Fall, Autumn, whichever you may call it; there's nothing quite like the way London does it. There's something so beautifully dismal and calming about waking up to a rainstorm in October. In my short three weeks here it feels like I've lived in London a lifetime, this city knows my soul, it compliments me in every way. I can enjoy walking down the electrifying streets that make up Shoreditch's infamous Brick Lane just as much a I cherish an escape into Kensington Gardens for a picnic and meaningful conversation with a dear friend. Other cities don't compare to the chaotic mess that is London.
Much like the weather, the city constantly pulls me in every direction; each hole-in-the-wall cafe and mom and pop shop vying for my attention. But it's more than just the sipping and the shopping. There's something to be said about the way each store, each big red bus that whizzes by (in the wrong direction I might add), each piece of this city connects me to a feeling, a memory that makes it feel like I'm taking a deep breath of fresh air every time I walk around a new street corner.
This week has been full of new discoveries- in the city and in the classroom. I got the chance to dabble in illustration this week and it's something that usually puts me out of my comfort zone- needless to say I'm a big fat perfectionist when it comes to my artwork and this week it was about letting go of striving for perfection and going with the flow of your paintbrush. Instead of being allowed an hour or so to work on each piece, my class was given no more than ten minutes to create a watercolor illustration; and thus I was given anxiety. First instinct told me to sit and analyze and calculate how I wanted my piece to turn out but the time didn't necessarily allow it. It became about learning to utilize my unique illustration style and to not strive to be like another artist; because what I can create is what makes me differ from others. Otherwise we'd all be the same and then where would we be?
Skipping over to exploring more of this vast and captivating place I now call home. I've settled into a routine- a lesser favorite of mine is the task of grocery shopping. Don't get me wrong I love exploring the isles for that jar of Nutella just as much of the next girl, but putting it on a schedule where I can only buy what I need once a week leaves me eating plain pasta for a week (here's where I mooch and say if anyone would care to send me real food you know where to find me). My good friend Kiri and I sauntered through the local grocery store on Saturday morning before heading off to the Saatchi Museum to spend a girls day out perusing the many floors and hallways; narrowly escaping a horde of giant ants and pausing for a breath to take in the rooms filled with prepossessing modern art.
Sundays are reserved for early morning mass (after an extensive search I finally found a Church I can call home located in Kensington and it is wonderful) and long afternoons with my dear friend Anna exploring new and revisiting old pieces of London that delight our spirits. The day started off with catching up over some of the best coffee (try a vanilla latte with on lump of brown sugar and it's like you just tasted heaven) at our go to place- Pitfield London a local coffee shop + cafe + and odds and ends store located just near her flat on Brick Lane. We then meandered down to Columbia Road Flower Market where we discovered mini pink pineapples and big faced sunflowers are sold side by side.
This week we were feeling a bit homesick for the comforts of the food back home so we stumbled into the large open-aired room of Pizza East and hunkered down to a hearty pan of wood oven mac n' cheese and a delicious margarita pizza. They were each gone in seconds.
As I sit here typing away at two in the morning; sometimes it is necessary to surrender sleep in order write what truly pulls at your heart; I will never understand why natives and visitors alike, whip out there umbrellas at the first sign of rainfall. I can't get enough of the way the rain pelts you in the face and seeps through your clothes as the crisp Autumn wind whisks around your body as you walk to your destination. I suppose I don't, and won't, understand because I love the rain, I love how it softens the outlines of things. The world becomes softly blurred and I feel like I can melt right into it. And that's one of the many reasons I've fallen for London and fallen for Fall.
Note: All photos and illustrations are property of Haley Sieben.