All eyes will be on the Olympic stadium in London tomorrow night for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics and the beginning of what promises to be the best thing that’s happened to the city of London for years…(unless you’re a die-hard Royalist who wept during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations last month.)
It’s a real treat to see so much focus on my hometown. And even more of a delight to see morning show host Matt Lauer (the US equivalent to Philip Schofield) reporting live from a sunny Tower Bridge.
Of course not a minute goes by without me screaming ‘I should be there!’ at the TV screen.
Hundreds of reporters, journalists, bloggers and tourists are currently soaking up the sights, smells and sounds that I miss on a daily basis.
At this very minute Olympic fans are shopping at Westfield Stratford City, which is the largest shopping mall in Europe and a 10 minute ride from my house.
Visitors from all over the world are taking pictures on the same streets I grew up in.
I can only manage one trip back home a year (if I’m lucky!) and I opted for a Christmas visit this time. But it was a hard choice.
Visit the UK during a time of immense national pride, witness my old neighbourhood all spruced up and ride the wave of excitement that’s gripping the city right now or spend a real family Christmas back home?
If I could have made both trips, I would.
For a British expat in the US it’s hard not to see the images of the Tower of London and red double decker buses and feel a tinge of regret that maybe this is the one time I should be back home.
Of course if I was I’d be complaining with the rest of them. Too much traffic, chaos on the tube, inflated prices and ridiculous fines for getting caught driving in the special ‘Olympic' lanes.
But deep down I know the whole country is proud that the world is celebrating all that’s great about London.
This time last year it was a different story. An uneasy tension was brewing, accumulating in the devastating London riots.
Let’s hope the anniversary of that tragedy next month is overshadowed by some great Olympic moments and a few gold medals for Team GB!