Oh hey, gang. It’s me. Your friendly American blogger living her best life in London. I’m in a state of flux at the moment, and I thought I’d share with you a little bit about it. You see, next year, I apply for indefinite leave to remain. Which means, once (if) that visa is approved, I’m formally a permanent resident of the UK. It’s a funny thing. Moving to London was easily one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but I still can’t believe I’ve been living here for four years already!
In truth, moving to London was something I wanted but had no real understanding of. Let me go back to the beginning. Or more specifically, back to 2008.
The year I first came to London.
I was studying abroad for a semester, and it was my first time out of the country. That’s pretty common for Americans, I think! There I was, an overexcited 20 year old, with the world at my feet!
Those three months were completely life changing. A place I’d only ever seen in films and read about in books was suddenly real! I filled my days exploring little corners, and doing as much as I could!
Ever since then, I knew London was a place where I would be happy to live my life.
I’d looked at a few options for moving, but nothing really panned out…
When I met Mr. Actually, and the relationship became serious, the question of how we’d make a life together came up. At the time, I was living at home with my parents, and working several part time jobs. Mr. Actually was fully employed, and potentially looking to buy a house.
My moving to London was the easiest and most logical solution.
In truth, I was very happy to. Every time I came to visit, I had such a wonderful time! Mr. Actually and I were long distance for three years, so I had plenty of time to get comfortable with the idea!
He asked me to marry him, I said yes, and hopped on a plane! Okay, not immediately after… I did have to tie up some lose ends and apply for a visa!
Looking back, I wish there had been a few things I’d known then. Just so I could have been a little bit more prepared.
I wish I’d fully understood what I’d be leaving behind. Don’t get me wrong, I have not a single regret about moving! It’s just that I didn’t quite realize what it would mean to have all my friends and family suddenly be 4000 miles away.
I basically had to start my life over again, surrounded by strangers.
The first five months after moving to London, I knew no one. Well, no one outside of Mr. Actually’s friends. I also had no way of meeting people.
Truth be told, I was very lonely, and incredibly emotional. I felt displaced.
Mr. Actually and I had more fights in the first six months of moving to London than we have in the 3 and a half years since. More than once, he asked if I wanted to be there.
I found myself suddenly questioning everything.
Moving to London challenged me in a way that I’d never had to deal with before.
I did want to be here. I was happy to finally be building a life with the man that I love.
It was all that residual upheaval that rocked the foundations of who I am.
London has come to be my home, and a place I fall in love with a little bit more every day. Even on my darkest days, I was happy to be in such a wonderful city.
Even though it was scary, moving to London was also empowering
Empowering in the sense that I have a better understanding of myself. I have a better relationship with myself.
It taught me what I’m capable of.
It’s taken me this long to really be in a place where I have a great group of friends. And I do! It feels amazing that I’ve found that, after a period when I felt so lost.
Moving to London, creating a life here, building up a network of friends, starting a career from scratch, and finding myself.
Sure, adjusting took time; what doesn’t? I did it though. I made it though. I grew as a person, and I’ve come out the other side a bit more sure of myself!
I’m still learning to deal with things like homesickness, and that weird feeling of being displaced.
I’m figuring out this whole language thing (yes we both speak English, but it’s not the same! Also, I make lots of pop culture jokes that I then have to explain, and vice versa!) but that’s part of the fun!
Four years on and I love my life. It has not been an easy journey, but still, moving to London changed my life, for the better.
Photos by Jess