A Love Letter To The Cities I Have Visited

 I fall in love. Our eyes meet on the crowded train or we bump into each other in a narrow alleyway and, in that moment, all I want in the world is to be with you. I must have cried an ocean of tears over you, but I could never sail it all the way to your arms. 

I have a habit of falling madly in love. My infatuation is usually fleeting, but while it lasts it is as deep and serious as a child not wanting to eat its spinach. But my affection isn’t constrained to handsome strangers – I also have a habit of falling in love with cities. I fall head over heels for skyscrapers and cobbled streets – sometimes literally, because cobbled streets and heels do not mix well.

Now, you may be questioning the rationale behind this post. “So you, like, date cities?! Alright, crazy.” But getting to know a new place is a bit like dating – you explore the things you like and dislike about it, you wonder how compatible you are and in the end you try to decide if you could settle down together… or if you have to keep on searching. Within my heart dwell grand love stories, entertaining escapades and cringe-worthy romances waiting to be told – so sit back while I dish some dirt on some of my paramours.

Beijing: The Unexpected Love Story

We were an unexpected match – when we started going out, people kept reminding us of our differences and questioning our relationship. Do you remember that one time you took me out for dinner? Yeah, that was enough for me to realise that there would always be a cultural barrier between us. But that didn’t stop me falling in love with you during the four weeks we spent together. I loved getting to know you and I hate that we live so far from one another. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of you and I’m beginning to wonder – what if I visited you next summer? Would you have me?

Paris: The Overrated Playboy

“You have to meet this guy,” my friend told me over the phone, her voice trembling with excitement. “He’s handsome, romantic, well-educated and apparently he’s also, you know, blessed.” I could almost hear her blushing through the receiver. I reluctantly agreed and a week later, we met in a swanky French restaurant. You ordered without asking me what I wanted and only talked about yourself. After dinner, you asked me to go back to your place and when I declined, you walked off with a condescending smirk. Sorry Paris, but not even your big Eiffel Tower is enough to get me to bed with you.

Vienna: The Forgiving Gentleman

Ah, Vienna! It wasn’t love at first sight – I was actually dating someone else when we met, but after a while you wore me down and I began to fall in love. You were such a gentleman and you never treated me badly, but you just didn’t have enough pizzazz to keep me on my toes. So the first chance I got, I packed my bags and ran into the arms of another. I thought you’d be mad, but whenever we meet you’re all smiles and jokes. What are you doing? Are you trying to win me back?

Cape Town – The Irrational Affair

When did this happen? When did we fall so in love and why? I was never one for long distance relationships, but you are different – I feel like you are worth the wait. One day we will meet, I promise we will, but I’m not ready yet – I’ve really built you up in my head and I’m terrified of being let down.

Belfast: The Boy Next Door

I bumped into you in the pub while trying to a brimful pint or beer to my table. I spilled some of it on your shirt, but you were totally cool about it – the way you laughed at my pathetic apology made me feel like I’d known you for years and your smile lit me up like a burning match. When you sat down at the table with me and my friends, I was shocked by how charming you are. We stayed at the table talking till the last call and I wrote down your number, but I had to leave the next day and forgot all about it. When I was going through my suitcase the other day I found it, hurriedly scribbled on a dirty serviette. Should I call you?

Amsterdam: The Hilarious Philosopher

Everyone I know called you a hopeless stoner, but I wasn’t buying it. Sure, we spent a few hazy nights sharing questionable brownies and jokes – but I will never forget the day you took me to the Van Gogh museum where we looked at paintings and discussed the futility of life. You weren’t just smart – you were also hilarious and incredibly attractive (although you may have told me a few too many sex jokes)! Sometimes I wonder if you were the reason I felt so high during our time together… Do you still remember me? Because I sure haven’t forgotten about you.

Moscow: The Love That Never Was

Unlike with Paris, I had no romantic preconceptions about you, no fallacious OK Cupid profile to go by. I was ready for anything – ready for the worst, but also ready for love. Unfortunately, you dished out the former and skimped on the latter. Everyone was against us which made me want to love you all the more, but you never really made an effort with me. You saw me through some of the hardest times of my life and you just stood there and watched me struggle. I’ve forgiven you because you made me a stronger person and taught me a lot about myself – but I don’t see us getting back together anytime soon.

New York – The Cool Dude

Everyone loves you, everyone freaking loves you. Sometimes I pretend like I don’t just to stand out from the crowd, but the truth is that I have a huge crush on you… Is that crazy? I know we’ve never met, but I feel like we’d just get each other. We’re both so young, driven and ambitious – how could we not fall in love? I think it’s about time we found out.

London: The ONE?

When I met you for the first time, I was just a child with no understanding of romantic love. But you woke something within me, a longing I’d never felt before. I told my mother I’d marry you someday and she just smiled and patted my shoulder. “You do that, but wait.” And so I waited and dated – dated others who couldn’t match your shining splendour. At 17, I left home to be with you and you were just as incredible as I remembered, if not better. You welcomed me with open arms, took me to the nicest places I’ve ever seen and introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever met.

After two happy years, I had to leave you. We promised we’d write each other, but you know how these things go… I missed you, but I met someone while I was travelling and… again, you know how these things go. I’m coming back to you in September and I hope we can hash things out. I always thought you were the one, but this year has changed my outlook on so many things that I’m not sure where we go from here. Let’s give it another chance and see!

Which city would you write a love letter to? Please, don’t say “none” – I feel crazy enough already and I don’t need your condescension! Do you feel the same way about these places? Many thanks to Kirst for this fantastic idea!