As I write this I am forcibly reminded of one of the reasons I didn’t want to start a blog: I just can’t be bothered to write everything again when I’m already telling it in person, on the phone, over Skype, or through Facebook messages. By the end of all those conversations I ask myself, who’s even reading my blog? The answer is Future Larissa. Maybe.
I spent over five months in Germany going through various stages of productivity. First I caught up on over a year’s worth of The Hockey News I hadn’t read. Then I read a bunch of bookmarks and watched a bunch of videos I had saved. I finished A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. I biked 13 km to and from the gym almost every day, went on a trip to Denmark with my aunt and uncle, cycled to France a couple times, bought groceries for my Oma, applied for jobs, and sometimes I even cooked for myself so I could eat a bit healthier. Well, months without a social life, without an income, without any reason to leave the house…they really start to get to you. There were too many snails on the path so I started to bike to the gym later in the day. Then it got cold and dark and rainy, so I started to drive there. Then my Oma started baking cakes every weekend and I lost the self-control to say no every time. I let the healthy food I bought go bad. I spent money on things I didn’t really need. And once I started getting even fewer responses about jobs despite living closer to the places I was applying, I decided it was time to do something to shake everything up again. So I booked a flight to London for the beginning of November.
The only time I’d visited the city before was on two occasions in 2012: the Diamond Jubilee in June, and a couple weeks before the Olympics in July when I went to see Swedish House Mafia. Everyone warned me London is expensive, the people are rude, etc. but I didn’t see any of it because everyone had reason to celebrate. Spending money meant being a part of the city’s history. All my memories about the city are so wonderfully pleasant, I was extremely excited to go back. This was despite learning that the cheapest rooms ran about £500 a month, the minimum wage is lower than the cost of living, and really no one wears wellies in the city which is a huge bummer ’cause I hate having wet feet but I do like to be stylish. But alas.
I’m not going to lie, leaving my Mom at the airport was hard. I almost cried in the security queue, even though I’d been whinging about life in small town Germany for months and was finally doing something productive towards getting a job. At least Germany is a lot closer than Canada, and I was planning on going back to visit over Christmas.
Well, life in London has been less stellar than I’d hoped. I had a few viewings for rooms lined up before I arrived, but usually I was too picky about the neighbourhood because I’d seen much more desirable descriptions for other rooms. The viewing that I was very much looking forward to started with me going to the wrong address (note: this is why British people LOVE postcodes, as there is apparently a finite number of street names and they can repeat) and ending with me knocking and ringing the bell of an empty house and crying while I walked back to the tube station, never hearing from the agent again.
So for the past week and a half I’ve been sleeping in various hostels (and occasionally the rooms I’ve been shown), at times worrying I’ll have to spend the night in a 24-hour McDonalds, and lugging around my heavy bags carrying everything I deemed essential to my life. If you are ever planning on staying in a hostel in London, you should be prepared for 8 trillion narrow steps up to your room, so maybe don’t have a 25 kg suitcase to carry up balanced on your hip.
The reason it took me so long to write a post about this is because for the past few days, every time I thought of my experience in London so far, I was on the verge of tears. I could barely type an email to my Mom or a Facebook message to my Dad without crying. I seem to have gotten over that for the time being at least, so I will be sure to write more about my stay here, however long it is.