Once you’re into your second week staying in hostels, it’s easy to forget that privacy is a thing people often value above all else. Desperate times, after all, assuming you can really call the attempt to make a life for yourself in your dream city “desperate times”. You can’t. It can’t be done.
But hostels are cheap, and people are generally pretty relatable, and sharing a room with a maximum of three others (two if you’re lucky, based on experience) is certainly preferable to sharing with eleven others. Particularly when one of that limited number is from your same province, just five hours away from your hometown. Something about a Torontonian, across the ocean from Canada, is really comforting.
Especially since she agrees entirely that it’s freezing here. March in London is cold in a different way than March in Ontario is cold. That type of cold that digs into your bones and convinces you that you’ll never be warm again, even gets into the spots where you’re bundled up. Tortures you while you wait for the Night Bus, desperately hoping your damp feet don’t fall off before you can get back to your hostel and shower until you feel like yourself again. But the temperature is better than at home, technically!
… sorry, all about me, again. I love writing in second person!
But even a homeless Cockney man in Victoria station mentioned that I was freezing when he shook my hand. People ask, looking at me, if I’m cold. No! I’m Canadian! I can’t possibly be! (And of course I didn’t bring any practical winter wear, just my giant leopard print coat and a hoodie. Three pairs of chelsea boots, one pair of converse, and a pair of sneakers. I had very unrealistic expectations for what the weather would be like here, I guess. Also, I hate weather talk, so stopping immediately. Italics!) … but yes. Yes, I’m cold. I just hate to admit it.
Removing myself from my comfort zone leads to all sorts of interesting interactions. An older homeless man, for instance, who tapped me on the arm and then pointed out immediately that he was deaf. He wrote his name on a slip of paper while I watched. “Im Julian,” his scribblings read, and he handed me the paper. Okay, fine, go with it. “I’m Leslie.” And then he was writing down his number, and “text me”. And then he wandered away and came back and wrote it again. His phone number. “Promise you’ll text me.” Sorry, Julian, I don’t think we have all that much in common…!
This has been such an insane period of time I’ve been having and, because there’s been so much going on, so little of it has sunk in. That’s the magic thing about a city like London: you can go to an incredible show and, once it’s over, there’s no time for post-gig depression (a real thing!) because there’s always something else amazing coming up. Since my last post, I’ve gone to a massive comedy show at Royal Albert Hall, a TV show taping at the BBC Television Centre (which I’d been to twice in 2011, and which was sadly in its final days on this more recent visit), and a gig at the Camden Barfly. I’ve met/re-met multiple people I admire like crazy. I’ve viewed three rooms in flats, and been rejected for two. Yesterday morning, I had a group interview for a job at an adorable tea shop, and I have a trial market stall shift in Camden this Thursday. Tonight I’m going to view another room. Tomorrow night I’m going to that Tatty Devine Holi party. I’ve socialized, I’ve had quiet nights, I’ve made plans far in advance, and I’ve made impromptu plans. And no wonder I’m tired; I’ve been here less than two weeks and I’ve barely stopped going at all. I’ve done about ten times as much than I would back home. It’s been amazing, and it can only get better once I have a job and a place. I’ll be able to spend more time enjoying this situation I’ve thrown myself into, and less time worrying that I’ll never accomplish anything. I am feeling significantly better than I was before yesterday, though. It feels like things are finally starting to happen. And when I say “finally”, I must remind you that to me it feels like I’ve been here for ages.
I have lots of photos coming, once I take the time to touch them up and everything. I’ll dedicate a post or two to the gigs I’ve been to already, because they deserve writing about, and I don’t have any attention span of which to speak at the moment.
Those of you at home: I’m thinking of you a lot, and I miss you so very, very much.
Those of you here: I’m glad to be here with you. It’s been amazing, and I’m excited for the endless adventures yet to come.
Just lots of love to everyone, okay?