London: a love/hate relationship

I have been living in London for 7 years. And like every relationship, I am wondering if it has reached the 7 years itch.

Funny how things work out don’t they? I would have never thought I would have lasted that long. What started as “I will get my master here” turned into “I will get an internship to get me started”, to “I got a job!” oh wait it’s been 7 years already?!Wow.

What happened you might wonder? Truth is I have no idea myself. I guess the years rolled like my morning double decker bus, in a mostly joyful (although not always) myriad of work, new friends, coffee catch ups, dinner dates, weekends away, train rants, shopping trips, nights at home watching tv, doing my laundry and just everyday life.

London is like a passionate on off lover. When the fire is burning you will be on a high, have the best time of your life, think you are the luckiest person ever. He treats you well, puts on a show, makes you feel special. You go out and do lots of wonderful things and have lots of pictures to show for it for your Instagram later. But then all of sudden, you feel left out, like he forgot about you, like you don’t belong in this relationship anymore because does he even know who you are? You spend nights wondering what to do with yourself and you wonder if something changed. Was it me or him? And then something great might happen again which will put you back on the high of the roller coaster and off you go, until you go back down again.  This to me is London.

Let’s be honest, living in London, the highs are very high. You live in one of the centre of the world, every weekend you have new plans, new places to see, new shops to visit, new shows, new exhibitions, new people to meet. There is nothing like walking on the Southbank at the weekend, grabbing some food at the market and exploring the BFI or the Tate museum before having a pint in a cosy old pub. And I still get excited when I spot the London Bridge in the background. 7 years and I still haven’t even stopped at half of the tube stops in London, can you believe it? Most of the time, people tell me where they live and I have NO IDEA what they mean, some of the names on the tube maps sounding like they are straight out of Tolkien’s imagination: Nunshead? Cockfosters? Mudchute?

But then after a while, and it seems quite common for all the expats I know who have made their homes here, London starts to lose its spark. You talk to your friends who have stayed at home or are living in more modest European cities, and everyone else is having a better time with more money, more holidays, bigger flats, and bigger savings accounts. Suddenly, you start to see a lot more of the negative aspects of this city. The impossibility of getting anywhere to live decent without having to share with people and living so far away from work you won’t even blink spending 2 hours a day in public transport. The fact that everything is so expensive, and I mean so expensive that you don’t even notice when you pay £10 for a glass of wine or £4 for a latte anymore.  The dread that comes with the winter months, right after the change of time, when you suddenly realise that it’s going to be night time at 3.30 and that you pretty much have resigned to become a vampire for the next 6 months. The rain and general grey weather for half of the year. And don’t even get me started on Brexit, let’s not pretend that it does make us expats feel welcome. 

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The problem is, you never know if you’re going to regret leaving somewhere until you try something new. And I guess this is where I am finding myself. On one side, I have the life I know here, friends, a good job, a good life really. The known. On the other side, I have this little voice telling me that I need to see how it is somewhere else before I can decide to settle here for good. In true Love Island style, I’m happy, but I could be happier. The problem with the unknown is that …drum rolls… you just don’t know what is going to happen. Moving somewhere new, starting from fresh with new jobs, new people, probably a new language, it’s a big challenge, one I don’t know for sure if I am ready for. And then there is also the idea of what would happen if I leave and I want to come back. Would I even be able to, considering the current political climate?
So many questions and not so many answers but in the meantime of me debating where the future should be taking me, I will make sure I try and make the most of what London has to offer, expensive lattes or not.

Till next time,

Marine

Photography: http://iamwilldube.com

Outfit details:

Boots: M&S block heel ankle boots

Earrings: Primark

Dress: Vero Moda

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