Goodbye London

From Chelsea, to Stoke Newington, too Shorditch. Six job, countless events, unforgettable memories, many many dates, and many amazing friends later, and my journey in London is over. At the beginning of this year you couldn’t have paid me any amount of money to leave London. I was pushing to work as a freelance events organiser, I was living in a crappy basement flat, but in a good location, and I was finally starting to see the rewards of working on something I really enjoyed. Fast forward eight months and I am driving to my mums from London, the car full to the brim with my entire life. Although I had made that drive many times with my mum from London, this time felt odd, I kept trying to wrap my head around the fact that it was my last. Everyone keeps saying I can go back, and I know that could be an option down the line, somehow though I feel I won’t. I have quite a clear picture in my head about my future, and actually London was never included in that, ever. I felt like it came to an abrupt end after only spending nine days there before I actually left. Those nine days were some of the best I’ve ever had there. I saw friends, went out, spent time with flatmates, had fun exploring and enjoyed London in its Autumnal beauty. It’s ironic that I decided to leave, then had the best time that made me question my decision. . . sods law, as they say.

My initial experience in London felt very much like it does in the movies, when the main actress gets to a big city. Everything is wonderful and new and you feel lost and at home all at the same time. Although my first job there didn’t go 100% to plan, looking back on it now I learnt some important lessons from it. That was in Chelsea, a ten minute walk from Sloane Square. Where the ladies lunch and the dogs have more expensive accessories than me. Chelsea was absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed living there for the short time I was there. However, really it wasn’t a nice place to live. If you didn’t have money and a social circle, it was lonely and boring. Then I moved to Stoke Newington, for the best job! My time in this job, and area was a hundred times the experience I had first had in Chelsea. The area is more quiet and laid back and the people more friendly. I had nineteen wonderful months here and wanted to stay in the area when it was time for me to move, but decided to explore Shorditch this time. I moved into the crappiest basement flat. The problems I had there were just awful. We had mould, damp, rats, mice and a collapsed shower ceiling, to name a few. It was an experience lets say. I did meet a very good friend of mine there and was planning a trip to New Zealand shortly after she went back in January of this year. The corona virus pandemic was a blessing in disguise in many ways for me, one of them being that it gave me the opportunity to move out of that underground cave I was in! I found a lovely, second floor, park view flat at the other end of Bethnal Green Road. I didn’t spend much time here due to the lockdown and spending time at my mums too. However it was a great flat, and I was sad to leave. . . this brings me back to today.

Four years slips by quickly if you aren’t careful. It felt longer to me. I think London will always have some of my heart. Before I moved so many people told me how they tried to live there but couldn’t hack it. You have to be tough to live in the big smoke. It take some serious grit. I think I fared well. The next chapter on my journey is on the horizon, and I can’t wait. I feel I will be sad about London for a while. It was such a massive part of my life. I will miss the comfort of being entirely alone, but surrounded my millions. Finding cool, niche shops down a random road. Talking to people you will never see again. Ordering any kind of food you could possibly imagine. Go out to any sort of bar you could want. Working in yummy coffee shops and eating phenomenal foods. Admiring the street art and rummaging in markets. Window shopping and treating yourself to beautiful flowers. Wondering museums, cramming onto the underground and sunbathing in the park. . . I miss it all already. I can and will go back to visit soon. London has some of my heart for sure. I found myself there, part of me was moulded there. It’s funny how even some, not so great memories become cherished ones when you no longer have something.

A big part of a change like this is the feeling of loss. I feel I am grieving. I have a tremendous amount to look forward to in this new chapter, the one I am leaving behind though is also a part of my next steps. I am taking the time to remember, to process and to mourn the loss of a part of my life, only then can I fully be ready to embrace all of what is to come. That’s the funny thing about grief, you can feel joy and still carry grief. We need both to heal. I am scared abut this next step, looking back at the place have just been though, I am confident I will find a way.

We have to allow ourselves to grieve in order to heal.

-Katherine Sankey

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