Two years ago today I was on the brink of my biggest challenge yet. I was consumed with butterflies, a complete mix of nerves and excitement, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such a mix of emotions in one day. One month; I walked with a new spring in my step. Three months; I never wanted to move home. Six months; my new normal hit, reality bites. One year; I was enveloped in pride. 18 months; I could see my life at home, but I couldn’t see me in it.
Two years? The jury’s still out.
The Great London Conundrum.
Globally, 2016 has been a bit of a shitter – let’s be honest, but my year wasn’t too bad really. On top of a new job, a new flat and the highlight that needs no words to describe – my parent’s visiting – I have also managed to visit 14 cities;
- I visited a “cafe” before wandering the canals during the light festival with my best friend in Amsterdam
- I “shopped” in the original Prada store in Milan
- I went to Romeo’s house and Juliet’s balcony in Verona
- I had lunch & prosecco overlooking Lake Como
- I spent the night at a gorgeous restaurant in Stockholm
- I ate cured ham off the bone (and hoof) while my mum cried with laughter in Seville
- I witnessed a bird poo in my mums hair while she was taking a selfie at the Alhambra Palace in Granada
- I drank cocktails on the sand with my mum in Valencia
- I had the best day of my year on the back of a boat in the Balearic sea celebrating my best friends birthday in Palma de Majorca
- I went to an incredible restaurant before partying at a not so classy shot bar in Bucharest
- I drove on the other side of the road to Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania
- I watched the All Blacks beat Ireland in Dublin
- I drank too much beer in Antwerp
- I explored the fairytale town of Bruges
The places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had – it’s all down to life in London. While I still miss New Zealand – the life I live here I simply couldn’t do at home.
I increasingly feel that us expat Kiwi’s sit on a long, narrow pivoting see saw. One month we’re up – do we stay? The next month we’re down – do we go? At the two-year mark, I don’t know where I sit on this unbalanced, confusing children’s toy.
The irony is that I am that single pivot point the long, narrow board my life is sitting on. I hold the power – or my British passport does anyway. If my mother weren’t British, then yesterday would have been my last day of work. My two-year visa would have expired and the decision wouldn’t be mine. I’ve always thought the beauty in my little red book was its freedom, now I’m seeing it almost as the beast – the beast I don’t know when to tackle.
I can honestly say that London feels like home now. I finally feel like the dual citizen I always have been, half British – the most British I have ever felt in fact. I have a connection with this country; my Mum, my Grandma, my Grandad – this was all their home once and thanks to them, it’s now mine too. At the same time I have never felt more Kiwi. There it is, the Great London Conundrum.
So two years down, I still can’t make a decision, commit or plan – but instead I can take each month as it comes, each aeroplane where it takes me and each wobble with resilience.
I know I’m not done, but I know this isn’t forever. Thanks for everything so far London, I don’t regret a single second of it.