Moving to a new country is always such a strange, invigorating, difficult and exciting experience (just a peppering of describing words there, nice) one that a privileged bunch get to experience at least once in their lifetime and it’s something that as a citizen of the world, if you are in a position to do so, you should.
I liken the whole experience to going through adult puberty. Everything is awkward, displaced, unnatural and weird. There are things happening to you and around you that are foreign, literally and figuratively, you have everything to prove and nothing at the same time. You might not have any friends at all, or only enough to count on one hand, you do everything alone until you get that mate count up to two hands or more and find your groove in the freshly stacked city around you.
You do the wrong things, people don’t understand you, they mock your accent, ridicule it and love it at the same time, you are interesting and also not at all, everything is shiny and new to your little peepers and you just cruise the streets alone, walking with purpose and pretending like you know what you are doing, bright eyed and bushy tailed, curious but also shitting your pants.
Basically I’m just describing myself and most people probably hit the ground running rather than trip over and hobble like a wee weirdo. In my defence, I didn’t actually plan on moving here at all, I came to London for the first time for the weekend from Budapest to see a friend (one of only two that I knew here) and I never left. In fact, I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary of living here, so yeah it was a rocky start to my new surprise life.
I’ve been elbowed in the face on the tube during rush hour causing a fat bruised lip (the tube was a totally new thing for me and rush hour is something to be avoided at all costs) I was consistently getting lost, Nick Cave bumped into me in Dover Street Market, literally, because I was deliberately standing way too close to him so I ran outta the shop in embarrassment, I’ve walked past ‘some dude’ playing a piano in Kings Cross St Pancras station not wanting to bother with the horde of people around him I carried on walking, only to find it on the front page of the news the next day that it was Elton fucking John, I was abused by a drunken man sitting next to me on the tube and nobody did anything to help me, I dressed as a vagabond upon arrival as I didn’t know how to winter after having back to back summers for years on end, I had no warm clothes to my name, I bought a sick Audi 80 which is a total business Dad car and I love it, I’ve walked by staring at a sexy old car thats pulled up to the curb beside me in Kensington and watched Rod Stewart get out of it, noticing me staring he said hello, I choked and said “hello guy” back like the smooth loser I am, I squeal at squirrels and foxes – they will never get old! I’ve been misunderstood and I constantly misunderstand, automated phone services don’t get me at all, I’m still trying to learn all the slang and jargon used by the people – its a rich tapestry of language and accents….
And many other such stories…. But even as I write this none of it seems weird anymore… It’s fairly normal as if I was back home and not on the other side of the world trying to carve a new life out of this concrete jungle. And hey, I’m not the first nor the last to be an immigrant so holla if you can relate!
Having no desire to come to London in the first place I have accidentally fallen in love with this city, it seems that there was a Katie Jones shaped hole just waiting here for me to fill, now here I am and absolutely smashing the back out of life!