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London has been amazing in more ways than I could’ve thought. The city and this trip gave me so much. I was able to connect with family whom I have never met or haven’t seen in years. The architecture and history gave me so much more insight into how London has been able to be a world leader. My bank account would beg to differ, but I believe that your money will always come back. The experiences the trips give you are one in a lifetime.
I spent a lot of time in Southeast London, which contained a large black community and Nigerian population. Here I was able to buy food that I usually could only get if I was in Nigeria and buy fabrics and other accessories I had been yearning for years since I left Nigeria.
Being able to observe the people of this city has also been an amazing opportunity. In this city, no two people are the same and that is something that never failed to amaze me. In America, it’s very easy for people to fall into trends and eventually everyone becomes very similar and lacks individuality. Because London is a place that is fashion forward and sets the pace for the rest of the world, people here have more freedom to express themselves how they want. In addition the cultural diversity of this city is something that also caught my attention. People from ALL over this world reside here vs the states. In the states, you’ll have to go to certain places just to see someone different. Regardless of phenotypic differences, people here really don’t mind each other. Everyone is cordial, stranger or not, or some people express their utmost love to you upon laying eyes on you.
As a Black woman, I am usually always on guard whenever I go out here in the states. Coming to London as an American black woman, I expected more eyes to be on me in a negative way because of my blackness and Americanness. To my surprise all eyes were on me, but not because I was black; eyes were on me because of my beauty. This was something that I usually only experienced in my home country of Nigeria, so it shocked me that Europeans found me beautiful. I quickly came to love the comparisons to Naomi Campbell and other beautiful famous black women. When I realized that my blackness wasn’t a threat to these people, I began living in it. Being able to be myself is what sets this trip apart and made me love this country so much.