Goodbye, London. It’s been great 6 months.
So it’s Goodbye. I can’t believe I am writing these words when it feels like I only got here two weeks ago. But it’s been six months. Holy shit. I knew these months would fly by quickly but it’s unsettling how quickly they went by and now I’m already about to go back to Dresden to my friends and family and uni. It’s such a weird feeling knowing that I’ll go back and feel like the only one who’s changed. Because a life abroad does change you, no matter how long you’ve spent there.
Right now I feel sad. Incredibly sad because this city never stopped being magical to me. I fell in love the first time I went here and I still feel that way even though I have gotten used to many things here. Though there definitely is still a bunch on my list that I haven’t seen or done here yet, but I still have time to catch up. And one hour by flight to get here is really not the world.
But I’m also happy to get home, and as crazy as it sounds I’m excited to go back to uni and move into my new place, finally have a place of my own again, hang about with my close friends and not worry about the ridiculous public transport costs.
I’ve enjoyed the time here and there are mentalities I will definitely adopt and bring over with me when I leave. I also am kind of relieved to go back to my comfort place again which is in no doubt Dresden. I think these six months have been enough of an experience that I didn’t know I needed until now.
This post is all about what happened, what I’ve seen and what I’ve learnt. It’s going to be my way of processing the fact that I’m leaving and yes, it’s exactly as melodramatic as it sounds. I can’t help my emotions, okay! This town has bewitched me completely.
What I Knew Would Happen
- I didn’t get to do everything on my to-go and to-do list.
- It doesn’t rain every day in London. Maybe every second day.
- I never got tired of tourist attractions.
- I never got tired of Embankment, Southbank, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, Soho and Covent Garden.
- I never got tired of sitting or standing in the tube.
- I’ll miss even the monotone voice saying, “Please mind the gap between the train and the platform”.
- I would enjoy every escalator ride and will always pull my friends to stand on the right side.
- I’d spend hours in art galleries. Or days.
- I still buy too many groceries.
- I would walk to explore even if I have no clue where the hell I’m going.
- By the end, I’d know most lines and changes on the underground by heart. And I’d mentally save all the shortcuts because my legs are short.
- I made new friends for life.
- Some experiences, big or small, will shape me drastically.
- I grew into a more reckless person (when it means to live each day to the fullest).
- I knocked on death’s door probably about 50 times before I finally learned to look in the right direction for oncoming traffic.
- I practically died on the tube during the summer heat.
- I turned into one of “them” and at some point started thinking about drinking at any time of the day.
- I started talking about the weather, too.
- Even though I wasn’t able to do everything on my list and explore London more in depth, I savored each experience and adventure, even if I happened to end up at the same places again.
- I’m a pescatarian now. I still have to eat meat here and there but mostly I have gotten used to eating pescatarian and much more healthily anyway. Crazy, right? You’d think in London it would go otherwise.
- I’ve gotten better at my savings! Which was kind of a must, considering how everything is so expensive.
- I have self-published a book! A huge step for me as an aspiring author, indeed. And I’m proud to say it’s been going well!
- I met some cool bloggers along the way! Including Finja and Isabel. I didn’t get to meet other bloggers I was in contact with but for that we’ll still have time.
- I learned new strengths about myself, like persistence, knowing what I want and not going for less, leaving negative and toxic environments, that I’m actually braver than I give myself credit.
- I learned to “fuck what other people say” and I will keep this confident mentality even in a smaller, less anonymous city.
- I learned to deal with difficult clients on the phone and it was a huge step considering I still sometimes suffer from social anxiety and had huge anxiety when having to pick up the phone. I learned to deal with it though and now it’s barely a problem.
- I learned more about the general Tourism sector during my internship.
- My writing has improved so, so much. Don’t really know where it came from but I guess I’ve also been writing much more.
- I don’t know why it took me so long but I ate Indian for the first time in Brick Lane.
- I learned from my GP what it really means to have hypothyroidism (post on this disease upcoming) and that I have to go on a diet.
- I lost 5 kilos in the second half of my time here and even though it wasn’t achieved in a completely healthy way, I am happy about it and I will write about it.
- I learned five new songs on my ukulele. Not much but I enjoy it.
- I am now a part of The Restless Times newspaper and you can read some of my writing in our seventh issue here!
- This isn’t a big achievement but I finally found the right skin routine for me and my skin has been treated well!
- I’ve become better at being more social and “getting out of my shell” more. Even though I’m totally fine with being the introvert that I am, I do enjoy socialising most of the times when it’s in an enjoyable environment. And even though I’m still an awkward turtle, I’ve gotten better at hiding it, hey!
- Oh, and I finally got my tattoo!
- And I got back into poetry.
Some memorable moments
If people asked me what my six months were like, I could only list a few memorable moments to attempt an explanation. Because how do you describe feelings connected to a certain place? How do you describe memories when it’d be hard for other people to relate as they weren’t there with you to experience them? Well, this is my attempt.
- I saw people of all differences that there could possibly be, optically, smile and connect over a pit bull dog on the tube.
- It was totally normal to loudly sing Valerie on the tube with complete strangers and exit the station with them for a chat.
- Every time I walked by the River Thames the realisation would hit me that, holy shit, I was in London. And every time I was speechless from feeling overwhelmed.
- I felt so giddy having my friends from home over for a weekend or a week. Even though it got really expensive, the experiences were worth it.
- How relieved I felt when I had this conversation with someone on a park bench at 2 in the morning and realised that they felt the exact same way about depression.
- How my faith in humanity was restored when I ended up crying in a dark alley around the corner hiding from my friends in a moment of distress and this guy with his vodka bottle approached me just to check on me. And when his nosy friends approached me too he had left with them so I wouldn’t feel disturbed.
- When I spent a night with my newly found soul sisters. It was so much fun and I’m so glad we met.
- How relieved I felt when my coworker and friend took me into her home for five days so I wasn’t homeless.
- The first time I went salsa dancing with my friend and embarrassed myself but it turned okay and it was actually really fun.
- I reconnected with friends from back home after drifting apart. I’m so grateful to have them back in my life, especially now as I came back.
- I felt like a reckless idiot when I chased after this person to give them my number and then just ran off but it turned out just fine.
- I stood on a ferry on a hot summer day and I didn’t feel seasick and enjoyed the view of turquoise blue right underneath my nose.
- I will never forget the excitement when my very own book arrived in paperback.
- I walked home to the view of the same guy sitting by the window of my local Costa’s waving at me from across the street.
- I danced my brains out without drinking my guts out to both, great and shit music, and it was a blast every time because the only thing that matters is the company you’re with.
- I went on a pub crawl which turned out to be one of the most unforgettable nights.
- I met magicians and musicians at Picadilly Circus so that was pretty cool.
- I felt the warm breeze on my skin as I sat on a bench overlooking a field of grass and flowers and rows of family houses at 7 in the morning.
- I ate great dinner on a roof terrace of a tiny hotel in a tiny place on a hill until the sun set.
- I half-walked and half-ran home in the rain after a night out and did not catch a cold, but did look like a drowned cat.
- I stood on a rooftop of a parking building and saw the whole city that I love stretched out right in front of me. And then the sunset came around and turned the whole sky violet and pink and the buildings reflected an orange beam and I’m pretty sure I cried.
Let me tell you, I feel so different. So different from how I used to feel when I first got on the plane to London six months ago. I don’t really know how to explain it, really, but all these accomplishments have shaped me as a person and I am glad I experienced this. It’s crazy to imagine how I would’ve missed out on all of this if I didn’t decide to take off to another country for half a year. I mean, would I still be the same old me? Probably not. But definitely not the person I am right now. And I like this person.