“Everyone must belong somewhere.
I know that now, that’s why I’m staying here.”
Almost two years ago I sold pretty much everything I owned and left the country I grew up in to be with the city I had been in love with all my life. London. I did this on my own and without knowing anyone in this big, multifaceted city that has been my home ever since. I’ve decided to leave the boring bit out; all the planning, studying and hassle with various loan companies and government agencies that it took for me to be able to move. And then all the practicalities I had to sort out once here. No, boring. Although it should be said that I didn’t move on a whim. It required a huge amount of hard work.
The day finally came when I packed my two huge suitcases with the few things I had decided to keep, clothes and books mainly, and off I went for a well needed change of scenery. I left my friends, family, and cat behind for the country where I really feel at home. Leaving my cat was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It felt like someone literally tore my heart out of my chest. But I’d had it with the country I grew up in. I’d had it with being unemployed for years and years there. I’d had it with not having anything to do, feeling like my life was standing still. The pace wasn’t fast enough for me. I was no longer able to grow, develop, and expand my person any further there. I was horrifically bored.
My first days in London felt extremely surreal and it took a couple of weeks for that feeling to wear off. Within three weeks of moving I found myself in a club having a chat with the singer of my favourite contemporary band. Talk about surreal!
How could a place feel so unfamiliar and yet so like home at the same time? I had never felt such happiness before. I had done the ultimate move on! I was on my own and I felt a nano twinge of sadness because I didn’t have anyone to share it with but the joy itself was that I was on my own. In the city that I love. I just wanted someone I loved to feel the same excitement and bliss as I did and still do. It was as if I had hit restart and I had to start from scratch again. I had nothing, well not much, anymore. Which in turn made me feel insignificant. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a beautiful thing. Absolutely wonderful. And there was so much to see, so much to do, so many new people to meet.
As soon as I decided to move here, I also decided never to move back to the country I grew up in. Ever. And this decision was reinforced by those first hazy, gorgeous weeks. I still occasionally get the butterflies in my stomach that I had constantly during my first months here.One of the many aspects to being on your own in a new country is language. I’ve always had an intense love for the English language and I now feel more comfortable speaking English than my mother tongue. Before I moved I’d figured that I’d take an 8 week IELTS preparation course to further develop my linguistic skills and then take an IELTS exam in academic English in case I wanted to study. That would give me something to do while looking for a job and a flat. The course was the only thing that I could rely on after my move and everything after that was up to me to sort out.
I looked forward to meeting new people and making new friends. So I made a conscious effort to meet new people. I was so excited about creating my new life and many people passed through my life at that time. I met people from all over the world and I’m utterly thankful for how it broadened my view on people and different cultures. I am definitely more of a people person from it. Still an introvert though, you can’t do anything about that. But I do see the world with an open mind.
My first year in London was a whirlwind. I lived in multiple parts of London with people from all over the world, I went to loads of music gigs and comedy shows and art exhibitions, I got a job two days after my exam (and have since had two more jobs), I tried cuisines from all over the world, I sold pretty much everything I owned again, I got paid for being a hair model, I made friends with people with widely different aspirations, I met musicians and actors and comedy geniuses who I admire. Luck is just preparation and opportunity coming together, you know. Talk to people, you never know beforehand who is going to teach you something valuable or become an integral part of your life.
I haven’t suffered too badly from the dreaded and unfortunately quite common psychological difficulties of moving to a new country; such as home-sickness, depression, stress and loneliness. That’s for one reason and one reason only; I hadn’t felt at home anywhere until I came to London the first time. I feel in place in this city, in this country, in this culture. It’s difficult to describe what it feels like having grown up in the wrong country speaking the wrong language and finally coming home to the country that has always owned your heart. I grew up in an Anglophile family and I think they together with my old friends honestly consider me to be home now, in my true element. Even though I hope they miss me terribly, as I miss them!Moving to London is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done. It is also the single one thing that has changed and matured me the most. When you have done what I’ve done, you won’t be scared of much ever again. Being brave does not mean being fearless, it means that you do something despite of being scared.
I left everything I knew to start a new life in a new country on my own, and I have no regrets.