here I have no idea what the design I'm piecing together even depicts.

Writing from my desk in the room which was mine since birth, I glance up at reminders of the child I once was and realise I was never a "grown-up" here, never my own person, but someone's child. The city is mine, and I am my own when I am there. There I have my home, belonging to and created by me, rather than my parents. I feel like Bridget Jones, dragged back to her parents house in Grafton Underwood for the festive season, wheeled out for drinks parties and turkey curry buffets to be quizzed about her job in London and grilled on her depressing love-life.

Family friends who live locally have expressed great surprise to see me up in Staffordshire. "What are you doing here?" they enquire, somewhat startled that anyone who begins their own life elsewhere should ever return to this slow-motion place. I know what I am doing here - I am visiting my family, and celebrating Christmas. I am missing out on some most jolly icy, snowy fun down south, up here in the boringly merely-frosty-Midlands. I am fleeing my exciting London whirl to get some much needed Masters degree work done in a suitably quiet environment. But I am also biding my time until the day I can cart my most crucial belongings (laptop, iPod, grey knitted fedora from New York) back to the big city, and settle back into my own life once more. It's a good question. What am I doing here?!

8 comments:

  1. It's funny as I am somewhat the opposite. Having grown up in a big city (Los Angeles) and now living in another large area (Dallas), I treasure the moments I get to go somewhere far slower paced to breathe for a moment! :)

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  2. I have definitely appreciated the break (and loved being able to get some sleep!) but am going to be pleased to get back to my big city soon!

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  3. Agreed - I find this too, being at university up in Leeds, I miss London's buzz and urgency!

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  4. So bizarre! I'm just typing up a post which is practically the same as yours. I'm currently back in the countryside with the parents for the festive season. I miss London. Life in the country is far too relaxed!

    x

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  5. How spooky... Yet reassuring I'm not the only former-country girl who London has now claimed!

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  6. this makes me miss london and i've only been to visit!

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  7. I hear you on being more productive in the hustle and bustle of city life as opposed to the quiet country :D

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  8. I LOVE this post. It's so true to my own story and my own feelings about London (having moved down on my own a few months ago) that it feels like I could have written it myself!

    I especially like the part about London being your own, something that is difficult to explain to anyone back home!

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