6 // I once ran for the train like nothing else, because it was taking me to a boy who was like no one else.
(Then I caught my breath and took a selfie, because why not?)
5 // Here’s the brief story behind every photo of myself with a train behind me: I learned that I could get great photos if I placed my point-and-shoot camera on the platform railings, set it on a 10-second timer, and pressed the shutter button just as the train started pulling into the station. Of course, I could never predict which part of the train would actually be behind me. I sometimes got the gangway between cars. But other times, like this one, I’d get the perfect shot.
4 // I always had gorgeous fresh flowers in my room during the brief time we were together. He was the best at picking them. He kept them coming long after we broke up; I had tulips on Valentine’s Day and purple lilies on my birthday. (And a tiny potted “tree” for Christmas.)
I would fetch him outside my building and find him hiding a bouquet behind his back. He’d wait until after we’d taken the lift to the fourth floor and got inside my room to say, “I have something for you,” like he was the keeper of a most magical secret.
“I know,” I’d smile up at him. “I saw.”
He was the sweetest.
3 // I spent my 28th birthday by myself in central London. My first stop was MeltRoom in Soho for lunch (grilled cheese is my jam, even if I’ve not had it in ages). One of the staff, a lady named Gugu, asked if she could take my photo for MeltRoom’s Instagram account. “Sure!” I said, then I blurted out, “It’s my birthday!” So the lovely Gugu gave me a dessert sandwich – Nutella and mascarpone on milk bread – on the house. And that was just the beginning of a really, really good day. :)
PS. This was the photo Gugu posted on MeltRoom’s IG.
PPS. I’m so glad my birthday is in May, because as everyone knows, I was a miserable cow during the winter.
2 // It was a first date. After a couple of drinks at a West End pub, he decided we’d walk back to Waterloo Station. We were strolling hand in hand along Northumberland Avenue, off Trafalgar Square, when he suddenly stopped in his tracks and turned to me. I stopped, too, and looked at him quizzically. And then, without warning, he leaned in for a kiss.
We walked on, onto one of the Golden Jubilee Bridges over the Thames. We stopped in the middle of the bridge to take pictures with our phones, capturing the postcard-perfect view of the London Eye and Big Ben. Behind us, a busker’s guitar filled the evening air with a soulful melody. My date kissed me again, lingering this time, and when we broke apart he said, “That should have been our first kiss.”
1 // If this photo were a FRIENDS episode, it would be called The One Where Lesley Rides Mia As A Bear. It was taken at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – a Christmas field trip with Lesley-Jane, Kevin and Elizabeth before we parted ways for the holidays. Of the thousands of snapshots documenting my year in England, this has to be one of my absolute favourites. It’s extra special because Lesley once told me, at one of the peaks (or should I say valleys) of my winter misery, to “think of that time I rode you as a bear” whenever I felt sad. To this day, I cannot look at this photo without giggling.