22 September, 2008

Arrived and Settling In

To think that three days ago I was sitting on a plane, sure that my life was over...

And now I reside in a little town called London. You might have heard of it.

It's only been two days since I arrived and already I feel comfortable in this city. Lost, but comfortable. But when I arrived at Heathrow on Saturday morning I was MISERABLE. If I could add more emphasis to that word I would. I was beyond exhausted but knew I needed to stay up until 9pm to help adjust to the time zone difference. I was so depressed and terrified that the space in my stomach where food would normally go was filled with a giant knot, and more than anything I wanted to turn around and go home once I saw the hole of a room that would be my home for the next year.

But sleep solves most problems. And I woke up to a sunny Sunday morning feeling alive and ready to take on the city around me. I dressed (which was surprisingly saddening since so much of my clothing reminds me of my boyfriend), grabbed a tube map I'd gotten the day previous, and set out to meet my aunt at Kings Cross.

I navigated the usual weekend fiasco on the underground (every weekend some part of several different lines shut down for electrical work, making travel a bit more exciting on your days off), and found myself sitting on an empty train car smiling to myself. "Holy shit," I thought, "I LIVE in London now." Then the doors clunked closed and the metallic ca-chunk of the trains moving distracted me from my thoughts, but didn't wipe the smile from my face.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Kings Cross was that I felt a comforting familiarity flow through me. When I was in Cambridge last year I took the train into Kings Cross every day I came to London, and it's one of the few places in this city that I know my way around very well. And when I saw my aunt, I felt like I had a little pocket of family and safety only an hour away.

She and I had breakfast (soft boiled egg and toast for me) before wandering through housewares stores with beautiful over-designed items that I very much want. Looking at all the pretties around me, I realized that making my dorm room feel like a home was going to be a slow, fun process. And in realizing that, the room quite suddenly became more livable. The horrible ill-fitting sheets that came with my bed, the horrible yellow lighting, the nasty blue carpet, the discomfort of the tiny bathroom..... these were no longer problems I couldn't solve. In fact I look forward to solving them.

I spent the evening in our ill-equipped kitchen, chatting it up with my new international flatmates (one of whom is incredibly cool) while sharing a bottle of cheap red wine.

Today was equally exciting because it was Monday! YEAY! Monday meant that I could finally go about getting all those basic things done, like finding a top-up mobile phone to get me around while I price-shop for a good contract phone. And going to my school to finalize my paperwork. And opening up my first London bank account. And buying a SUPER comfy robe to keep me warm in the mornings. And to stare at all the incredible boots in the window of Office on Oxford street. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod. Hold. Me. Back..... No wait, don't.

I ate lunch in a cafe this afternoon so I could write down some thoughts to share here. I recalled having a dream about shopping for clothes with Dustin Hoffman, and trying to find a good belt and tie for him. Which has nothing to do with anything, but I thought it was funny and wanted to remember it. I also wrote that I wish I could have trusted that I would feel this way when I arrived in London. Upon departure, I was so sure my life was ending; so sure that I would suffer horribly and live a lonely life of sadness for the next three years. Part of me knew that wasn't true, but I was so sad in those last days in SF that it was hard to see beyond that.

I guess I've been writing a lot to sort out my thoughts in these past two days. And looking over the writing now, it seems I end each entry by saying "I am okay," when I feel alright, or brave. Today I ended my last entry by saying, "I am okay. And soon, I will be better than okay- soon I will be good."

1 comment:

KC said...

Hey,

I read this with so much anticip... ation!

I'm SO happy to hear that you're settling in. The change from one state to another (hot/ cold, solid, gaseous, dry/ wet, SF/UK) is dramatic, and I knew once you glided through the veil you'd get comfortable and start to work it *zsnap :)

Write more. Write alot.

~k