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Across the Pond This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Why is it so hard just to be yourself? Why must we always conform to someone else's expectations? Being a teenager and having hormonal issues is hard enough; having to meet ridiculous standards just adds to the craziness that goes through a our heads every single day. Whether it's parents telling us we are failures or other kids spreading rumors and making fun, we never seem to catch a break. Though, what if there were a place where no one judged or scrutinized us? A place where you didn't have to suck in your stomach to look thinner or wear tons of makeup because someone noticed you had a zit. A place that could just let you be happy – a haven, a sanctuary, a home, a querencia.

My querencia is miles away in a foreign land with hot guys who have even hotter accents. A place with a history so tragic, yet inspiring. A place that makes me feel like I'm not alone in the world. The only place where I feel I belong, amongst the ruby double-decker busses, the mouth-watering fish and chips, and the divine tea of London, England.

Now, I'm not saying it's perfect. Especially, when you find out your driver couldn't make it to pick you up at the airport because he just had a car accident. Also, the fact that they drive on the other side of the road at about 100 miles per hour can really shake someone up who has serious jet lag. But, when I looked out the window, slightly fearing for my life, I witnessed something life-changing. It was as if the gargantuan ever-spinning wheel of history began to rotate in the opposite direction. I was no longer in the twenty-first century, but spinning back through time, witnessing the city's evolution. Beginning in the Middle Ages when grand cathedrals stood as lone centurions dominating the small settlements, I traveled all the way to the masterpiece London is today. This is the most stubborn city I have ever seen. Through a great fire burning it to ashes, Napoleon trying to invade it, and Hitler bombing it, London carried on.

It is easy to lose yourself in London, a city more contradictory than day and night. When I walk down any random street, there are so many restaurants, shops, and people. A quiet, quaint French café next to a rowdy English pub. A true Italian restaurant, (and no I don't mean Olive Garden) next to a wee fish and chips stall with a billboard that pontificates their status as number one.

As for the people, they come in every shade of the rainbow, including purple, silver, gray, and orange. True, most of these people painted their skin because they are entertainers, but you'd never see that in my California home town. There is also no dominant race. There are the same number of whites and blacks and Asians and people from the Middle East.

London has so many types of places that it is impossible not to find one that suits you. My city has something for everyone, no matter what gender, color, or age. If you want to find me in London, try looking in a bookstore, vendor kiosk, or in one of the many amazing museums. Most likely, you'll find me looking in admiration at the famed marble statues from the Parthenon or standing in awe of artifacts like the Rosetta Stone under the famous glass dome window that encases the British Museum.

If you have never had the honor of walking down London's ancient streets, I feel sorry for you. When I walked down those streets for the first time, I felt truly alive. The city has its own pulse. An archaic dull throb that beats in sync with the rhythm of my heart. It accelerated as fast as a hummingbird's wings when I had to hurry to catch a train, yet gently rocked me as I strolled through the green woods of Hyde Park. I reached fabled Speaker's Corner and listened to the rantings of mad men trying to prove their point. This is a place where anyone can speak her mind without repercussions.

People always ask me why I love London so much. I didn't know the answer 'til I decided London is my querencia. There is a deep connection between me and my London. There is so much of me there. Musicals and plays like “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” It's home to some of the most fabulous libraries I have ever seen. Museums and history tours galore. London has a great appreciation for its history and people, and that's something I want to be a part of.

From the first time I read about London, I knew that is where I belong. I could walk down the same streets as the William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Winston Churchill! Even my city's most infamous residents, Jack the Ripper and King Henry VIII, are fascinating. Besides my family and friends, there is nothing for me here in Yorba Linda. It may be my physical home, but my querencia is miles away in a foreign land. With hot guys who have even hotter accents. With a history so tragic, yet inspiring. A place that makes me feel like I'm not alone in the world. I belong amongst the ruby double-decker busses, the mouth-watering fish and chips, and the divine tea of London, England.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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DoctorWhoHobbits said...
Nov. 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm:
I felt exactly the same way when I went to England for the first time.  There is sometihing so undeniably special about that place, it's near to impossible to fit into words.  I do have to say, though, that you did a very good job of it :)
 
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stardetective29This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm:
Don't be afraid to comment!
 
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