When I first moved to London in January 2016 I clung to everything that reminded me of home. My step-mum would send me boxes of Tim Tams and jars of Vegemite every few months, I would seek out Australian beers at every pub I frequented and every person I met who was from Australia I quickly be-friended so I could reminisce about home and feel some kinship whilst navigating the strange land that is the United Kingdom.
Everywhere I went I found myself comparing it to home. ‘Well, this flat white is nice but it’s not how they make them in Perth’, I’d say to myself. Or, ‘Sure the Thames is stunning but you can’t swim in it like you can in the Swan River’. I was constantly belittling London, trying to dull its beauty by holding it to unrealistic expectations and critisizing it at every turn. I loved London, but I wasn’t letting myself see it for what it really was nor was I allowing myself the space and freedom of fully engaging with the city.
However, as time has gone by I have found myself subconsciously gripping less to the things that keep me connected to home and allowing myself to embrace this glorious city. I’ve found my favourite coffee shops and yoga studios. I swim in a glorious indoor pool every Thursday. Every Monday I go to the BEST organic store and buy snacks for the week and treat myself to a vegan chocolate orange milkshake. I keep an eye out for exhibits and events on and try to see as much of them as I can (a few weeks ago I went to a great one at the V+A about revolution in the 1960’s).
As my mindset has shifted I have found something else happening: I still miss home and appreciate it’s uniqueness, but I have also created a NEW home here in London. I feel more settled and rooted in this city than I ever did before. I no longer feel the need to slide in ‘by the way I’m Australian’ when I meet new people. If they ask, I tell (but most the time they don’t because I’ve developed a pretty thick English accent since I’ve been here). I feel less like a scared little mouse scuttering around scared of the city and longing for the luxuries of a home town, and more like a lion. Confident, assured, roaming and feasting upon all that life in a new city has to offer.
Moving to London has taught me that home doesn’t have to be where you come from. You can make a home anywhere, you just need to embrace the journey.