I write today’s post in a rather unusual place – under water. To be precise, under water of the La Manche channel, commonly known in Britain as the English Channel, though we all know that geographically it’s no more English than it is French. Yes, I’m in the Eurotunnel. And believe me you can hardly find a better place to think and write than in the futuristic, claustrophobic tube connecting Britain with the continental Europe.
My being in the Eurotunnel means that today was my last day in London this year. I’m going home for an indefinite period of time. Leaving London sucks enough as it is, but to make it suck even more I chose to go by coach. I must have been fairly out of my mind booking this ticket, but it is what it is and I’ve got a nice 24 hour journey ahead of me. So far it is not as dreadful as I had imagined it. I’ve got two seats for myself, the person who was supposed to sit next to me either didn’t make it or will get on later, we’ll see. Weird thing is that all the people on the bus are either Slovakians or Czechs so it suddenly feels like home. Wait, but I am home. I am just leaving one home for another.
What I hate and love at once about buses, trains, or planes is that even if you don’t want to you can’t help overhearing people’s conversations. I say hate and love because it highly depends on what the talk is about. At times I am happy I could overhear something interesting or inspirational, but sometimes I wish I was deaf instead. For example from where I sit now, I can hear a girl in front of me gossiping very loudly with someone on the phone, her language is not what you could call lady-like and her giggling is starting to drive me crazy and behind me there are two girls talking about how they hate London and how people are much nicer up North. What made them think that I don’t know, but I can’t disagree more. London has been kind to me, so has Southampton and every other city or town I have visited down here. People here are exactly the same as everywhere else: kind, grumpy, lovely, nasty, beautiful, ugly… the mixture of all sorts of tempers and traits. It is true, that not the sights but the people shape your opinion of the place. When you’re alone you could be in the fanciest of the places, but it will never feel right. And when you‘re not lucky and you meet assholes all the time of course you will never love the city you live in. If the same rule applies to coach journeys, and the people shape your positive or negative feeling of it, you might guess what the outcome is for me today.
As for London however, I’m leaving with the best of feelings. Too good I would say. If it were otherwise, leaving would be a lot easier. I knew it’s going be hard, just like nothing worthwhile in life is easy. You find yourself in a beautiful place but there comes a time when you have to leave. You meet amazing people but one day you or them are gone and they become a memory. You try to repeat what was so good in the past, but you realise those things are not coming back. Things, people, places, everything is changing in a cycle of life. Change is necessary, inevitable.
Now all I can hear is rumbling of wheels taking me away and it breaks my heart. And I am thinking how amazing it is that one moment you are in this big strange city with nothing more than your suitcase and a few moments later you find yourself at home.
See you soon London, this is no farewell.