Sunday, July 15, 2012

I heart London

This month marks the 1-year anniversary of our move to London. The man, the dog and myself. So, as any sane person would do, I've spent some time looking back on the past 365 days. Here are some snippets of what I came up with.
I have become self-employed. And I am loving it. It feels like it legitimizes my work in a completely new way. I no longer feel like I have to list every single performance I have ever worked on – I enjoy simply telling people that I am self-employed and work with performing arts.
I have also, more recently, taken on a job that I knew would be a challenge for me – not necessarily professionally, but personally. And while it has definitely turned out to be a challenge, I am quite enjoying it – the professional experience, as well the things I am learning about myself. And just to make that last bit sound a little less like I am on some journey of self-discovery – I also really enjoy it when my new colleagues think I’m 25.*
I have taken up gardening. Well, the big city version of it anyway, which means that I grow tomatoes, strawberries and herbs on my rooftop terrace. And I’m loving it. Every day I climb on up there, to check on the tiny green bumps that have started to show on my two tomato plants. They’re coming along quite nicely, in case you were wondering. The strawberries on the other hand – not so much. Which leads me to my next point.
I have learned that I don’t need snow. After 3 crazy, snowstorm-filled winters in Copenhagen I was beginning to suspect it, but my first lovely and mild London winter really settled it for me. I like not needing gloves. Yes, sometimes the weather here is less than perfect. And yes, Great Britain is currently experiencing the wettest and coldest summer in, like, forever – hence the struggling strawberries. But still, the weather here is much better than its reputation. And after a winter where the temperature hardly ever went below freezing, I can forgive just about anything.
I have become very well acquainted with Pimm’s & Lemonade. And I have no idea why I didn’t start drinking it decades ago, because that is one delicious little beverage.
I have realized that there is no reason to be suspicious of every person that strikes up a conversation with me, be it in the park, at Starbucks or on the tube. In 99,9 % of cases, they’re just being nice. Some of them might even become friends.
I have started cycling. Well, that is not actually true. Having lived in Copenhagen for 6 years, my bike and I were obviously attached at the hip. So I guess I’ve rediscovered cycling. Because, I’ll be honest with you here – London traffic is kinda bad sometimes. And while the lovely Boris Bikes and the even lovelier Cycle Superhighways have done wonders for cyclists’ safety, I still found the concept of riding around London on a bike somewhat daunting. Partly because all the aforementioned traffic is a mirror image of what this mainland Europe gal is used to. But I got over it. And boy, am I glad I did.
On a more serious note, I have found out that my friendships are strong. I am still as close as ever with my lovely ladies in Copenhagen. Though we had never been in long distance friendships before, I think we are handling it very well indeed. That being said, handling it well doesn’t necessarily mean handling it in the same way. For some of us it means playing scrabble through our iPhones, for others it means regular hour-long phone calls. Both are excellent ways of staying in each other’s lives. (And just so you know, dear ladies, not a day goes by where I don’t miss you.)
Sometimes I still forget that I live in London. Because the London that I experienced during my 10th grade class trip – Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Oxford Street – has absolutely nothing to do with the London I have come to love very dearly over the past year. My London is magic. One of my favorite parts is that it’s filled with wonderful markets – Columbia Road, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Broadway, Borough and of course our own little farmer’s market here in Angel. It is dotted with beautiful green parks, charming pubs and amazing restaurants. And it is a place that makes me happy every time I step outside my door. Happy 1-year anniversary, London Town!

*For those of you who don’t know me personally – I am so not 25 anymore. More like 30. Approximately.