Happy is a Place Called London

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

A memoir of a Brazilian living in London

Have you ever thought about the importance of feeling at home? Especially when you are an immigrant. William Shakespeare once said "People usually are the happiest at home". Well I then suppose this is my happy place!

I had my first encounter with London at the age of 20, it was pretty much a case of love at first sight - we clicked!

I was on an exchange student programme in France and came to spend the weekend. Piccadilly Circus was the first place to have my attention. It was so busy I couldn’t walk without rubbing shoulders with all the other tourists and Londoners alike. I just remember being fascinated by what I call “ a confusion of things” such as the iconic advertising screens with all the bright colours flashing through, the noise, the music, the groups of people gathering around the statue of Eros...I was mesmerized.

Somehow, I knew I had to return - a couple of years later London become home. My first few months living here were nothing but full of excitement. In the early days, I loved everything about it, a tube ride was always an adventure, a new place, community, park, market, museum, sound - a city like no other!

A metropolis, ancient, modern, polyglot, busy, green, a mishmash of cultures, a celebration of anything and everything. Somehow I fitted, even when it felt I didn’t belong, I fitted right in.

It is strange how a place can change you in ways you never thought possible and at the same time remind you of the person that you have always been. I say this town doesn’t judge, the streets are your runway - come as you are.

I understand not everyone falls for this place - cold, wet, crowded, expensive, I get that! Once you learn how to embrace it though - it changes you. I have left only to return. I hated only to love again. I have aged among others without feeling I was losing my cool.

Living in London has allowed me to meet people from all over the world, and for that I will be forever grateful - I can literally fall in love with a different person everyday, their stories, what they stand for, their struggles, their beauty, their lessons…

Most of my time is spent here, this is my wonderland, my safety net, my home for now.

Where is home for you?

Photo by: Luigi Manga

*London In Numbers:

Population: 8.7 million

Average house price: 472 thousand pounds

Average annual gross salary: 35,555 thousand pounds

Average monthly cost for one-bedroom flat: 1,211 thousand pounds

Average temperature: 11 degrees Celsius

*(source: google)

Quotes about London:

"Yes, London. You know, fish, chips, cup o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary-fucking-Poppins. London!" - Dennis Farina

"Oh, I love London Society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be". - Oscar Wilde

London life: If you enjoy art I would recommend going to 'The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britan' at the Tate Britain - now until 11th August 2019. London was a city loved by sunflowers Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh. He moved here to work for an international art dealer, Goupil & Cie, in Convent Garden, in May 1873.

Van Gogh self-portrait

“Things are going well for me here, I have a wonderful home and it’s a great pleasure for me to observe London and the English way of life and the English themselves, and I also have nature and art and poetry, and if that isn’t enough,what is?”

- Van Gogh was a keen writer-letter, this is an insight to one of the many letters he wrote to his younger brother Theo.

Tate Britain

Millbank, London


Opening hours:

Monday to Sunday


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London - England

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