It will soon be 11 years since I moved to London, and I can honestly say that this is my home.
Although I was born and raised in picturesque Geneva in Switzerland, I always longed to live in a big bustling city. I moved here aged 18 ready to start university and must admit that I fondly look back at my first few months in London, between excitement of ultimate freedom and worries of being in a big city. I soon strived in London, discovering my English heritage (I am half British, half French), I adapted to the lifestyle and open-mindedness very quickly.
Once I had finished my Bachelor, I moved briefly to Florence in Italy for my Masters, but soon after returned with professional prospects. Now, I was experiencing London as a young professional, aged 22, I had already lived, like many Londoners, in three different zones and four different flats. London seems to have that energy that constantly makes you move around the City until you find your neighbourhood that somehow pulled you in like a magnet, and then you end up from having steadily moved house every year, to staying put for 6 years (like I have now) or even forever.
The neighbourhood that pulled me is Pimlico. If you know it, you probably already know why it’s so enchanting. If you don’t, make sure to take a stroll through its quiet residential streets in the spring. The Pimlico grid, as it is known amongst locals, is actually one of the smaller neighbourhoods of London. It’s Regency architecture and numerous garden squares were initially built as an extension of Belgravia, but Pimlico has quite a different feel. White Cubit houses line long straight streets that intersect each other, making the grid a maze with its notorious one-way system (no black Cab has ever confidently taken me home). The residents are what make this neighbourhood so unique, from young families to elderly couples with small dogs, Pimlico is the home to every culture and nationality under the sun, and that is what makes it so rich.
For me, Pimlico reflects, at a much smaller scale what London is about; a home to anyone that wants to call it that. It is a place to put down your suitcase, your dreams, your ambitions and build a life, a home, a career. London is full of possibilities, and Londoners are some of the nicest, kindest and most attentive people I have ever met. With its architectural variety, London is a city made up of small villages and towns that have united as one. Each area cherishes its uniqueness but also values its variety.
I am so proud to say that London is my home, and yes, I am a Londoner.