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I still remember the very first time I saw you. It was only a glimpse, a small part of who you are and yet it was magnificent. I was still a child, seriously perplexed by the complexity of the puzzle in front of me. Yes, you were always a bit of a challenge but very rewarding one. I spent countless hours on that one image of you and the satisfaction I felt once the pieces were all intact—it was enormous. Tower Bridge London in all its beauty stayed in my mind forever since. Yes, the puzzle wasn’t a metaphor I used—I believe it’s called jigsaw in this country. They come in many different levels of complexity and the one of you was a very complicated one for me at the time. Yet it was worth it. What is a perfect metaphor though is the fact that we always had to work on it, however it never felt like work to me. If I only saw a picture of you in the magazine, chances are I would forget all about you the next day. It’s only after playing with hundreds of pieces of your image in a very focused way, did I learn to appreciate you long before I met you.
Years went by and I never really considered seeing you in real life yet I guess you were always in the back of my mind. To be honest I simply didn’t have the opportunity to visit you and so you remained just that—a fantasy of a land so majestic and rich in its history that just one building can inspire one to dream about it. I probably heard about you many times —the tea, the Queen, the Spice Girls. But not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I will spend so much time with you one day, London.
Once an adult—the chance to see you finally presented itself. I was excited yes, but by then the image of that stunning bridge faded in my mind. And rightly so as you turned out to be so much more than that. It was a love at first sight. I liked the look of you sure but above all—I adored your vibe. It varied from place to place but it always felt magical. You had it all—the rich history, the Royal heritage, a very diverse culture as a direct result of an incredible mix of nationalities living on your soil in modern times. I was infatuated as clearly I didn’t know you enough and surely didn’t plan staying with you longer than a week, yet you proved to be unforgettable. Not just because of truly majestic tourist attractions, beautiful architecture, amazing food and very polite yet cool crowd. No, London—you have the charm I still struggle to explain after being in love with you for the last twelve years. Even after I learned about your not so attractive qualities, even after I was determined to leave you for warmer places, even after you were harsh with me as I returned from months abroad, I still went back to feeling we were somehow destined—from the very first time I touched that puzzle.
If I had to pick just one thing to be grateful for in our time together, I’d say it is my growth as a result of it. And that is directly linked to people I met thanks to you. The connections I made here are truly meaningful and growth facilitating. Friends that become family—you made it possible and that’s something money can’t buy. People often ask me how I had the courage to move countries on my own at such young age. But I don’t feel like I had any choice; when your life path is calling, you must follow. And as I look back, it becomes clear that it was my path indeed and still is. Recently I looked up the symbolism of the bridge and now it makes sense even more than ever before. A bridge is often the only way to reach the destination or in other words to overcome the obstacles, they also represent a transition. Which essentially is about the journey, and perhaps the evolution—so yes, the transition from one level to the next . Wherever this journey takes me, one thing I know for sure—I wouldn’t be able to become the person I am now without you London. You showed up as a vision of a bridge and became one metaphorically as my life became so connected to you. You broadened my mind, you taught me so much about myself and the world, you made the impossible happen. It wasn’t always easy, but we don’t grow when things are easy. Yet you always felt like home. P.S. I love you.