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.