It’s the 2nd of October, which is an important day that no one knows about: it’s my Londonniversary!
Yes, one year ago today, I packed a case that was far too heavy for me, struggled on and off four trains and undergrounds, only to get spectacularly lost five minutes from the place I was going to be staying. It was a questionable start.
I knew one fact: I had four months to find a job before I would have to admit defeat – or at least return home, save more money and try again. Twelve months on, I’m still here! So how is life in London?
How it all began
I decided to move to London over the course of one hour. If anything in my life has been ‘meant to be’ it was the events of that day: I got two offers of work experience, decided to make the move, and discovered there was a space in a house share with two old friends available the day before I started my first internship. I handed in my notice the next day.
Moving in there was a godsend. One of the girls has since moved in with her man, but the other is basically my other half – I know this year would have been so much more difficult, and a lot less fun, without her.
The first internship flew in. Highlights included ‘work’ that was essentially arts and crafts, and a visit from Kevin Bridges. The second internship was even better, and cemented the area of publishing I wanted to work in. Then…
I got my dream job. The company is wonderful, I get to travel for work, and I actually use my degrees. (What?!) Don’t get me wrong, there are days when it’s a little dull or alternatively incredibly stressful, but I genuinely still have moments in the day, even after ten months, when I cannot believe my luck to work there.
Things that happened
I caught up with another couple of people, introduced them to my housemate, and they got along so well. My friends tend to come in threes, so it is lovely to be part of a new fab four when I had to leave the others at home!
I have been to see Billy Elliot (twice), Memphis (twice), The Book of Mormon, Les Misérables, Wicked, Matilda, Mamma Mia and Avenue Q. (Yes, this is where my money goes. When I’m not drinking it or, you know, paying rent.)
What I learned
I have possibly developed slight rage issues. My blood pressure rises at least once on the way to work every day. I could write a whole post about simply getting from A to B in London, and I probably will, so I’ll stop now. Although…
It is acceptable – no, accepted, that grown men in suits will ride scooters on the pavement on their way to work.
There are companies that can compete with ScotRail in the award for most incompetent train service.
I would love to live somewhere I could see my family more often. I’ve realised that not everyone has the kind of relationship with their family that I do, and I don’t take it for granted.
My life is no longer like those of my oldest friends. Two of my friends now own their own home; I can barely dream of owning a shed in this city. All of them have a significant other they’ve been with for at least two years. Sometimes I get really jealous. And yet a few of them have told me they get a bit jealous of my life here. The grass is always greener…
I need to learn how to communicate when dating or in relationships as I would with my friends, instead of giving up so easily. Moving here, I quickly met someone to be crazy about; it fell to bits even quicker. I hate how I handled things, and if I could do things differently then I would, but I’ll just have to learn from it. Speaking of…
I dated someone twelve years my senior, and found I could have a connection with someone unexpected. Being open-minded about dating helps you learn what you’re looking for – or otherwise; in this case, someone who wants kids in the next couple of years, when I’m not sure I ever want them, was not the best plan…
Time goes really fast here. This has been the quickest year of my life, but it has also been one of the fullest.
What has changed
I can now carry out a mail merge without using the wizard on Word. Such skills.
I walk about twice as fast as I used to.
I joined a gym! It’s hard to understand how big a change this is if you don’t know me; my friends couldn’t have been more shocked if I’d announced I was engaged to Prince Harry.
The healthy eating habits of my colleagues have been a good influence: I ate spinach salad for lunch four days this week (followed by a chocolate course, but still). It was definitely about time in my life to make some changes, so I’m pleased with this.
I have a sense of security that came with getting my job; not the financial side of it, but the mixture of relief and contentedness that you get after the achievement of a massive goal.
Before I moved to London, I always said I loved it. The few trips I’d made here before were centred around shows and concerts, and it was always a brilliant time. There was the opportunity to do so much, and moving here put it all within reach. And I do love that.
However, when you bring the reality of daily life into something, it always becomes a little less shiny. I don’t love London. The lifestyle suits me well just now – Edinburgh had been beginning to feel so small and safe, and everyone was settling into their lives around me, and for months before I moved here I was so ready for my life to ‘start’. Home is where the heart is, but it couldn’t offer me what I wanted, or needed, at that time.
I’m not sure if London will ever feel like home. The social side is exciting, and I don’t think I’ll ever find another job like mine, but I’m not sure if fifteen years down the line it will be enough. Nevertheless, I spent so long looking to the future and going after a career that I am happy to just enjoy all this for a while.
No need to look too far ahead just now – it’s only year two, after all!