My first few days in London have been a whirlwind to say the least. Two years ago, if you asked me what my goals were, I would have said to work and live in London, England. I saved almost every paycheck so that I could apply for my Working Holiday Visa, but now that my time has come to start living my dream, it seems that I’ve gotten cold feet.
A lot of it has to do with my anxiety, not to mention dreading moving my bag from hostel to hostel. I’m overwhelmed with my surroundings and am thinking too far ahead. I’m stressing that I won’t be able to find a job, or a house or make good friends. Worst of all, I’m afraid of my own company. But each day it is slowly getting better. I have gotten the small kinks worked out, such as my phone and bank set up. This week, I will be looking for short term accommodations and in two weeks, after my trip to visit my friend, Boy, in Amsterdam, I’ll set out looking for work.
To start off, I guess I’ll get into how my first couple days have been. I landed at Gatwick airport at 2pm on Wednesday (after a 2-and-a-half-hour layover in Toronto) and attempted to find my way to my first hostel in Hammersmith. Bit of a funny story, while waiting for my train to the tube station, I had dropped my tickets on the ground. Trying to bend over to pick them up, my bag threw me off balance (yes it’s that heavy) and I landed flat on the floor! I’m happy to say British people are actually quite nice and someone helped me back on my feet.
I didn’t end up arriving at the hostel until around dinner time, and I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived, I fell asleep instantly. Waking up later in the evening, I figured it’d be good to get some food into my stomach, so I took a walk to Sainsbury’s (a grocery store) and grabbed a salad. It might be the time-change or the sleep deprivation, but to be honest, I didn’t think that I would be so homesick, I think that I’ve called my mum crying because of panic attacks at least three times a day.
My second day in Hammersmith, I decided it would be good to explore the area a bit; to be honest, it’s definitely not the nicest part of London. One thing that I am in awe of, is how in London, you can be in a really nice borough and then a street or two down, you’re basically in the ghetto. For dinner, I decided to treat myself and went to a local pub for traditional fish and chips. It was definitely what I needed!
As I’ve already said, aside from exploring the local area, I’ve sorted out the necessary things like picking up my BRP, and setting up my bank and phone. On Friday, I checked out of my hostel in Hammersmith and made my way literally across London to Greenwich. I dropped off my bags and then made my way over to the BritBound Welcome Party. The Welcome Party was great because it allowed me to meet other fellow expats who just arrived in the UK. It definitely made me feel a little more comfortable knowing that I’m not alone. I met two girls there, Charlene from Vancouver and Catherine from New Zealand!
Right now, I’ve just gotten back from exploring the Greenwich area. It’s much nicer than Hammersmith; it reminds me of a little maritime village out East. I spent the day wandering Greenwich Park, which is huge, and then walked down to the pier to check out Greenwich Market, the Naval College and the Maritime Museum. I am going to eat dinner at the hostel and then turn in early because tomorrow, I’m heading for Stonehenge and Bath!