With the official start of the Olympics, London is the center of the world today. If it wasn’t for the expected craziness I wish I was there to see it, it would have been so easy.

I remember my first time in London. It was Christmas 2002 and I was visiting my sister and seeing my parents who were visiting from Manila. I remember sleeping on a mattress on the floor of her tiny apartment in an area near Heathrow. I remember my excitement about being back in Europe, and despite the typical gray and rainy London weather enjoying the sites that I’d only read about and seen in movies. I remember looking for the blue door in the movie Notting Hill, and riding my first London cab.

At that time I was living in Washington DC and had to fly ‘over the pond’, took about 8 hours back then.
The second time would be in September, 5 years later. One of my best friends, Lito, was already living there and along with my other friend, Ron, we would be seeing him for his civil union with Stephen. I remember the boat cruise on the Thames afterwards. Fantastic ceremony, fantastic company. I also remember the excitement of seeing Spandau Ballet with THE Tony Hadley in concert at the Proms.

I know this, much is, true…‘. I remember yelling along to True, and Gold, having imbibed a few glasses of white wine earlier. What an exhilirating surprise that was. That year I was still living in DC and officially became a US citizen. I had quit my hotel job and felt restless, I dreamt about moving to Europe.

The next time in Harry Potter-land would be for my birthday in 2009, a gift from my now schatje, Teko. It was my big 4-0! Through sheer luck I seamlessly moved to Europe having sold or given away most of my accumulated possessions, met my partner soon after, and not knowing more than a few words of Dutch was in search of how to make a living in the Netherlands.

All it took was a 1-hour flight. Loved that. Despite being unemployed, and a little romantic drama, I was still able to enjoy the big moment in a great city with some wonderful people. Couldn’t ask for much more.

And the last time was in October 2010 when I went to watch the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables at the O2.

Despite a miserable cold and mostly miserable weather, I had a not-at-all-miserable weekend in one of my favorite cities to watch Lea perform in Les Miz.

London’s always had a special place in my heart. With half a million to a million visitors expected for the Olympics everyday, it is going to be an absolute madhouse getting around over there. Given what’s happening in the world of late, I hope nothing disastrous happens. Have fun with the Games, London, I hope I can call on you again soon!

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