When is your city, the place you have chosen to live, your home? When the barista in your local coffee shop does not ask for your name any more, but has your order sorted by the time you enter the door? Or when you actually start to say hello to the neighbours and vaguely know which house or flat they live in?
London is big and diverse, a gigantic field of self-similar dwellings in which you will never know everything, simply because places change too quickly to keep up. Moving here more than a decade ago the focus was on London as the centre of the design and architectural world, projects were all over the planet, London merely a convenient home-base. By now my attention has been honed, even my German ears can place the different accents of the city, and I have become more local to my favourite areas in the east than some of the people born here. Because I love roaming the streets, I can’t get enough of the beautiful and surprising moments that London - this collection of independent villages - has to offer.
Every day shows a different side, different light, another special moment. And slowly, you start to really know the place, you feel the atmosphere, and you miss everything about it when you are not there. The smell of the tube in summer, risking your life on a bike riding to meet your friends at the market, the impromptu gatherings in the pub and the glorious food. Yes, I said that. London is all about food, and has been since the middle ages, only now quality has caught up, with inventive local and international chefs naturally considered part of the creative crowd for which they cater.
I am deeply in love with this city, that is a metropolis, and not a city at all much at the same time. And musing about this I pick up the coffee I never ordered and walk on.