On the Fourth of July, 2013, I flew from London to America with nothing to declare at customs but my independence and near-insane desire for a proper American burger. Four weeks ago, I flew back. You can’t go home again, but it turns out you can always come back to London.
At this point, a word of introduction is probably appropriate.* My name’s Rian. I say that now because, well, it’s spelled funny. I was named after this guy, a South African journalist who, before apparently going crazy (as I’ve gathered from a quick look over his Wikipedia page), wrote a book called My Traitor’s Heart, which my mother apparently quite liked. So, there you have it.
My mother, incidentally, was born in Kolkata and lived there for 11 years, subsequently spending time in Manhattan, Zambia, Tanzania, and Scotland. She went to University in Scotland, at Stirling, where she met my dad. He was born and raised in Scotland, and had only ever been out of the country once — to France, on a school trip. They both moved to the States in the ’80s, I was born in ’92, and, after we spent a few years in Belgium, we moved to Chicago, where I grew up.
I did my undergraduate degree at Clark University, about an hour west of Boston, and during my third year there spent a year in London at the LSE on the General Course. It was an absolutely incredible experience in a whole variety of ways – many of which I blogged about here – and after finishing up my final year at Clark last year, I decided to return to the LSE on the MSc Public Management and Governance programme.
And so here I am, back again in this caput mundi. You can’t go home again, because the things once-familiar have now changed, but you can come back to London. It defines itself by its constant change, its constant whirl of peoples and places afar. People come to New York to become New Yorkers. Nobody comes to London to become a Londoner; they come for the city that breathes in and breathes out the people of the world each year. You can leave London, but the smell of it stays in your hair and the taste of it on your tongue.
I’m looking forward to this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. I’m older and a little bit wiser than I was two years ago. I’ve had at least six haircuts since I left, and cut my nails probably twice that many times. On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs still haven’t won the World Series and I still haven’t really seen the point of Pinterest. The more things change …
*The two paragraphs after this mark are plagiarized shamelessly from my first ever blog post on this site, ‘Caput Mundi‘, which was published on October 27th, 2012, and which I wrote entirely myself. I hereby grant myself permission to use my work, yada yada.