My Inevitable Homesickness for London, Ontario

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For the very first time since leaving for Costa Rica I’ve been feeling homesick for London. It’s been really hard today for some reason especially, I think because we just dropped our best friends off at the airport after a week’s long visit.

I was in London for the better part of a decade, and made my best friends in life there. I met colleagues at Western who have proven themselves more like family, especially when most needed. I had an awesome job at that university and got to do things I never thought I would in my career. I got my Master of Education there as well, and that I am very proud of.

I lived in a few wonderful neighbourhoods, most notably Wortley Village and most recently Old East Village, where I felt such a warm and active sense of community.

I met my now-husband in London, at the Wortley Village, where we spotted each other across the bar and made the rest history in love and adventure. London gave me the love of my life, even though it was a town that was never our forever homes.

When I changed jobs in early 2016 from a long career at Western University and started working for the London Poverty Research Centre at King’s, I got exposed to a whole host of new colleagues and comrades who continue to inspire me to this day. The current Board members and affiliates of the LPRC are some of the most inspiring and good-hearted (and no bullshit) people I know.

Strange to me, but of utmost welcome to my life, I’ve met new people from London online since leaving, who I wish had been a part of my life while I was physically there.

I don’t have a regret in my life, and I certainly don’t regret moving to Costa Rica, but I must say, good communities within cities are hard to find, and London is a good city with a beautiful sense of community, despite its flaws and quirks.

I left London on a bit of a bruised note. At the time of my departure, I had a bad taste in my mouth based on some experiences of just a few people. I was bitter and sadly at the time of leaving, I was despondent about my time in the city. Reflection has helped a lot. I’ve gotten my sweetness for London back since.

Time has allowed me to heal from the tough parts of my time in London. I’ve forgotten about the people who were disappointing or hurt me either personally or professionally. While observing London from a distance, I see the same old players playing the same old games. They’re always there. I pay no mind, as I feel like some antics and musings of the usual suspects are like The Young and the Restless where you can tune out for a 5 year period and easily catch up on the storyline in one show.

Shining brightest are the stars, the changemakers, the innovators. These are the ones who are trying new things no one has before. They’re the ones asking for accountability in leadership. They are the ones questioning actions, defending voices, and opening their arms. They are the feminists, both female and male. They’re the ones who are so giving of their minds and hearts to those who need it. They’re the artists, of stage, of sound, of skin, the ones displaying their art and standing by their expressions. They’re the ones writing thought-provoking pieces through print and the web. They’re the ones marching in solidarity. They’re the ones supporting Sanctuary Cities. They’re the academics creating usable research. They’re the ones who recognize the vulnerability of humanity and allow people the dignity they deserve.

My departure from London and into Costa Rica life was perfect timing in terms of landing here, but I’ve been left wondering how life could have been had I stayed. I don’t think I’ll ever return as more than a visitor, but I also know that my dear London, I’ll always keep coming back.

My city, my home, my people and my pack in London: keep doing the awesome things you’re doing, and keep doing me proud. I’ll be watching from my little place in the sun, always rooting and sending my love and support.

 

 

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