“So, I have to ask. Why the name London?”
This is a question we get a lot. I have always loved London’s name, but it took some time to figure out exactly why. The short answer we give goes something like this: “We both really love the name because it’s gender neutral. London, the city, holds a special place in our hearts and a couple years ago we first thought of naming one of our kids London.”
But the long answer, if you are willing to bear with me, is this:
London, the city in the United Kingdom, yeah, that London, is one of the sacred places in my life, which may sound ridiculous to you when I tell you I have only been there twice. However, as is sometimes the case, it is not really how many times we go to a certain city or country that matters, but what time in our life did we go to a certain city or country. For me, the time that mattered was when I was 22 years of age, in my last semester of undergraduate studies, during which I studied in London. This was my fifth year of college, but as I was an NCAA athlete for the first four years, studying abroad was not an option for a while.
When I arrived in London I was very young, educated (somewhat), and ignorant about quite a few things in this world. I wouldn’t say I was sheltered, but I was thirsty for knowledge and new experiences. I was ready for an adventure, malleable in a way, and ready to have some ideas and beliefs challenged during my time there.
I could not have arrived in London with a better mindset. I accepted an internship at a small publishing house on London’s south side. I preferred to traverse the city on foot when I could. I paid as little attention to my studies as I could and as much attention to the fast, diverse city whirling around me. I often explored alone, my classmates more interested in frequenting a neighborhood pub. I went to pubs too, but chose to go after work with my British co-workers. On one of these occasions, I turned 23 and celebrated the evening with my cool, new, and temporary officemates. The month after that Kate spent her spring break in London with me. She fell in love too, and I fell more in love with her as we explored London and a little of Paris, savoring the moments that I knew we would never be able to replicate because we were young, free, and unfettered from worries and responsibilities we had back home, across an ocean.
Four months of London and getaways to Scotland, Cambridge, Bath, Dover, Salisbury, Paris, and Israel behind me, I was facing a return trip back to Colorado. London had certainly challenged me. I had dramatically changed, but I did not know for years how much this time molded my thinking.
Kate and I went back there in 2012. We were in a position to go almost anywhere in the world, but the thought of reliving our London experience (this time with money!) tugged on our hearts with such strength that I quickly narrowed down the list of possible countries to visit, all of which were conveniently a little skip away from London. 2012 was another adventure in London, which, for the most part, hadn’t changed much in six years. But we had.
And we’ve changed a lot since. Big new job for Kate. I finished grad school. We bought a house. And our first child was on the way. We did not just name her after a city, but after an adventure, the most cherished one to date, knowing she would supplant it as soon as she arrived. She has, with a vengeance.