I'm not someone who has a family home to go back to so, for me, home tends to be wherever I am with my friends. London is starting to feel more and more like a second home to me. I don't originally hail from there, I'm a northener by birth, but whenever I go back to England, it's London that I visit. My sister has lived there for the past few years, and the majority of my friends are also based there.
When I was younger, I remember watching a crummy TV show called "Where the Heart is". It was about a small Yorkshire community, centred around Skelthwaite Health Centre, and starred well-known soap stars who first started out in Eastenders, Emmerdale or Coronation Street. As I went to boarding school, I didn't have friends in Bradford, and the goal was always to leave the city far far behind me anyway. By the way, WTHI lasted 9 years and 10 seasons, so clearly people in England love community and soap stars!
I remember feeling really unsettled when I first moved to Paris. I'm sure this is a feeling most people experience when they move to a new city, especially if they are also moving to a new country. I'd moved into JB's apartment, which was great from a rent point of view, but it wasn't my space and it was almost 2 years before it felt like home. This was partly due to problems I was experiencing with my family but I do believe that, family drama or no family drama, it would always have taken me time.
It's now been one year since we moved into our new apartment, just the two of us, and we spent some time today shopping at Merci, buying things for our home. I'm contributing to the organisation of our space, I'll share some photos with you soon, and it's a really nice feeling because I now truly consider Paris my home. It takes time - please remember that when you move to a new place.
So I feel incredibly privileged to be in the position of having two places that I can call home: Paris and London. They're both quite different, but I get to pick and choose the best of these two places. This past weekend in London was a great weekend celebrating the diversity of the city. Wait, people don't dress the same way here / there's more than one body-shape to be found on the streets / Boots has a 3 for the price of 2 offer on, let's go mad!
We ate so much good food, at Dishoom, La Fromagerie, Café Bohème and Ottolenghi to name but a few. I spent very happy moments with Maryana, Ryan, my sister, her friends, JB, Katya and Flora (I even got to meet The Accidental boyfriend which was a delight!) It's always so sad to leave friends, that never gets any easier and so I allow myself a day or two to ease back into Paris. The blow is cushioned however by the fact that I know I'm coming back home and the thought of my friends visiting me here.
P.S. My sister bought JB a great birthday present - a HintHunt session! Designed for groups of 3-5 people, you're locked in a room full of clues and have one hour to get out by solving the clues and completing various puzzles. It did take us the full hour, and the last 5 minutes consisted of me shouting (incorrect) suggestions at JB whilst my sister just went quiet (I think she was a little overwhelmed)! BUT we made a great team and all contributed in different ways. There's even a HintHunt in Paris, if it grabs your fancy.
* Vivienne Westwood