London notes – 20-11-10

London — Danielle on November 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

There’s been many requests for updates, and here is a little one as I’ve only been here for 24 hours.

Saying goodbye to everyone was emotional. I was very grateful to have so many lovely people come to my little so-long shindig and I made sure to spend some quality time with my family and my grandparents before I left. Many people asked if my family will visit me over here – they won’t, they’re just not into travelling. So this will be the longest period of time I’ve ever spent away from them, and I miss them already.

Packing was tricky. I managed to get everything down into one large suitcase, one carry-on suitcase, and my satchel, but of course I made a rookie mistake at the airport – I didn’t realize there was a weight restriction for the carry-on case and ended up having to check it and pay a big old fee.

Other than that, checking in was so easy and only took five minutes. It wasn’t my first time flying (I’ve flown to New York and Las Vegas before) but it was the first time I was on my own in the airport. I was very early and found a nice spot by the gate, watched the sun set over Mississauga, and felt… nothing. After so much emotion and letting go of so many places, people and things, I have become an empty vessel.

I had a window seat on the plane. I’ve only flown a few times so I love the novelty of it all. I barely slept at all, spent most of the trip poking my head out and looking at the vast nothingness of a black ocean, not thinking about anything. Coming into England while the sun rose over the coast of the English Channel and all the foggy little fields was incredibly beautiful.

Landing in Gatwick was OK, something was wrong with the gate so we got to disembark on the tarmac which was different. I got my checked baggage OK, met a mini-cab driver with my name on a piece of paper, and drove into London.

I’m staying with my Australian Aunt and Uncle (well not exactly, it is a tangential family connection) in a suburb called Putney at the moment. They’re fun and hospitable and great cooks and I feel so lucky to have a great place to stay while I enter the next phase of this thing, which is trying to settle in my own place somewhere.

So far so good, I’m mostly somewhat jetlagged and disoriented. Everything is backwards here. Taps turn backwards, doors open in instead of out, people cross on the wrong side of the sidewalk, I do a lot of bumping into things.

Between erratic sleep patterns, I’ve bought a phone (07538 786074) and am connecting up with some friends, and trying to figure out what neighbourhoods I’d like to live in. That’s about it for the moment.

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    6 Comments »

    1. You are one of the bravest people I’ve ever met, not just because you chose to do this, but also in the way you approach your life. I think that you will have a great time abroad, with many rich experiences. Best of luck!

      P.S. Be VERY careful crossing the street!! Crazy drivers coming from the opposite direction = bad combo!

      Comment by Amie — November 20 2010 @ 9:44 am
    2. I’m glad you made it safe, darlin’. I know I’ve said it time and time again, but I absolutely can’t wait to hear about your adventures in this part of your life. Be safe, be happy, and update often! :3

      Comment by Ellie Di — November 20 2010 @ 12:58 pm
    3. Glad to know you have landed safely and are settling in.This is the start of a great adventure – enjoy

      Comment by Aunt Patricia — November 21 2010 @ 4:35 pm
    4. Welcome to London!

      They are very right to warn you about crossing the road. Although I don’t think the drivers are any more crazy than any where else, traffic coming the wrong way seemed to throw my american friends off when they visited!

      When looking for somewhere to live I suggest spending a little time in areas where you might like to live before commiting. If you’re staying south of the river, make sure you’re near a tube or train line, it will prove invaluable.

      That’s the best tip I can think of right now!

      Comment by Starry — November 22 2010 @ 8:48 am
    5. Thanks very much to Starry for the welcome! Would love to meet you if you have time, please email me or call!

      Comment by Danielle — November 22 2010 @ 6:04 pm
    6. I hadn’t realized this is your first time in London! I hope it wins you over. NYC and London are my favourite places to be.

      Good luck settling in.

      >>agreed, re: crossing the street! be careful :)

      Comment by adeleine — November 26 2010 @ 12:19 am

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