Despite having spent a lot of time in Europe, I’ve never been to London. I was always so focused on learning different languages. And, well, they speak English in the UK. So I avoided it even when I lived in Paris for a semester abroad, when I spent a summer in Florence and during my days gallivanting around Spain.
But finally I am here in London to shoot videos and experience the tail end of the Olympics. And from the moment I stepped out of the airport yesterday the charm of Londoners surprised me and impressed me time and again.
Knowing I have seen next to nothing so far, I couldn’t help but to think at each turn, if this is what London is like, I already love it!
Because I am traveling for a month shooting videos, I have a bit of luggage. And, yesterday, as I made my way to the train from the airport I was struggling, pushing my way through a thick crowd of commuters.
At the beginning of my journey, I turned a corner and I found myself standing on top of a long length of stairs. Wide eyed, I mentally prepared myself for hoisting my two heavy bags on either shoulder and carefully inching down the steps.
At that very moment, a heavy-set man with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes asked in a thick English accent, “Do you need some help?” I said, “Absolutely.” And after a nod, he swung my bigger bag onto his back and off he went. As he disappeared with all my clothes into a throng of people descending the stairs I heard him yell, “Don’t worry. I’m not stealing it!”
When I got to the bottom, there he was waiting with my bag and a smile! What a sweetheart.
As you might imagine, that wasn’t the last flight of stairs I’d have to tackle commuting from the airport, to the train, to the tube to my place of lodging. And every time I approached the bottom, or the top, of a stairwell there was a young strapping lad there to offer help before I even registered I needed help.
So by the time I arrived at my friend’s house, dragging my two trolley bags down the uneven streets my spirits were soaring. The kindness of the Londoners, so far, really made me feel welcome and quite optimistic for my journey ahead.
Seriously, if this is London, I love it!