The rain battered against the window on that disappointingly bleak June afternoon as I shoved the last of my worldly possessions into an already overflowing box. Sunday 12th June 2016- the day I left London.
Its hard to fathom exactly where the last 2 years of my life have gone. Now as I write, the slides of memories all merge together in a blob of happiness. Admittedly though, I can’t say there hasn’t been hard times. I’ve been prone to the odd meltdown or two. Lots of tears, lots of stress. Unemployment. Accommodation issues. Moving 6 times. I won’t bore you with the rest but I can wholeheartedly say I stand today as a much stronger individual so that can’t be a bad thing.
London. London is a buzz, a hype of activity. It’s fast. It’s suffocating. It’s exhausting. It pushes you. It beats you. It teaches you. It’s the type of place you need to experience yourself. The city itself is amazing with lots to offer and ample opportunities. However, what I hold higher than any of that is the astounding people that decended into my life, swiftly snapping me out of my small town mentality with a bang. It’s extremely cliché, but it’s true what they say- the people really do make the place.
One less desirable aspect of my London experience would have to be the great commute. Three whole hours of your day completely and utterly swallowed by the vacumous hole of public transport. What better way to start the day than being millimetres away from an armpit. Or perhaps by giving up your seat to the pregnant woman because the 9 snotty businessmen are far too consumed with their Evening Standard to take notice. Or maybe enduring the unecessarily loud, mind melting music emitting from that guy’s headphones. Or just the general pushing and shoving of those of us with a certain height disadvantage. Yes, the commute isn’t for the fainthearted. You have to be prepared to use your elbows.
The diversity found in London is unlike any other. Well, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced as a small town Scot. I truly loved that. Being surrounded by so many languages and cultures was certainly eye opening. When I strolled by shops and markets or ventured through parks I would always hear different languages and being incredibly nosey (or what I prefer to call inquisitive), I’d let my imagination wonder about their story. Why they had come to London? Had it lived up to their expectations? Did they miss home? Had they achieved what they wanted to achieve? I guess I’ll never know.
Moving from Scotland to London may not seem like such a massive deal from an outsiders perspective. Ok, agreed, it isn’t exactly Timbucktoo or the Australian Outback. Although, let me tell you, Scotland and London may as well be world’s apart in my very humble opinion. Honestly speaking however, it was never about the geography for me. It was about proving that I was able to do something successfully, off my own back, completely for myself. It was about jumping in with both feet and having no earthly idea what the outcome would be. It was about growing up and learning the true meaning of responsibility. It makes you or it breaks you and I would do it all over again.
There was a myriad of reasons that tied in with my decision to leave. Most of which aren’t that interesting to read or write about for that matter. What I will say is that it was unbelievably sad and difficult to say goodbye to those who had become such a prominent part of my life. However, I came to the realisation on my mammoth 9 hour drive back to the homeland that all of my experiences, my memories and my friendships wouldn’t just end because I left London. Its not a subscription that you can just cancel. They come along with you and they grow with you and they make you who you are.
Leaving London was by no means the end of the story. It was simply the end of the chapter. What’s the next chapter? Well, that is still to be determined. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest, the peace, the fresh air (believe me, we’ve plenty of it up here) and the novelty of my mother’s home cooked meals.
“There is nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere” ~ Vivenne Westwood