London Expectations & Observations

By Noelle Olsen, Chasm Intern

Just a couple weeks ago, I took my first step onto London soil. Walking into the beaming sunshine of midday, I took a prolonged inhale of the fresh London air. After traveling for many hours, it felt like my first breath in years. Looking around the city, I took in my surroundings, excited to understand more of the new world I was walking into. It had been a long time coming, and I was so happy to finally arrive.

“It’s warmer than I expected,” I thought to myself. Before ever stepping a foot in London, I had expected quite a few things. I expected to walk down the street and hear a British accent passing me everywhere I go. I expected to see lots of graffitI and street vendors.

There is both good and bad to making expectations. We can sometimes expect too much, and become disappointed when things don’t turn out the way we plan. Other times we expect too little, and are pleasantly surprised when our expectations are exceeded. I am glad to say that London did not meet my expectations, but exceed them.

Instead of hearing a British accent everywhere I go, I hardly ever hear it on the street. I usually hear different languages entirely! It is such a beautiful thing to think that for generations people from all over the world have travelled to London to seek a new adventure. Whether for a short vacation, or for permanent stay, it says something about London. It is a place that draws people in and places a mark on them. If you’ve been to London, all of your friends on social media know about it. It is a city that refuses to be ignored.

I’ve been to plenty of cities back home in the U.S., and I’ve seen many types of graffiti. There is the kind that you notice, but never take time to actually look at, and then there is the type that London has. Graffiti that asks questions and makes statements. It’s not really graffiti at all, but street art.

There are also a lot of street vendors and markets in London. These people sell their art and share it with the rest of the world. Art is powerful. It makes us think deeply about our reality. It sparks change and starts movements. London is a breeding ground for such art. People do not only come to London to make art, but to send it out.

London is both a whole new world, and a welcoming one. It welcomes the adventurer and the street artist. It welcomes the foreigner. London’s hand of influence stretches over every corner of the earth. I’ve only been here for a couple weeks and I have already personally experienced that. London is powerful, and had the ability to do amazing things for this world. It is true that I have only been here for a handful of days, but I already feel like London could be home.

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