Living in London: Week 1 (and a bit)

So, I moved to England. I don’t really know why. I felt a need for change some time between a year and a half and two years ago. At that time I still had three courses to go on my M.Ed. and I didn’t want to leave Toronto without finishing that, so I decided to get it done and then get out.

And now I’m out. I have very mild and mixed feelings about living here. I didn’t have any particular reason to pick London. I heard it was fairly easy to find a job as a supply teacher here and I figured I would have fun exploring the city, but I never felt a strong drive to live in the UK. So far, I’ve noticed that rent is expensive, the sidewalks are uneven and easy to trip on, the tube is giant and way more sensible than Toronto’s subway system, and people are generally friendly and helpful. That last one might have something to do with the fact that I’m a cute, cis, white woman who speaks English fluently and doesn’t have any visible disabilities. Privilege is a real thing.

I don’t deal with change well, and I miss my family, my kitty, my friends, my old job, my city. I miss the ability to call my parents or my sister without checking the time difference or paying long-distance rates. I miss hugs and kisses and snarky quips or inside jokes with people who know me really well. But I’m also excited. I felt stagnant and isolated a lot last year. I loved work but I felt restless in a place that I’d been a part of since I was almost 11 years old. Now that I’ve taken this one step toward something new, I don’t know what I want to do next and I like not knowing. Maybe I’ll stay here for years. Maybe I’ll go back to Toronto right away. Maybe I’ll study education in Finland and see what they do there that works so well. Maybe I’ll move to San Francisco and ride cable cars. I have until the end of the school year to decide and I’m sure that I’ll seriously consider all of those options and a whole bunch more before I pick one.

But right now I want to focus on living here. I want to turn my flat into something that feels like mine (and my flatmate’s). I want to see this city and find parts of it to love and parts of it to hate. I want to meet people. I want to write. So I’ll do all of those things for a while, and then think about doing something else.