How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. -A.A. Milne
London… How can I put this into words… Three and a half years have flown by and it is now time to leave you. I can’t believe our relationship, at times a love/hate one, has come to an end.
I still remember the day I left Australia and stated that I would only come here for one year to get work experience and as much travel in as possible. Heaven forbid, I would not miss more than one netball season. And here we are in August 2019, and I am leaving with so much more than that.
To be specific, I have now travelled to 40 different countries, gotten some great work experience and made some great friendships that will last a lifetime.
I was like every new girl that comes to London; starry eyed, wistful, with big plans of what I was going to do with my time here. Coming from a small town of 10, 000 people to London’s population of 8.8 million, it was quite the lifestyle change. Nothing quite prepares you for the large expense of London, the rental/agency fees, the cost of public transport and how much it is join a social sports team or the gym (not helpful with the UK weight gain due to the change in diet).
It is true that London is quite the different lifestyle from anywhere else in the world. In my time here I have rubbed shoulders with celebrities, been to loads (and I mean LOADS) of pubs, been at the mercy of London’s transport system not being able to handle severe weather conditions, and trying to find that perfect English man (Ladies, they are harder to find than you think. I’m still looking for my Mr Darcy). And for those of you who appreciate a defined man’s body, I also lived some international male models, and the sight never grew old…
In saying this, I have managed to live at a different address every year, sometimes moving twice with in the year and you never actually realise until this point in time how much stuff you can easily acquire in the different time periods. It has required a lot of culling for my move back! However, it is the memories and friendships I have made that I will treasure forever.
It’s not the days in life we remember, rather the moments. – Walt Disney
Like all expat adventures, there will always be highs and lows. I can definitely say that being an expat has increased my independence, resilience, along with my wealth of knowledge and education. You will always face challenges whether it is work, family, relationships and I am happy to say my London experience has definitely made me a stronger person.
What will I miss the most about London? This is a question that I have been asked by many. I will miss being able to go to the theatre at the drop of a hat, finding something new and fun to experience. I will miss the children I have taught, the people I have worked with and played sport with over the years, but they have made my experience living here all the richer. I will miss the European Christmas’ with the icy weather, roasted chestnuts and ugly christmas jumpers. However, I cannot wait to return the sunshine country, even if I do now have an English accent of which all my extended family insist I have…
As I have said to everyone in the UK, “Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again.”
“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” -Ernie Harwell
To all my friends I have made in the UK; “Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime. We’ll take the best, forget the rest, and someday will find that these are the best of times.” -Styx