Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finally home

My own neighbourhood is my favourite place these days. It's been just over a year since we moved back to London, and I finally feel like I belong here again. This neighbourhood is now mine, although I technically have to share it with loads of other residents, not to mention all the slow walking tourists, and I've never been much good at sharing. I like to think of it as mine and mine alone. I know its streets lined with buildings converted to hotels. I know that it takes us less than 10 minutes to get to Hyde Park, and less than 5 to get to our favourite pub. We have a favourite pub.

I can tell you which restaurants to avoid (nearly all of them, tourist traps the lot) and which are gems (the tiny Malaysian cafe around the corner and the bustling 7£ pizza joint). On hot summer nights we can hear the music from the concerts in the park, the sound travelling straight through our open window. Though the traffic is quite heavy on the main street, we can sit on the benches in our beautifully tended square and never notice the fumes. On foggy winter mornings, a fox regularly frequents the square, sitting boldly out in the open.

But it's not just the neighbourhood itself that I love. It's the freedom it offers, opening doors to other parts of London. I can walk out the front door of our building and within minutes have access to five different underground lines. A 10 minute walk east and I'm on Edgware Rd, its smells of delicious grilled meat mingling with the sweet scent of the hookah pipes. A 10 minute walk west and I'm in Queensway with my choice of dim sum joints, and even a Brazilian imports store. Further on is Notting Hill, made famous by the movie and filled with throngs of tourists on the weekend, but also home to the Gate Cinema where we while away the occasional afternoon watching a movie while sitting on plush red velvet chairs.

It has taken a year of careful exploration, learning the quirks and foibles of this place, but I finally feel at home. Now every day I step out onto its streets, perfectly in synch with my surroundings.

1 comment:

Social Lilac said...

That was a lovely post. I've just been into transition of neighborhoods too. Except, I was born in Brazil, and currently reside in Canada. (With other 'hoods in between.) Anyways, your post struck a cord of familiarity (:
I like.

That girl from - Papaisapreacher.blogspot.com