Canada visit

For the first time in 8 months, I’m on Canadian soil, visiting my family for about 2 weeks.

During this visit, it’s been especially hard as I’ve seen the deterioration of a lot of familiar things. The family dogs aren’t looking as young as before (one of them is very noticeably going blind), green spaces are becoming stores, and friends are having to deal with real, substantial (dare I say, grown-up) issues.

So it was barely a surprise when I woke up this morning from a dream that I’d moved to Thailand (however, I was surprised to come out of a daze and realize I’d wasted 2 hours googling ways to move to Thailand). Dreams of moving have always been an escape for me. Obviously, it became a reality when I actually made the move to London last July and found that moving doesn’t really let you escape anything.

That said, I don’t regret my move and the UK is a place I’d like to live in for the foreseeable future.

The writer side of me is struggling with a way to wrap up this post. There’s no real way to conclude this. So I guess this is just it.

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No one is judging you

I used to be the type of person who could do anything on their own.

I went on trips alone. I went out to eat and to movies alone. I moved to a different country on my own.

It was something I really liked about myself. I enjoyed my own company so much that some friends back home (playfully) made fun of me when I questioned why one of them didn’t just go to the beach by themselves, if that’s what they wanted to do.

But lately, either through laziness or because I’m being too self conscious, I’ve hesitated to go out and do things by myself. Even something as simple as going out for a walk on my own becomes something I need to convince myself to do.

When I break it down and think about it logically, I’m not sure why I’ve started feeling like this. Even if I run into someone I know (which is very unlikely in London, a city of over 8 million people) what would I have to be ashamed of?

Furthermore, I wouldn’t think twice if I saw someone I knew out and about in the city by themselves.

This is when it occurred to me that this self consciousness comes from a place of pure narcissism. Not only is no one judging me but it’s unlikely that most people even think twice about me or who I’m with (or not with, as it may be) but I’d even be willing to bet that most people are so concerned with their own lives, they’re busy concerning themselves with things they think I might be judging them for.

I need to go back to doing things by myself, for myself and not thinking of what other people think of me. There’s so much I’d like to do and see in London alone (never mind all the other traveling I’d like to do) that letting something so irrational hold me back is ridiculous. I’m going to go back to doing things just for me.

 

(Ps, happy, Niq?)

Ch-ch-ch-changes

This weekend I had a very impromptu move to a different flat (I found one I really liked and the room was empty so since I really disliked my old place, the decision to move and actual move was done in less than a week).

Not only is the flat better (bigger, less, flatmates, double bed, etc) but the area I’ve moved to is much nicer as well. When I went for a run around my new neighbourhood on Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but realize the parallels between this area and Centretown, my old area in Ottawa.

This has both helped and increased my recent intense homesickness. Helped because it’s nice to see things that seem familiar (that good ol’ hipster vibe) but also reminds me that I’m not going home for Christmas (for the first time in my life…) and am not sure when I’ll see family and friends from back home again. Dr. Google suggests things like having Skype calls with friends from back home but while it’s great at the time, I tend to feel more miserable afterwards.

I’ve recently made making friends (and getting closer with existing friends here) a priority, which is great when it works out (aside from moving, I spent all of last weekend with friends doing some awesome London things) but one of the big problems with London is that because it’s so big, it’s difficult to get friends together for something last minute and casual.

Anyways, as this all feels kind of negative and I’m supposed to be on the Positivity Challenge, I’ll try to end this with some good things:

  • I am really into hot, alcoholic beverages
  • My have a double bed in my new flat (I know, I already mentioned this, but it’s pretty great)
  • I might get a pet fish (this feels more neutral than positive, but there it is)
  • My new flat is literal blocks from a friend I made here (though he’s back in Canada for 6 weeks soon)
  • Tomorrow I will make cookies

Homesickness Level: Maximum

I knew this would happen when I moved here.

I knew I would have bouts of homesickness with some being much, much worse than others.

I knew there would be days when it would be hard to hold back crying and I would be ready to book myself on the next flight home.

And yet here I am, still surprised that I’m this homesick, almost 4 months in.

It started last week. I had a really good weekend but unfortunately, that meant I “dropped” pretty hard during the week and got pretty bummed out. Things felt really bleak but I was able to rationalize that it was a drop and remembered my excited for my impending trip to Germany (this past weekend).

I went to visit a friend in Stuttgart, where she’s living right now. She and I keep in touch almost constantly (thank god for whatsapp) but there’s no substitute for an in-person interaction. My first night we stayed up until 3am just talking and eating cookies (amazing German cookies). It was a wonderful but too-short weekend and Sunday night I was back in London.

On my way into the city is really hit me how few very close friends I have there. I know it takes time to build the kinds of friendships that I spent years cultivating in Canada but I’m impatient and crave that kind of friendly intimacy. As a result the past 28-ish hours have seen extreme levels of homesickness and yearning to move back to Canada.

I’ve been keeping a calendar of how I feel and generally November has been a good month but we’ll see what December brings. However, I refuse to completely give up yet so I’m hoping to realign my priorities (again) and add a thing to the list I made before (suggestion courtesy of the friend in Germany): I need to start saying yes to more things. I’ve been invited out a few times and have said because [insert excuse here]. Even if whatever it is ends up being terrible, I only have to stay an hour or so and then I’ll leave.

In the meantime, looking for tips that can help me get out of this homesick slump before I get so upset I start missing things like snow and Walmart. John, if you’re still reading, this might be mostly aimed at you.

My plan is in action!

So things have started to change a little bit (hopefully for the better) in the past few weeks:

  • I’ve accepted a job in a completely different field from what I’m used to. I start tomorrow and am really excited to be doing something different and adding to my skill set.
  • I’ve started volunteering (specifically, at a music hall around the corner) both as a way to get out and do things and as a great way to make friends (I have very few people I would call “friend” here and it gets fairly lonely sometimes).
  • I’m attending more meet ups from meet-up.com (highly recommended, no matter where you are or how many people you know) again, as a way to meet more people and make friends.
  • I signed up for yoga classes. I used to do yoga back home and I found it was a great way to balance out the running.
  • I am reading more books. I forgot how much I love reading and it’s great to go out and enjoy London weather (when it’s nice) or as an excuse to find a nice cafe to hang out in (when it’s not so nice).
  • I’ve loosely started looking for a new flat. As much as I don’t mind this one, I’m not crazy about it and a lot of people live here, meaning it’s often loud and messy.

I also recently found out that I may be eligible for an EU passport since my grandparents has Polish citizenship. I’ve started looking into it and it would be a great option to have.

Wish me luck! Hopefully this will help kick start things a little more and make me happier in London. This bout of homesickness needs to end and I’m glad to finally be doing something about it.

Homesick

Hey All.

So I realize my updates are getting fewer and further between. As usual, I have an excuse.

I’ve been ridiculously homesick lately. The kind of homesick I thought would hit me when I first moved here. It took awhile but the last 2-ish weeks have been brutal. Lots of crying. Lots of mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed (and some weekend mornings where I didn’t). Lots of Skype calls and Whatsapp-ing to friends and family back home.

Last week (on September 30th) I hit my 2 month mark of living in London (my bare minimum when I moved here). Things had aligned where, if I wanted to, moving home would have been a really easy decision.

But for whatever reason, I didn’t.

I’ve decided to try and persevere. I’m looking for ways to make myself happier in London (yes, I made a list). Some of them are going to take a little more time and some are more immediate, but it’s happening.

I’m going to be here for a few more months so I might as well get comfortable. A plan is in place and hopefully that means new adventures and a little more blogging from me!

Ps, I know I’m being vague around what my plan is, but a lovely part of it involves visiting more cities outside of London. I recently spent an incredible weekend alone in Stratford-Upon-Avon and it reminded me I need to get out of the city more. So, that.

A view of the quaint Stratford-Upon-Avon

A view of the quaint Stratford-Upon-Avon

It’s been awhile

Sorry to the 3 loyal readers I have for my lack of updating as of late. Hopefully you haven’t completely abandoned me yet.

A lot has changed since my last post. I’m (thankfully) still living in London. I ended up accepting a different job at a small start-up and I’m really liking it so far. I work hard but the people I work with are pretty great. They’re extremely welcoming and anxious to be friends.

I also moved into my own room in a flat. It’s a very (very!!) small room but it’s cheap and it’s helping me re-coup the costs of the expensive move to London. I have about 7-8 flatmates and they’re generally friendly and listen when I ask them to quiet down after getting a little loud. They also leave the kitchen a little messy sometimes but, really, it’s a small price to pay to walk to work in the greatest city in the world.

I’ve found it extremely easy to make friends here. I’ve been going to meet-ups and even made some friends just by walking past some people on the street (one of them has a friend who lives in my hometown in Canada, small world). In a city so big with so many transient people, I think a lot of people are anxious to make real friends to anchor them down.

So all-in-all, except for the occasional homesickness, it’s actually been an easy move. Sometimes I think it was too easy and I cheated myself out of the “real” experience of moving countries, since it’s been so easy for me. I’d like to test myself by doing some traveling in non-English speaking countries just to see how I handle it, probably starting with Germany.

1 week in London

I’ve officially been living in London a week!
It’s been a crazy week and I have to keep reminding myself how much I’ve accomplished in only a week but it’s difficult because I want it all to fall into place now.
I’ve gotten a cell phone and bank account set up, applied for my NIN (like a National Insurance Number, for my Canadian friends), applied for jobs (and have a job offer as content manager for a small start up site), and have looked at flats.
The only piece which hasn’t fallen into place is finding a room which is becoming a point of frustration for me. I feel that of the people I contact, only about half of them get back to me and I only end up seeing about half of those. I’m sure I’ll find a place eventually but I’m currently sleeping on my friends’ couch and I’d rather not impose for any longer than I need to.

Anyways, I’m anxious to find a flat so that I can figure out my route to and from work, figure out where I can go running everyday, and start looking into places to volunteer. I also want to start planning visits to a friend in Germany and other places around Europe.
I might need to learn to stop being so hard on myself and be proud of what I have done in such a short period of time instead of dwelling on what still needs to be done.

Today!!!!

Apologies to the 3 people who read my blog (that feels like wishful thinking…) about the lack of updates.

Tonight I catch my flight to London and I’ll arrive around noon (their time) tomorrow to start living/working/being/whatever there.

The mix of emotions I’m feeling right now is really indescribable.

See you on the other side of the pond.

2 weeks

I’ve been a little slow on updating but I’ve been dealing with a lot of last minute preparations and my little brother had an accident and was in the hospital for just over a week, so my priorities shifted a little.

Anyways, I have exactly 2 weeks today until my flight to London. My days are rapidly filling up with seeing friends, running errands, looking for jobs and flats overseas, and trying to work up the courage to start packing.

All of these preparations are causing me to stress and feel unnatural levels of anxiety. Unfortunately, as a result, I’ve been a little snappy to people who don’t deserve it. It’s been a humbling process to go back and apologize to everyone once the stress passes.

However, in all of this, I still feel that what I’m doing is the right decision. I’ve always wanted to live overseas and this will give me the chance to do that and travel around Europe a bit. It’s nice to know that I have the support I need and can come back anytime if I find it isn’t working out. Even if the UK doesn’t work out, it’ll give me the courage to try living in different Canadian cities when I come back.