Missing U, London
In the season when arriving in London, the capital of sun-never-set empire, the fog in the sky comes casually while the river is as quiet as in oil painting. In the first month of arrival, it was rainy, stormy, mixed with a little sun light and tranquility.
The first impression of London looked similar to the description of the fancy district in “Tom and Jerry’s Life in London”. Piccadilly Circus was crowded with passers-by from dawn to twilight. In an endless stream of workers, students, tourists, buskers and beggars, there were serious faces and smiling cheeks. The city retained an order and tidiness in clusters of ginger, blond and black hair. On Regent Street, routemasters, ran through not only the busy avenue, but also the impression in my mind. They were beyond sightseeing buses. Almost all buses in London were based on this model. So did the taxi. The shiny black classics add some retro sensation to the modern city. Due to bombings during World War II, new buildings and traditional architectures gave us a feeling of Xintiandi in Shanghai, letting the vitality of the new century flow in the heart of ancient Great Britain.
Unlike the glamour of the day, the night in London came early and it was absurd. People with a curious heart wandered around the bars in Soho. Some rigorous British dared to confide their truth under the provocation of alcohol. They would not flirt firstly but to approach you with a permission. They always said “you are so cute” when they handed you over a cocktail. Suddenly a blush appeared on your face without tasting the drink. Compared to boys, British girls looked like women in Shakespeare’s opera. At one night, she was wrapped in a padded jacket and dressed in a mini skirt in the freezing winter. Accidentally she slipped off her high heels and hardly got up. Although she seemed to be angry, she complained in a British polite way, one hand holding against the wall and one hand grabbing the beer. I could only wish her city-wall-like thick foundation would be able to bring her an adventure tonight.
Afterwards, when the first rays of spring awakened the cherry blossoms in London, lockdown began. During the undemanding lockdown, I walked alone in the park, trying to make some new friends.
When we talk about London, we can’t help thinking of Dickens’s 19th-century’s”Orphan Twist”: “The air smells exactly like the cemetery” and “the skeletons rowing in the Thames” in my history book. After nearly a century of rectification, the fog has gone while London became the world’s first national park city in 2019. It is the greenest international city I have ever seen. In the district of Little Venice, the canal was like Amsterdam, where many people lived on the water. where swans, ducks and fish stationed. In the northern part of Regent’s Park, people could even take boat as a public transportation to the other side of the city. Since the beginning of the lockdown, the rainy and rainy London had ushered in a rare long time of sunny days. How could I trap myself in the tiny room in such a good weather?
During the lockdown, London turned to a zoo. People could be found only in the park’s green grass. Although I was alone a little envious of those gatherings of young and old, but soon, I enjoyed myself with new furry friends. The city was a paradise for squirrels. Whether in Hamstead Heath, not far from the school ESCP, or in Regent’s Park to the north, or St. James’s Park in the center next to Buckingham Palace, squirrels were playing games in any green space. If we had nuts in hands, squat on the ground and they would hop around for food. Once, after giving an entire bag of cashew nuts, the greedy squirrel stared at me for a long time without moving. Another time, the duck also swayed to beg for food so I had no choice but to run away. Immediately, a team of squirrels, ducks, and pigeons ran after me. It was such a view in the park!
The days in London were short yet fulfilling. After the rain and snow, the warmth sent me a goodbye. Every day in London has been a happy day. The magnificent avenue, cute gentlemen, heavy makeup girls, colorful blossoms, adorable animals, oh, and Chinatown…they are all in the empire that the sun never sets. I am missing you, London.