Writer's Note: I wrote this the first week I was in London. It's just bits and pieces of my first 7 days - nothing major but I've decided to share it anyway.
Day 1: 17 March 2018
I'm in London. Not only in London, but I now LIVE in London! What?!
I'm a mixture of emotions; sad to have left my wonderful friends and family behind and a bit scared because I don't have any idea how this will turn out. But on the other side of that fear is an unlimited world of possibilities that leads to a sort of bubbly excitement that I haven't felt in awhile. Everything feels really surreal (part of which may just be jet lag), and I can't wait to get settled into my temporary housing and then get out into the city.
Day 2: 18 March 2018
It's snowing here...it's not supposed to snow in London! I managed to make it up to Islington to a vintage flea market and then popped in and out of shops and boutiques as I walked down Upper Street from Islington to Angel. My Dad and I made the same walk when we visited in November 2017 and my dream of living in London was just a budding possibility; today I was able to make the same walk on my own as a London resident and I am humbled for that dream having come true.
I walked in and out of a handful of pubs and coffee shops before I realized that I wasn't picking one because I felt uncomfortable sitting alone in a crowded room. Once I realized that I knew I had to get over it, so I went to the closest coffee shop to my temporary housing. It's called Fuckoffee; an eclectic coffee shop with retro couches, picnic tables and benches, and an assortment of coffees and pastries. I read for a bit and then moved to a couch, where I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. Turns out she's a Senior Manager at EY, is from California, and has been living abroad for the last 15 years. It seems impossible that the first person I strike up a conversation with would work for the same company and once made the same leap I did to leave the States - and yet it happened.
I guess the right people do get placed in your life at the right time.
Days 3 to 5: 19 - 21 March 2018
Flat hunting is a pain in the a$$. Unsurprisingly, I started out my first set of viewings with vigor and excitement, which eventually turned into tiredness and defeat when I couldn't find what I was looking for.
My first mistake was in assuming that I knew what area of the city I wanted to live in before I even moved here. I'd decided that West London was the place for me, so I pre-scheduled four viewings with four separate rental agencies and we looked at flats in areas like Pimlico, South Kensington, Kensington, and Notting Hill. Only one flat had the charm and appeal I was looking for, but it was expensive and turned out to be in an area that doesn't really have much going for it after the work day ends. The rest were fine, but for some reason the areas just weren't doing it for me.
The second was that I think I'd realised West London wasn't the place for me after the first day of viewings, but I kept the rest of my viewings anyway "just in case" I stumbled upon something truly wonderful.
Now it's the end of day three of flat hunting and I'm tired and a bit tweaked because I have to pick new areas in the city to view flats, but before I can even do that I have to spend more hours scouring the internet for flats that I think I'd like. Which is tiring in and of itself!
Day 6: 22 March 2018
I decided I've earned a break from flat hunting so I spent the day exploring the city. I'm about to head out to grab dinner with Pirkko - she's my Uncle's best friend from when he went to Uni at City University here in London, and almost like an unbiological aunt, if you will. We're getting dinner and then most likely grabbing drinks after which should be quite fun!
Day 7: 23 March 2018
What a night. Dinner was delicious, and we popped over to a local pub for more drinks after. Got into some interesting conversations and I slept in later today than I have in awhile. Oops! Tonight I'm going to a Ping Pong bar (yes, those exist here, and they're actually pretty cool) with a group of fellow expats that I met through two people I went on a blind friend date with when I was here in December, Chris and Emily.
It's been a week since I flew out of Newark with my one-way ticket. It seems like I just got here (which I did) but the past week has been so jam packed that it also feels like I've been here for awhile already.
I can't wait to see how the next few weeks turn out.