There’s this part of my brain that demands that I only talk about the positive parts of this, only remember the good. But that’s not really realistic, is it, particularly in the context of life changes? I pride myself on being very honest (years of not being able to lie even in the context of board games might spring to mind for some of you back home), and it’s not very honest to run a blog like this and neglect to mention the moments of doubt. The moments of homesickness.
And that’s just the thing. The first visit I made to London in 2006, I was astounded to notice that I didn’t want to go home, but that I missed the people I had at the time enough to want them to come to me. Not a selfish way of thinking at all, right…? I couldn’t get over it, though. Alone in a different country, so many unfamiliar things and unfamiliar places, and all of it would be absolutely perfect if only I had the right company. If only the people I knew and loved best were there to enjoy it with me.
Maybe it’s partially the fact that I’d been socializing less this past week than I had the previous ones. The friends I do have have been busy, are out of town, etc., etc. I’ve been spending a bit more time alone and wondering if I’m getting it all wrong. If the fact that no one’s rented me a room or magically presented me with a job is all down to me and not just a part of the process of moving across the ocean with very little set in place.
I have a cold at the moment and along with it has admittedly come some melancholy. When you’re sick, all you really want is your standard comforts, and those aren’t really anywhere to be found here. Certainly I could find some new ones, and will over time. But privacy is impossible sharing a room with a few other people. It gets better once you start to know them, once you start to build a rapport with them, but it’s still not privacy. One of these days, though. One of these days, I will have a room of my own. I will be able to settle in and not worry so damn much. I’ll be able to be comfortable. And until then I have to just deal with feeling under the weather, because I’ll never get anywhere if I just wait for things to happen.
I’ve been meeting a lot of pretty excellent people here, and in the most unexpected places. Of course the people I meet will skyrocket once I have flatmates, and once I have a job, but apart from the expected hostel folks, I’ve met some stellar people: at comedy shows; on the tube; in a vintage shop; & at a viewing for a room I didn’t end up getting (although I was apparently a contender, which is a comforting fact). It’s astounding, really. I guess I’ve known a bunch of the people back home for a long enough while that I can’t really remember how to meet people. I guess I just have to… meet… people? Just let it happen, and don’t fight it.
I know I’m going to be okay, and I just need to keep telling myself this very thing until I believe it. There are moments where what I’m doing feels like the exact opposite of progress. Today is three weeks exactly that I’ve been here, and therefore at least three weeks since my last good night’s sleep. But I’ll keep fighting on, and I’ll do what I need to to survive here. Because even when I’m homesick, there’s a giddy excitement that comes with knowing that, when I do fly home, it’ll be to visit. I may be subtly picking up traces of an accent, and only my friends and family will notice. I may be a significantly better version of myself by the time I do get home. In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Leslie who’ll come out of fighting with suitcases (so many!) and figuring things out on her own, the Leslie who’s already removed herself from everything she’s ever known in the hopes that something amazing will come out of it? That Leslie can do anything.
THAT LESLIE IS A CHAMPION, GUYS. Ahem. Sorry for the yelling there.
Speaking of some weird, improved version of me, I feel, on the flipside of homesickness and melancholy, as if I ought to mention the comedy gig I went to last night with my friend Sam. It was a perfect example of one of the reasons I’ve wanted to live in London, this unbelievably tiny basement room of a pub with a few established comedians trying new material. We opted to sit fairly near the low stage, which somehow ended up with the host Harry Deansway asking me where I’m from, which ended up with the audience not only applauding me for following my dream!!!, but also my making the audience laugh a bit. It was weird, guys. Especially since, in spite of all my dressing like a weirdo and making myself really stand out visually, I tend not to want to draw attention to myself in that sort of a situation. I don’t want people to see how awkward I am in front of crowds (says the girl who went to school for theatre). It got weirder still when, during his set, Rich Fulcher (who I previously saw a couple of days into living here) asked if anyone had a catchphrase, and I raised my hand and revealed my stupid joke-catchphrase which only exists because my best friend Nidal and I think it’s funny for some reason. If that wasn’t enough, the night got even weirder when the host wanted people to compete onstage for a set of tickets for next show and picked me, “the Canadian,” to go up without my volunteering. So… yeah. London confuses the heck outta me, to be honest, but luckily nothing ever has time to sink in.
Honestly, though. I have so many exciting things coming up at this point that I don’t know what to do about it. And that’s without the £5 comedy nights and things I end up doing unexpectedly! London is ridiculous.
That’s… about all I have to say for right now? Oh, except a casual mention that comments make me feel really stupidly happy. Y’know, in case you wanted to make me really stupidly happy, friends!