We came across this swirly, girly drawing over at Pinterest, c/o HIBRID, which says, “Don’t Quit Your Daydream.” It’s easy enough for one to write out, but sometimes it’s just as easy to forget.
It’s always been my dream since being a teenager to live and work abroad for one year, specifically in London, England. Not for the rest of my life. Just one and done, at least that was the plan.
And, as we know, plans change.
I didn’t quite achieve that dream, but 1/4 of it… having lived in London for three months.
My first stop was in Chelsea, staying on Kings Road. I was in town as part of a grad school program for five weeks. As we neared the end, I interviewed for a freelance job in online book publishing and went to see flats (apartments) via GumTree.com (the British version of CraigsList.org).
The day came, my grad school classmates were packing up to return to the states, and, I was like, “Oh, I’m staying.”
I said it so simply because I thought they already knew. I had booked my return trip two weeks after the program ended, thinking I’d travel… but, since I was already there, I made the stay a little longer.
My classmate, who I shared a room with, was like, “What do you mean you’re staying!!”
I’ll see you in two months, friend!! She was speechless.
I went to Barcelona for a few days with a different classmate, which was a slight disaster, but there were some learning points, and when I got back I headed north. I stayed with a friend for a week in Angel, which is an area in North Islington, who I know from NYC, but was coincidentally in London with his fancee WSJ job. tehe.
Okay, a week later, it was time for me to move in. I had gone to see the apartment during the day with a real estate broker, located in Shoreditch, but no one was there. The apartment was fine, but, emm, I’d like to meet the flatmates before turning up with a suitcase and pillows (I traveled light in those days). So, I went back one evening, and, again, it was totally fine.
In this situation the roommates didn’t make the decision, it was the real estate person and really his goal was to fill the space and get a check. It didn’t matter who it was.
“Me? You picked me! I passed another roommate interview??” Jk.
Okay, I digress. So, I had been to the apartment twice, so you’d think I have a lay of the land, met the roomies-to-be, and the next week moved myself and stuff in.
Oh, I have a picture! Here it is:
And, theeeeeeen, things took a turn. The next morning, bright and early, like 6am, I woke up to motorcycle engines revving, over and over.
Alright, alright, no big deal. It’s a startling way to wake up, but started my day, headed out, and when I got back, all was right.
So, guess what happened the next morning? Motorcycle engines.
Of course, one’s like, “Woah, lots of motorcycles in this area. And all parked outside my bedroom window.”
Nope. Nope. Not just motorcyclists taking a break. I was neighbors with a shop that fixed motorcycles, hence the revving of the engines. All morning. All day, if I was home. And into the early evening.
Not to sound completely ridiculous, but when my sleep is disrupted, well, I can be a little ridiculous.
I was laying in bed, pleading, “Be quiet! Be quiet! Stop!”
It wasn’t all that ridiculous because they couldn’t hear me — it was very loud, hence my distress — and I suppose I burned off some energy.
So, my little dream had turned into a little bit of dread. I won’t go so far to call it a nightmare, because, well, London Town was still outside.
I just had to get there without losing my head.
So, while I didn’t achieve the year-long dream, I scratched that itch. All I was wishing for was to go beyond the holiday period… and, it worked. I had an address. A cell phone. And, people would come up to me asking for directions, with my response of course, being, “Oh! Does it look like I know?”
And, I did. I knew my way around.
I also learned, no matter what, if it’s a year-long lease, a two-month stay, ask questions… like, “Is there a motorcycle shop next door?”
There were a few standout moments from my extended stay, which I will share in other posts, as I don’t want this to turn into a novel-esque drag out of a story. But, here are some highlights to look forward to:
Like the time I was going to go see a play in the West End but instead ended up at a members-only casino.
Like the time I put an ad up on Gumtree.com for a concierge service called Girl Friday… at your service.
I feel like I’m missing some major moments. Well, that’s okay, no rush… the stories aren’t going anywhere.
What’s your daydream — are you going to make it happen?