Dear London,

Everyone asks why I love you, London, as if it’s not clear to them why I love you as much as I do. I love you as you are.

You welcomed me and made me fall in love with you instantly. I love you despite what people told me about you and your reputation for rainy weather and food. I love the certainty of a gentle rain in London and the matter of fact way everyone carries an umbrella and never puts away their boots for the season. I love the way you have food to appeal to all and chefs from around the world that have made London their home and used your ingredients and their expertise in restaurants worthy of any city in the world. I love you as you are.

I love you for the quiet genteelness of Mayfair and the boisterous bustle of Borough Market on a weekend. I love the courtyard of your Victoria and Albert Museum and its serenity in the midst of a treasure trove of artifacts that you house and protect for the all the world to enjoy. I love that it is affectionately called England’s attic and holds within its walls everything from diamonds to paintings. I love that you allow happy school children to patiently queue up, as you would say, to explore your Natural History and Science museums in South Kensington, and then allow them to run freely around exploring their new discoveries with pure joy and unbound happiness. I love you as you are.

I love all of you. I love you from the western reaches of Richmond and Kew Gardens and south to Wimbledon and its tucked away places for brunch on a weekend. I love you to to eastern edges of Canary Wharf and its business briskness with pubs near the waters edges to welcome those at the end of a long day. I love you from Primrose Hill on a cherished sunny day and further out to Greenwich and its precise time it keeps and the naval history that explored the world. I love your views of the Thames from Embankment and over white painted bridges in Chelsea. I love you as you are.

I love your sense of style from pinstripe suits and wigs on barristers in Chancery Lane and Holborn to punk and cutting edge in Camden Market and Southwark and hats donned on a wedding day just off Sloane Square with men wearing morning suits in shades of grey with carefully chosen cuff links to commemorate the day. I love you as you are.

I love that you love architecture and allow me to look at church spires designed by Sir Christopher Wren from St. Paul’s and The Shard from a building fondly called The Gherkin. I love that you have carefully tended mews houses with flowers spilling out of window boxes on cobblestone streets next to modern masterpieces of eco-friendly flats. I love you as you are.

I love that you speak Latin in Pater Noster Square and yet have your own language onto yourself with words and phrases like bubble and squeak and sorted and lorrys that take knowing you for a while to realize what you mean. I love you as you are.

I love that you love sports. I love that you wear all white for cricket and tennis on grass and colors for football in stadiums like palaces. I love that you have days set aside for enjoying regattas near Putney. I love that you equally enjoy a Sunday resting quietly on a striped hammocked wooden chair in Hyde Park watching dogs run about and gardens in bloom. I love you as you are.

I love that you have beautifully tiled food halls that people take pictures of beside weathered buildings that have withstood wars. I love that you can drink Pimms on summer wicker or warm beer on a picnic bench and eat chips or curry or cucumber tea sandwiches at your whim. I love that you are confidant in your place in this world. I love you for who you are.

As always,

Melissa DeCastro