Monday, November 2, 2015

London, I Heart U 4Eva

One week from now I will be at the airport/on a plane heading back to NYC for good. I’ve lived in London for one year and two months and my time here has been really, really incredible. Of course there have been downs (some deep downs) with the ups but reflecting on this past year these past few days has left me with overwhelming feelings that are near bursting with positive emotions and memories.

I came to London to do a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths. Why I chose this degree and why I chose London is vague to me as I was granted a spot the year before, hence I applied two years before that. Upon getting accepted I had a mini break down, deferred and instead traveled and lived in LA and Mexico City. That was also an amazing experience. When the buzz of that trip faded and I was again faced with my habituated ways in New York, the option to moving to London sparked again and I decided it was a now or never situation. So I packed one suitcase and left. I had never been to London/England. I knew a few people online through friends but I never actually met any of them. I treated going to London like olden times when you went on a boat, had ideas in your head about a place and braced yourself for what was to come. I’m glad I did it this way as it forced me to be completely out of my element, utterly alone for many hours, days and weeks on end, and it made me be, well frankly, a little less like myself.

What I mean is that moving to London in this way forced me out of my habits. My usual malaise, arrogance, judgments, nervousness, social anxieties, and expectations. Being in a new city with no friends, no context, no identity makes you quickly realize that no one is waiting for you to exist. You have to go, knock, hang out, introduce yourself and patiently invest yourself until things stick. Luckily, London is full of the most amazing people and I have to say that the biggest, most rewarding, most amazing thing that I will take away from my time here are the people and the nature of building friendships. Most of my friendships here have been locused around art but not in the same way as it is in NYC. It’s not a networking type of connecting but more a sense of community (baggage of that word aside). People here judge each other on personality, intelligence, and character from the get go. Of course there is politics but honestly in the circles I have become a part of, if you were arrogant, try too hard, gossipy or just don’t get it, you will not be apart of the deeper things that makes the scenes here so rich.

The friendship thing is something that has truly changed the way I see others and I think more essentially myself. I’m not saying that this doesn’t exist in NYC or other places but I think it took being in London and having to unlearn certain strategies of existing that has made my time here so amazing, the friendships so deep and the time so full and fun.

To make this more of a gush fest I will now list a few things about London that I love and if anyone is thinking of moving here or just visiting here, I say do it! I love this place and it will always feel like home in certain ways and it has truly changed the way I see art, the world and myself.

343 – bus to Goldsmiths
Arcadia Missa – gallery
Aya – café
BBC iplayer – cooking shows and documentaries
Biscuits  - (especially love bourbons and Tunnock Carmels)
Brighton – Sea
British Museum – museum
British words – Cheers, Fair Dos, Realllly, You don’t say, Proper, Loo, Que, Quid, Knackered, Quite, Mentalist, Lost the plot, Whitey.
Carlos Ishikawa – gallery
Cats – wandering
Cell – project space
City Mapper – App that will save your life when travelling
Cider – drink
Dancing on drugs – with gal pals
DKUK – salon
Easy jet – I hate but cheap flights
Flowers – Shrubs and in parks
Foxes  - wandering
Gowlett – pub
Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond – female Eden
Hayward Gallery – small museum
Herald Street – gallery
House parties – in multiple floors for hours
Hyde Park – park
ICA – small museum plus movies and lectures
Jupiter Woods – gallery
Karaoke – always
Kiss - radio
Khans – for everything
Laura Bartlett – gallery
Lima Zulu – gallery
Limoncello – gallery
Nag’s Head (Peckham) – pub
National Gallery – museum
Overground - transport
Oxford – Town
Peckham – hood
Peckham Plex – movies
Peckham Rye Park – park
Penarth Street – parties/other things
Persepolis – café
Project Native Informant – gallery
Raven Row – larger gallery
Richmond – Park
Rinse FM- radio
River Thames – everywhere
Roast - Sundays
Rod Barton - gallery
Rollies - tobacco
Rye Lane – for everything
Sadie Coles – gallery
Senate House – Library
Serpentine lake – park
Shadwell Basin – swims
Silk Road – restaurant
Sky – big skies and sunsets
Social clubs – parties
South London Gallery – small museum
South London Gallery Café – restaurant
Tate – Museum
Tea – Roobis, fresh mint leaves
Tesco – shop
The Sunday Painter - gallery
Union Pacific – gallery
Whitechapel - small museum
Women’s Meeting – Feminist group
World Unknown – party