I recently went on a business trip to London. It was probably my 12th trip to London in my life, but my first ever for work. And it was so, so, SO nostalgic.
RIght from the get-go at the airport, everything smelled, sounded and looked familiar and comforting, like getting back an old blanket you had since you were a child. Getting out of immigration (when they always ask a few stern questions regarding the purpose of your trip), into a black cab (always a luxury I take given the bags) and into the M4. I looked out for my usual ship-like building by the highway and excitedly pointed it out to my boss “Tu tu building tu shaped like a big ship!” He must have been super amused.
Later, though, I’m sure his amusement turned to annoyance as I kept pointing out the places of historical significance (to me, of course, not the average person). “Oh, look, there’s the Sainsbury’s I used to shop at.” “That’s my college! And that’s where we had our graduation, at the Royal Albert Hall!” “That’s where I used to go for movies”, yadda yadda yadda.
Our hotel was right on the fringe of Trafalgar Square which also has a lot of bittersweet memories. There was the night an ex-boyfriend and I went to the theater, hung out at the Square and missed our train ride back to boarding school… after which we were resoundingly grounded. There was a McD outlet nearby where we once stayed up to talk all night until we got kicked out by its staff. Getting on the tube, I was reminded by a night when we rode on the Circle line and just went round and round in circles. It’s true what they say – you never forget your first love.
On the other hand, London is also the city where I grew up and met my husband. The college when he first asked me out to lunch for doing him a favour (introducing him to a lecturer in my class) and to High Street Kensington Odeon for our first movie. The bus ride that he took me around on (he bought me a bus travelcard for the day) and later kind of confessed his feelings while he walked me back to my apartment. The same city where we later stayed in as husband and wife when we backpacked around Europe for 2 weeks before his sister’s graduation. And now, the city where I come to as a married working mother, with him and my son waiting for me back home, which I shall rush to get back to (even with a view like this one below)..
Allah swt has certainly blessed me with all sorts of sweet and bitter memories in this great city. Bitter and sweet, just like chocolates. And with chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.