Yep, two years ago today my plane touched down on UK soil after an overnight flight. I remember the terribly tearful departure from O’Hare airport, hugging and kissing our goodbyes to my parents before promptly grabbing a beer near our gate to help settle down and try to grasp the reality ahead of us.
I remember watching the cute English rooftops whir by through the windows of a painfully expensive black taxi taking us from Heathrow airport to our Kensington hotel, taking in that this was to become familiar landscape in due time.
I remember sitting on one of our larger cases on the sidewalk outside the hotel we were going to call “home” for an indefinite amount of time, watching our luggage as my husband checked us in. The sun had managed to peep through the grey clouds, and I almost felt warm as I scanned the row of identical Victorian columns lining the street. “I live here,” I kept thinking to myself.
I remember after schlepping all our stuff up that narrow stairway to our teeny tiny hotel room (true to “cozy,” “quaint,” and “vintage” London), we set out to wander the local streets. I specifically recall Cromwell Road and Kensington High Street, passing by Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History and Victoria & Albert museums in South Kensington before ultimately winding our way back toward Earls Court (as if we had any idea where we were at the time!) and hitting the Devonshire Arms pub for dinner. We toasted our pints of cider, and I remember eating the risotto (which is what I order every time I’ve gone there since—it’s deelish!).
I remember, at some point during that walk, my husband thanking me for doing this with him.
And I remember just feeling the unreality of it all, that I wasn’t just visiting this time, but staying. I remember blocking the fear of all the unknowns and the heartache of all I’d left behind to just try and embrace the adventure of it.
No, relocating to London wasn’t an easy life decision nor was it any easier to actually carry out. When I remember that day, I think of how all I had were three bags, plus one computer in a box, plus one new husband, plus zero job, plus zero place to live, plus zero idea in hell where life was going to take me us from there. I didn’t even know what the next day would bring. Yet today—two years later—I toast the fact that there are no longer any “zeros” and only countless “pluses” since then, as there will be for you when it’s time to make your own London move. Cheers, London!