On the train home from another London adventure, I thought it was about time to start and try to explain the big “WHY?”. Why London? Why the U.K.? Why the tear running down my cheek when I’m leaving this place, this country? And it’s not that easy to explain, actually… This write up just an attempt. Some figments, musings and thoughts scribbled down to try and find some answers myself.
It was at the age of 6, in the back-seat of the metallic blue Mazda with The Beatles singing trough the headphone of my walkman, that I decided to become British. That’s quite something to decide. Especially when you’re 6. Especially when you realise that my roots are all fairly Dutch except for a little root that doesn’t get more exotic than the North of France – 5 centuries ago. I think my parents rather wanted me to become a nurse.
Nevertheless I wanted to become British, boarding schools and pleaded skirts included. I was determined. And ask my parents: if I was determined, I was determined. Hiding was the safest option if you tried to prove me wrong.
Strangely enough I never succeeded. Turned out becoming British isn’t that simple. The pleaded skirt seemed an easier goal in comparison. My parents are entirely to blame for the fact that I never got to wear one.
Even though not British – yet – ever since I was 6 crossing the British boarder gave me that feeling of “Ah, home at last”. Crossing the boarder in opposite direction always made me feel homesick. Truly homesick. For approximately 4 weeks. Softly crying myself asleep at night.
And it still is just like that. Apart from the 4 weeks of crying myself asleep. It’s not that I’m just “hooked” or have found my favourite holiday destination. Saying I’m an “Anglophile” may be the best word to use to describe it , in a way everyone will understand. The word just doesn’t entirely match the feeling. The definition of “Anglophile” is “a person who greatly admires or favours England and things English”. Yep, I do love the British and their century old traditions. The language and their amazing TV series. The green hills and rocky coasts. The fish ‘n chips with salt ‘n vinegar. But I don’t drink my tea with milk because it’s British. I just drink it like that because I do.
No, “Anglophile” doesn’t describe the feeling. And the word gives me the shivers. What I experience when “I’m back” is “recognition”. Something deep inside of me “recognizes” Britain. Britain touches something deep inside of me. It’s a profound feeling, emotional even and of safety. Affection you may call it…?
It gives me energy.
Arriving in London for the first time only 3 years ago, had the same effect. Is it the fact that this city never sleeps? Not necessarily. Could it be the touristy sights? Eeeerr, not really no….
Some people say London is nothing like the UK. To me it is, again, like home “at last”. Fills me with energy. Somehow I feel happier and far more relaxed. Never feeling not safe. My self-confidence grows. Broad smile on my face no matter the weather type. Makes me wanna write endlessly about it; poems, blogs, epistles, fiction.
Makes me wanna dance in your streets, London! Day and night, night and day.
I even enjoy your public transport.
There. That’s all there is to explain. Or at least all I think I can explain. I can describe how it feels, how I feel. What I can’t explain is where it all comes from. Ah well, a spiritual connection maybe…? Let’s keep it at a very deep affection.
So deep that no matter how drunk London may get. No matter how grey. No matter how hard the cuttings in it’s budgets. Or how dark the colour of the Thames. I will always stand up for London. As for the U.K.
And no matter how unrealistic it may seem now: one day I’ll live in the U.K. Apartment in East London, cottage in Wales for the weekends. One must never lose sight of reality.
And one day I’ll be British.
For now Hello, goodbye, hello goodbye to London and the U.K, and back to normal. Back to London blogging. Stay with me…!