Well hello there lovelies, what I am going to say next is still something I can’t quite wrap my head around. Today is my 2 year anniversary in London. On this day, two years ago I arrived at Gatwick Airport ready to start my 7 month internship the next Monday. Flash forward two years later and I am still here…
It was a rough start
Anxious and alone with just the tiniest bit of excitement I arrived in London and found out that my luggage was left behind in Amsterdam. Great, I thought, but I decided not to make a big deal out of it. I had two more days until the start of my internship and was confident my suitcase would arrive before then. I hopped on the train to Clapham Junction and upon arrival I was greeted by my landlady at the time. She informed me that the only bathroom in the house was completely under construction so we were unable to use it for the time being (this lasted about a month and a half). Something she didn’t want to worry me about over the phone…
Still, I decided to remain positive and phoned the only person I knew in the city at the time to see if I could have showers at hers. I took a quick trip to Primark on Oxford Street to get some essentials like underwear, pyjamas and a change of clothes for the next day. It soon hit me that I was in London and this was going to be my home for the next couple of months. However, that excitement quickly faded when I was informed my suitcase would not be with me until the following Tuesday evening.
Those first weeks in London where some of the most anxious weeks of my life. Although I had lived abroad before in Spain, this time I had to get used to a professional environment in a 9-5 job whilst also finishing my dissertation. As an only child I would have never thought this was something I could feel but I have never felt more alone than when I first moved to London. I knew only one person and struggled to make more friends. As an introvert, breaking the London barrier wasn’t any easier but eventually I did it.
The second year was the hardest
After I met some friends and started having a social life, the weight of trying to make it all work out fell off my shoulders. I finally started enjoying my time in London and realised that all the sacrifices were worth it. It was all temporary after all, until one day I was offered a job and I slowly started to realise that I might never go back. There is this life I miss at home, and a new life that I worked hard to create in London. Letting go of one while accepting the other is something so difficult I am struggling to explain to you the pain that I have felt this last year.
You are going through a constant cycle of doubt. “Maybe I should stop feeling selfish, maybe I should just pack my things and go back home or maybe I should listen to what I really want… but what do I want?”. Every little step you take suddenly builds up to this foundation that you unconsciously can’t let go off. At the same time the longing of something familiar and warm becomes almost unbearable and you don’t know how to make it stop or which feeling to give in to.
For me personally, this secon year in London was the year I realised I am most likely not leaving. That brought 1001 questions with it from me, friends and family that I don’t know the answers to. It was a year filled with pleasure and pain, a constant rollercoaster of conflicting emotions. This third year I want to find a balance, in order to make a house a home you need to ground yourself. That means that my life in London can’t be filled with constant fun or work but that I also have allow myself time to be still.
On to the next chapter…
What this third year has in store for me is still unknown. I have learned to look after myself a bit better and not to get sucked in by the London madness. Sometimes it is good to be still in a city that never seems to stop moving. One thing I do know for certain is that this year I want to go out and explore the world again. London can be quite addictive and FOMO is not easy to let go of. Last year, I would have said I’d rather be in London than anywhere else and although that is still true to some extend I also want to travel to new places and fall in love with a city all over again.
Sharing my experience
Moving abroad takes determination and self knowledge and even when you move to the city of your dreams it is not going to be easy. But if I can do it so can you. Now that I have lived abroad for two years, I feel like I am in a good place to ‘share my expertise’ on the subject in case some of you are looking to move abroad as well. I want to tap into the different stages of living abroad, things you need to take into consideration before going and whilst you are there, how to make friends, find jobs etc. If you’ve got burning questions or are just curious please send me some in the comments below or on socials!
Lots of love,