As I mentioned in my last post my parents recently came to visit me. It always means a lot when my family and friends from home take time out of their calendars (and money out of their wallets) to come and spent time with me here. They get a holiday in a different country and we all get to spend some much needed time together. For me, it breaks up the routine from my every day life here and it gives me a chance to be in London as if I was on holiday. But having them here is also an ambivalent experience because it reminds me of all the little moments and big events I miss out on at home and all the time we could have spent together if I still lived in Denmark.
I almost always feel homesick and a bit funny after these visits, unsure if I’m making the right decision to live here; if it is too big a sacrifice. And then I remind myself that although we don’t see each other every day, like when I lived at home (something which was inevitably going to happen anyway when I got my own place), we get to have these experiences of the city together, which have become really special and important to me.
Whenever my parents come to visit we end up walking a lot, even more than what I normally do. We end up walking everywhere we go and hardly take the tube unless we really (and I mean REALLY) have to. This often means that I get to see a different side of London. Sometimes because we explore new places or walk in different areas still unfamiliar to me. And sometimes because being with my parents make me notice more details about the city, make me see it from a different perspective; partly from the inside, partly from someone who doesn’t live here.
We almost always discover something new and find even more places to put on our Favourite’s List; this time being no exception. It means that this city I have come to love so much has become a special place for them, too. I am the one who has chosen to live here but they choose to come and embrace it with me. The best of all is that we make new memories of the city together, which we can share even long after they have gone back home again.
Like the memory of when me and my mum climbed all 528 steps up to the top of the Dome Gallery of St. Paul’s Cathedral and looked over the skyline and all the rooftops of the city bathed in sun; after what had been a both physically and mentally challenging climb, challenging my balance, my fear of heights and of small spaces. Or when my dad took me to see the “Salt and Silver” exhibition of early photography at the Tate Britain because I really wanted to see it with him, as he was the one who got me interested in photography in the first place. And how can making new memories like these ever be a sacrifice? *