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I have left London.

My room is now occupied by a (lovely) Canadian, my stuff is in boxes on route by sea to Adelaide, I have one suitcase of stuff with me, just as when I arrived and I have said too many goodbyes to too many amazing people.

I am currently sitting in a warm living room in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, taking the long way home. Many people have joked I’m going ‘the wrong way’ and I explain that I am taking the opportunity to see some people I haven’t seen in a long time, visit some new cities and generally add a small amount to my extensive debt before I get home and start trying to pay it off. But more about the cold and wintery North American continent later.

Almost two years ago I packed up my apartment, sold a whole bunch of stuff, gave stuff away, put stuff in storage, said my goodbyes to a select group of dear friends in two cities and left a life that I liked but didn’t love for an unknown adventure. I had no idea what my life would look like, if i’d survive, if i’d find work, a place to live, friends, love, new hobbies… And I was excited about that, because I knew it was going to be the best adventure of my life and that no matter what the future beyond London brought, this would be a thing that I had DONE, that I had sought out, proof that I had LIVED my life. In short, it was what I needed in so many ways.

Now I find myself equally at a loss as to picturing my life in a few weeks time and it carries the added blow of leaving a life i have absolutely and completely loved. Certainly I know where I will live, and I now, thankfully, know where I will be working at least for the foreseeable future. I have a headstart on knowing what family occasions will look like and how the seasons will turn, but the thing I don’t know is how will i feel. It seems strange, one should know how one will feel when returning home. And I am returning home. I will be living in Adelaide for the first time permanently in almost 9 years. Certainly the first time as a (mostly) independent adult. It will be very different from when I used to live there. Many of my friends have moved to various little corners of the world, as has some of my family. One big part of my family won’t be there at all. Small people who were distinctly children when I left, will now be young ladies (or not) and there are whole new small people for me to get to know. I have learnt much about what makes me happy in London and I hope I have the strength of heart and purpose to seek that out in my home town rather than fall into old, unhealthy patterns. It is a definite fear I hold and I have various ideas of what the pitfalls and solutions for my new life will be. There are definitely things I am looking forward to, but there is also an apprehension that will not be immediately eased.

In returning home there are certainly things that I will miss about living in Melbourne, my dear friends, the richmond knitters, better yarn fare (and something I only discovered in London, but originated in Melbourne – Swing Patrol), and a wider variety of standard artistic fare, but Melbourne and I always had an uneasy relationship. There were some great times, and there were some truly awful times, there were little secrets of the city I loved and corners I made my own, but on the whole I never felt at ease there, not in the way I immediately did in London and, of course, Adelaide will always be home no matter where I live.

As for leaving London… where do I start… It has been said that there are two types of Londoners. Those who are born there and never have any desire to leave, and those who come to London for the first time and know they have come home. That’s how it was for me. The first time I visited (properly) in 2009, I stayed a month, went to classes, made friends with Londoners and visitors alike and knew that I wanted to return. I felt instantly at home and comfortable in this city of rudely polite people. I love it’s contradictions, it’s wonderful art and absolute crassness, its everyday beauty and distinctive odours, its drabness and its elegance, its englishness and its multicultural ways, its ability to offer you the best bargains of your life whilst bleeding you dry, its standoffishness and welcoming arms…

But mostly I loved its people. Now there are two things that happened that made my life in London so wonderful and if either of those hadn’t happened then I have no illusion that my life would not have been as awesome as it was. Firstly, I got a job. Whilst I enjoyed it in many respects and got to work in a fantastic location right in the heart of the city, what made this remarkable was the people. I suddenly had 500+ friends who understood me, welcomed me, drank with me, laughed with me and generally made London the best place ever. I know with out a doubt that I will never work anywhere else like it. And I got into swing dancing, which gave me Sunday nights of fun, friends and fabulous dances. Through these two things I made so many friends that it is genuinely painful to leave you all. Thank goodness for the internet! Of course I now have the dilemma that there are so many places in the world I still want to visit, but when I have the time and money, London will be first on the list because there are too many people I long to hug!

Still, as much as I loved London, I carry the understanding that my life there was unsustainable. I lived like I had two years there and were I able to stay longer, changes would have been made that may have meant my life wasn’t as awesome. So it is impossible to feel that I am being parted from something unfairly or unjustly. Instead I recognise that life is surprising and massive upheaval brings great opportunity. And my life is what I make it and should I need to go wandering from home again I know two very important things. Firstly, I will survive and secondly, that I will always have a home to go back to.

Too many goodbyes. I will miss you all!

Too many goodbyes. I will miss you all!

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So today was a GOOD day.

I officially have been offered a job at Apple, details TBC, but most likely about 20-25 hours a week at the Regent Street store

AND I have a place to live! I move in tomorrow to a beautiful big room in Manor House.

It’s a bit odd, because if i think about who i am, then it’s kinda perfect, a quiet house, with three studious and sedate girls, 2 in publishing and one doing a Geology PHD, but that’s kinda why i was a bit reluctant. I’m trying to break out of my comfortable self so was hoping to live somewhere a little more lively. BUT I guess i will just have to create my own liveliness! Besides it’s a three month let to start so there’s always room to move (LOL). I will post photos of my new room and house tomorrow, including my garden 🙂

I’ve been staying with Bronwen, a friend of Ren’s who has been ABSOLUTELY wonderful and has put me up last night and tonight. She also gave me wine!

I have to also thank the lovely girls in Stoke Newington who made me feel quite at home for my first 4 weeks in London. Becca, Lucia and Loukia you are lovely! and Penny, thanks for letting me live in your room!

this is how i celebrated today…

I went and saw The Pirates: An Adventure with Scientists and the icecream was Turkish delight and Pralines and Cream. NOM

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