The question on everyones lips and fingertips is “how are you doing?”. It sounds like a simple enough question. One that doesn’t take much thought or provoke calamity in the brain. But I’ve never been a fibber, and I can’t just sum it up with “good thanks, and yourself?”. Conversing every emotion of how I feel and how I’m doing makes me squirm and stress. Even thinking about it makes my peach fuzz perspire. However, over due course, I’ve got a grip on my head and heart, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, I think we’re finally ready to answer your question.
Just over three and half months have passed since I arrived in London. In that time, I’ve caught over one hundred tubes, broken two umbrellas, attended seven house/flat viewings, sweated my way through six job interviews and fully sobbed ONLY four times. Between NIN appointments, opening bank accounts and looking up recipes for one, I have managed to find myself a house for the year and a job for the next eighteen months. Yeah, pinch me cause I can’t believe it either!I live in a two story home near Hampstead Heath with a dysfunctional and interracial family of six. There’s the hilarious Argentinian who’s taken the role of my temporary overseas father, a Hungarian/British finance frat boy who inhales pizza more than air, a lovely jubbly New Zealand couple I mercilessly third wheel and who calls thongs ‘jandals’, and lastly, a British/Russian architect and aspirational TED talker who recently moved out (RIP, we’ll miss you). It’s a lot. Sometimes it’s very loud. But take one person out, and it’ll feel like you just dug a lonely gaping hole.
By the grace of good luck and possibly my employable skills and time consuming resume, I managed to land a job as the Writer of British fashion brand, Jigsaw. A dream in itself, I remember crying and jumping on the couch for a solid one minute and forty-three seconds after I got the call. Working in a beautiful heritage building near the botanical gardens, I’m surrounded by designers cutting fabrics, models getting fitted and photographers working in studios. It’s damn funky.
We have personal chefs that cook for us and a free gym with a free personal trainer too! I’m spoilt rotten. My job covers the blog, the emails, bits and bobs of copy and the cool product descriptions you read when you max out your credit card online shopping. I work with the loveliest people and the brightest minds. I really like my job.
It may seem weird hearing then that on my first day, I got back home, had a panic attack, ran a bath and cried on the phone to my mum for one hour. No quantity of chef meals or polite smiles could combat the feeling of being overwhelmed and out of place. Being the new girl who ate a mouse and couldn’t work an excel spreadsheet sucked ass. It’s difficult navigating where you sit, what you’re meant to do, how to make friends and be yourself all at once. Eventually I inhabited Einstein’s intellect and put two and two together and realised that the answer was patience, confidence and hard work. Each week I talk a little louder, refer less to my handover notes and become more-well acquainted with my responsibilities and colleagues.
In terms of homelife, I have turned into a human arboretum, collecting plants like a crazy lady. I have been acing the cooking game, which you would constantly see on my irritable Instagram stories – and I only burnt the pan to a crisp once! I officially don’t have to use my Citymapper app to navigate myself into the city, and I know my bus route off by heart. I’ve been a real life top hat, dicing around the monopoly board and gawking at the street signs of places I used to put hotels on.
I am still trying to establish my social circle, and meet new people and try new things. I sometimes dwell on the negatives, or exhaust myself by fretting over the bigger purpose and plan. It’s not all peachy. Occasionally I have to call pest control to rid me of a savage bug that gives me homesickness, but a prescribed FaceTime call home usually nips it in the but.
Although it may only be three months, something feels different. I feel different. Once you breathe that polluted London air and set your feet on the ground, completely and solely on your own; when you truly stand by yourself, it feels like life as you know it will never be the same. So you think ahead, move forward and try not to look back too much.