Most times when I tell a native Londoner about my book - a London travel guide - they do a double-take.
'Wait a second,' they say, staring at me as if my face will reveal my nationality (if they haven't already figured it out by my accent). 'You're not from here, are you?'
When I explain that I've lived here for five years but I'm from Canada, they usually nod. 'Ah, yes. Sometimes you need a foreigner to introduce you to your own city.'
While I'm not saying I know London better than someone who's lived here their whole life, in a way, I have to agree. We take for granted what we know best, and we don't have the same curiousity and urge to explore as someone who's new to town. Even though I have been here for awhile now, I still love walking down the street of gleaming white terraces, the strange cadence of the siren blaring by. Something as simple as an iron lamp-post or the gold-lettered sign on the pub will remind me that I'm in a different world than the one I left behind. I always go to end of the alley to see if something cool is around the corner -- whereas in my hometown I always chose the fastest route possible.
From the rubbish bins to the church steeples, London still holds that foreign appeal to me. And I hope that never changes.