London, you can be a cold, grey bitch sometimes but damn, I am so in love with you it hurts. Before moving to your crowded streets almost two years ago, I had never set foot in the United Kingdom; to be honest, I didn’t even know Scotland wasn’t it’s own country. My ideas of London included: Monarchy, Big Ben, rain, and accents. But London, you are so, so much more.
I’m coming up to my two-year mark in the Big Smoke and it’s been a whirlwind. The highs have been high, and the lows have been low, but as they say, a bad day in London is still better than a bad day anywhere else. And I wholeheartedly agree.
Since arriving on UK soil August 28, 2015 I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience all that I have. Not just in travel, but I’ve met some incredible lifelong friends, I found an [almost] all-Canadian house with the best supportive women around, I got a great job that I love, pays well, is flexible and allows my travel addiction to flourish, I live in a great location which is walking distance to work, I’ve visited some pretty cool things and places and above all, I’m happy. Really, truly happy.
Since leaving home, I’ve been to 25 countries, and on occasion, escaped the city walls and explored the UK. I’ve learned how to convert money from all sorts of currencies, how to say good morning in Russian (доброе утро/dobroye utro), how to indulge on foreign cuisine, how to be poor, how to live independently on my own, how to perfectly time arriving at airports, how to budget my pay to last an entire month, and how to pick out different accents. I could never have pictured the opportunities I’ve had here, and none of it would have been possible if I didn’t take the plunge.
I’m so proud of myself for following my heart. Home no longer is one place, home is every place I’ve seen, every breath of air I’ve taken, every photo captured, every carb-induced cuisine consumed, every [botched] attempt at a new language, every sip of craft brew, and every warm smile received. Home is where the heart is, like the Grinch, my heart has grown 10 sizes with bits of it falling off all over the world. Does this sound pretentious? Probably, but it’s true.
Living abroad has taught me passion for the undiscovered, patience for the unknown and a lust for life I thought I’d lost. I feel excitement again.
Two years in London has prepared me for a lifetime of adventures. If I can live, and survive, in one of the world’s most expensive countries and cities, than I can do anything. These next few years promises even more; more passport stamps, more laughs and more tears.
Here’s to the rest of my life, now I’m living.
- UK Work Visa: A How-to for Canadians
- The Worst Part of Being an Expat
- 3 Year Londonversary
- London for the Wannabe Local
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