Back to London: Escapism or living in the moment?

I visited London in March 2019 for the first time since 2013. The city I called home for a year.

It was late afternoon. I got on the tube heading to Central London from Heathrow. I felt like a visitor, an outsider. It was familiar but also foreign.

I have always loved London. Of course living there was exciting and all that. I embraced every part of life there, even the gritty parts. To this day, it was still the happiest time of my life.

When I got off in Central London, I felt like I had never left. I felt at home. Almost too at home. When I walk that familiar road passing through Covet Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, I still marvelled at the fact that I was in town and how great life was.

When I dreamed about my life in London, it was escapism. When I was in London, I was living in the moment.

I thought very little of the my life in Hong Kong. When I did, I was surprised at the clarity it brought. In the past, I felt reluctant about going back Hong Kong. For the first time, I felt excitement but also dread for very specific parts of life.

I wanted to move to London permanently 7 or 8 years ago. I no longer think so. London is my happy place. I don’t want to turn it into real life.

There’s escapism after all.

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