Friday the 9th marks my one year anniversary of being in London. I can recall the day I arrived so vividly, that I’m freaked out at the thought of it being a year ago. My aunt warned me ”time goes by faster and faster the older you get”, and today I couldn’t agree more.
I remember the day that I flew out of Montreal at 10:00 p.m. I spent the day with my mom, we ran around the town, as I had some last minute chores to take care of. I was a nervous wreck and took it out on her, yet she was so understanding. If I was one to say ”bless her”, I’d say it here. That day was her birthday. I flew away with a premeditated sense of nostalgia. I knew very well I was choosing to walk away from something that I will never live again, but was excited at the thought of this experience, and so I dozed off for the duration of the flight.
Morning came and I got off the plane. My friend and flatmate was waiting for me at the gates. ”We will just take the Piccadilly line all the way to Covent Garden (where our flat was).” I remember assuming people actually lived in places like Covent Garden, not realising the luck I had! We walked through the busy market towards Maiden Lane, and there it was: my new home, ironically above a Canadian pub. The city was sunny, the street was busy with tourists, locals, I adored every glimpse of that liveliness.
That day we went for pizza, and more jet lagged than ever, I went for a nap. I woke up at 5:00 p.m. disoriented “We must go to tuktuks for dinner”, my flatmates informed me. Little did I know at that point that we’d be regulars at that place. And so we walked to Soho. I couldn’t really eat, but I remember so clearly how different that restaurant and those streets looked that day. This city was a labyrinth to me. Isn’t it rather funny how perception of certain places changes with familiarity, morphing it into a whole new place? Your eyes slowly adapt to the novelty, and you start forming patterns in your brain, rearranging the view in ways that make sense. I remember going to bed that night, unable to sleep, half the reason being the jet lag, and the other half being mixed feelings of excitement, wonder and nervousness.