Today marks my fifth month of residing in London, and I still have no idea how I got here. Looking back, I’d say the end of 2016 was one of the busiest and most exciting times of my life. Graduating from college, interviewing for my first proper job, navigating new friendships and planning a three week trip to London with my sister all come to mind. With Christmas holidays coming up and the excitement of visiting London for the first time, you can imagine my disbelief that within two weeks I made the decision to live here.
London, bloody London. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken the wrong bus, converted pounds to rands and eaten more than one packet of minstrels in a day. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime to intern in the city, and although there’s been numerous ups and downs, I often catch myself smiling on the tube or while walking along all these new streets, beyond grateful that somehow, I’m here.
Like most people, I dreamed of experiencing life and work overseas, but by no means did I plan for this to happen, especially so soon after graduation. I like to believe that’s how I know it’s mean to be; I didn’t try very hard to get here, it just happened, and I’m grateful that it did. The things you learn about yourself while you’re completely out of your comfort zone are astounding. I’ve surprised myself with strength and inner-confidence I never knew I had or needed before. In Cape Town, I felt insecure about sitting alone in a cafe, now I do it a few times a week. I pay bills (!?!?), I have an Oyster card, and a favourite brand of cleaning detergent. #adultlife
There’s been magic moments and emotional ones, too. Being without my family has not been easy, and I don’t think it’ll ever become something I’ll get used to. However, the people I’ve met and spent time with here, whose kindness, creativity and enthusiasm for life have made this entire experience worthwhile.
As for first impressions, I’m still getting used to Northern Hemisphere’s concept of ‘spring’ (surely it’s not spring time if I’m still layering?), trying not to gooi around Afrikaans slang and keeping up with the pace of this busy place. Food in London is next level. I’ll never get over the hustle and bustle of Borough Market, or The Barbary’s hashcake, or treats from Ottolenghi. Oh and Bao baby, Bao!
The past five month’s living la vida loca loca loca in London have gone by quicker than expected. I wake up everyday wanting to see more, and I’m excited for what’s to come. Hopefully much more of this.