Livin’ the dream
So I found my dream flat (despite the fact our shower was broken and we had to have baths every day for a month or two, and then when we got it got fixed it gave us electric shocks if we touched the metal bits, but still it was our dream flat!) I was living with great ladies, close to The City, close to transport, only a 20 minute journey to work when some of my poor work mates would have an hour and a half commute. I was very lucky! Oh and there was the weird smells that would waft up from the streets (Laurel you know what I’m talking about!) and the police cars coming along to domestics, and random screaming every now and then but hey that’s London!
I LOVED London! I loved it so much. But it was ONLY because I was able to meet people and make friends quickly that I settled in to London life so well. That was mainly because of Britbound. The fantastic company that helps people move to the UK; sorting out bank accounts, national insurance numbers and SIM cards etc. It was mostly people from New Zealand, Australia, Canada or Europe on their working holiday visa.
Your liver takes a beating
They had all sorts of social events (i.e. gathering around a pint) throughout the week, which I went to nearly every bloody one. I went through most of my savings in the first 5 weeks! Ha! (Yeah I laugh now, but it wasn’t funny at the time when I had to get a job quick smart to pay the rent!) But I was having the time of my life. To meet others that were in exactly the same boat as me, completely vulnerable and looking for others to let us know we haven’t made a huge mistake leaving behind everything secure in our lives.
There’s a strange feeling you get when you’ve settled into your new place. You start to feel at home. You’ve got new friends, you’re out nearly every night of the week doing exciting things like going to musicals, rooftop bars, picnics in the park, Soho, and you’re no longer anxiously looking at every stop on the tube map hoping you haven’t gone the wrong way because it now seems like second nature. It’s strange because you realise you now feel at home on the other side of the world. Literally on the other side of the world from all I’ve ever known – my friends, family and home for the last 26 years.
Opened my mind, opened my life
I’m glad I got to meet so many different people and experiences. From the amazing bunch of Kiwis and Aussies at my first job at Momenta, to being the only kiwi on the good ol’ Iris Helpdesk at PwC, to my Canadian and English flat-mates. I loved experiencing something different from the typical west or south London that a lot of Kiwis go to. One New Zealand girl I stayed with in the first few weeks said to me, “oh you’ve got to move out west, you’ve gotta live with other Kiwis or Aussies, because they’re the same as you. And that’s what you need over here”. Thank goodness I didn’t listen to her, otherwise I wouldn’t have lived with Laurel or Aimee! And why would I want something exactly the same as what I’d come from?
A whole new world
London was where I transformed. Think caterpillar to butterfly transformation. Changing from the shy, insecure Jennie from back home, to outgoing, excited to meet new people, lovin’ life Jen! Ha, it sounds crazy but I grew into an entirely new person. I developed resilience and learnt to trust that things would work out for me. Like when a temp role would suddenly come to an end. I became outgoing and bubbly around new people because I realised they were just as scared as I was and needed new friends and people to accept them. I met my first proper boyfriend EVER, David. (Hi babycakes!) I was more confident and happy in myself than I’d ever been and it all fell into place perfectly.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end. I’ve always hated that saying. I didn’t want this great thing to come to an end. I wanted to stay for many more years. In my incredible new home and life I’d made for myself. But alas I could not…
Part 3 coming soon – Wrapping it up with how I had to accept I couldn’t stay. Saying goodbye to my friends, my boyfriend, and the city that made me.