London, My Love

I know what you're thinking: I'm having a fun fling now, but in two years I'll come running back to you and your majestic mountains, your stunning waterways, and your glorious drive-thru coffee shops, just begging you to take me back.

This is a follow-up to my Goodbye Love Letter to Seattle a few months ago and is written after living in London for three months.


Dear Seattle,

I don't know how to say this, so I'll just come right out with it: I'm in love. I'm sorry if this hurts you, but I didn't want to lead you on any longer. I am head over heels in love with London and it's over between us.

I want you to know that it's not you, it's me. I know it sounds cliché, but it's true. You're a really cool city, I mean that. And I don't have to tell you how beautiful you are. You are going to make some other girl very happy, someone who deserves you more than I do. I want you to know I don't regret any of our time together, and I hope you don't either.

I think maybe you and I just got into a rut. I hear it's common in long-term relationships. We didn't go out as much or do all the cool things we could have done. We got into our routine, we got too comfortable, and somewhere along the line, I got bored. We lost our magic.

Now I'm in this new relationship and suddenly I feel so much more alive. I'm trying things I've never tried, doing things I wouldn't normally do, soaking in everything around me everywhere I go: the sights, the sounds, the smells. I sometimes smile while on public transportation. It must be love.

photo credit: Rachel Dellheim

Admit it, when's the last time we did something cultural? In the eleven years we lived together, I never made it inside the Seattle Art Museum. But after only three months in London, I've already been to the British Museum (twice), the Museum of London, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Saatchi Gallery. It doesn't hurt that my new city treats me to these for free - can you say, "Sugar Daddy?"

And I can't remember the last time you took me to Pike Place Market. I always said I hated the crowds or the parking was a pain, but really I was just lazy. Now I ride the busy Tube to Borough Market and wander through the stalls in gastronomic glee and I don't even notice the crowds. Maybe that's what they mean when they say "love is blind."

photo credit: Rachel Dellheim

You may be wondering what I could see in such an older city. I mean, London is old enough to be your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. But I don't think of London as "old;" I prefer to think of it as "mature." London is so worldly and sophisticated, with such a rich and fascinating past; it has so much to teach me.

You are so young and naive, you cannot even comprehend the history. You boast about Pike Place Market being 108 years old, while Borough Market is celebrating 1,000 - yes, one thousand- years in Southwark.

How does that saying go about fine wine and age? Oh yes, like a fine wine, London is old and expensive. And it'll get you drunk if you're not careful. Something like that.

You're just a fresh-faced babe in comparison to my seasoned city. You are Ryan Gosling and London is Colin Firth (I was going to say Sean Connery, but he's a little too old, even for my taste). Both sexy in your own right, but in different ways. You've got more natural beauty, I'll give you that. But London has more depth, more complexity, more experience, more charm, and don't even get me started on the accent. Besides, blonds aren't really my thing.

Ok sure, sometimes London is a little too old-fashioned for me. People here are reluctant to adopt some modern conveniences such as decent laundry appliances, Ziploc bags, or bread bag tags. Surely they are aware these improvements exist, they just choose not to use them. I think part of it is their love for the past makes them slow to accept change, and part of it is they just feel guilty making their lives too easy. After all, they vividly remember, and talk about frequently, the days of the Blitz - whether they were alive for them or not.

Americans seem to put a greater value on convenience. Hey, don't get offended, I'm not saying you're "easy," but, well, yeah, I guess I am. There, I said it.

And London can get a little hung up about the "rules" and procedures, and be a little inflexible at times, but you know what they say about old dogs: they're expensive.

Now, London hates it when I say this, but I think the old-fashioned stuff and their little traditions are just so cute (note: I did not say "quaint," I get in real trouble if I say the "Q" word around here).

photo credit: Rachel Dellheim

This is just a random street in the middle of the city. I mean seriously, how cute is that?

photo credit: Rachel Dellheim

And these guys? Just adorable.

And London has really cool friends - Paris, Rome, Dublin, Barcelona, Copenhagen, to name a few. In two days, London is going to introduce me to Amsterdam (well, we met once before in college, but I barely remember it). Sure, London has a dysfunctional love-hate relationship with all of these so-called "friends," but I don't mind, they're nice to me and I love hanging out with them. I'm not using London for its friends, they're just a really, really nice perk. You've heard the expression "friends with benefits," no?

I don't know how to describe it, there's just something about London. It is exotic and foreign in some ways, yet familiar and comfortable in others. It is cold and cozy at the same time. I feel like every day in London is an adventure. I can't remember the last time you made me feel that way. I realize I'm being unfair, but it's easier on me if I blame you while I'm pretending to blame myself.

Really, it's all London's fault. The city is irresistible.

I know what you're thinking: I'm having a fun fling now, but in two years I'll come running back to you and your majestic mountains, your stunning waterways, and your glorious drive-thru coffee shops, just begging you to take me back. Well, maybe you're right. Maybe once the initial spark with London fades I'll begin to tire of this older, stuffier city and yearn for my hip, young, easy hottie. Who knows.

But promise me this: if we do get back together one day, we must work on keeping the magic alive. We need to start "dating" each other again; I need to play tourist in my own city (role play anyone?) so my eye doesn't start to wander again. Maybe after a long absence I'll appreciate you more and we'll be stronger and happier than before. We'll see. But for now, I'll go my way, and you go yours. It's time to move on.