That pretty much sums up the last month or so. I’m basically moving to London and things have moved very quickly in the past few weeks, so I haven’t gotten down to telling everyone yet. It’s not even like this is news that everyone – i.e. all the people I know – need to be aware of. It wouldn’t make much difference to friends in Singapore whether I’m in London or Belfast, and the people in Belfast who don’t yet know aren’t people I see particularly often either.
I still feel a bit guilty about not getting the news out though, but I don’t really feel like I can deal with the time spent answering the inevitable questions that will follow or having to turn down requests to meet up before I go. Or maybe I’m just flattering myself to think that people would be bothered with all that. Ha.
I’m naturally excited about the move, now that I’m right in the flow of things and have gotten over having made a difficult decision. I’d hardly blogged in such a long time as Belfast, being such a small city, had gotten stale fairly quickly. One weekday is pretty much the same as other weekdays and one weekend is similar to other weekends – those days flowed into weeks into months that were united in their sameness and blurred into an indistinguishable mesh that I looked back on and struggled to recall what notable thing I did or saw – because there usually was none.
And perhaps things might not be too different once I settle into London. But even Belfast was interesting for about a year, so I’m quite confident that I’ll be good for London for at least that length of time. I may not even blog more, since I won’t have to deal with the boring but hugely frustrating administrative matters relating to setting up life in a new country this time.
However, I’ll be returning to life in a proper-sized city after more than 3.5 years in a tiny one. I don’t know what I’ll make of it and it’d be interesting to find out. The English aren’t like the Northern Irish and London is an entirely different beast, but at the same time the city doesn’t feel any different from how it was when I was an exchange student there 10 years ago. I’ve also been back and forth to London a few times a year over the past 3 years, so this time I’m just continuing that trajectory on a more permanent basis.
In so many ways it currently feels like I’m returning to something familiar – hell, even my new job will be similar to a previous one I had – so it’s less like a brand new total shake-up than stepping out of a sluggish fog into a fresh and invigorated life.
There will be so many things to do, different types of cuisine to eat, a variety of things to see and experience, countless museums to wander around – in Belfast there is nothing new and nowhere to go on weekends. Sure, the restaurant and cafe scene here is thriving – but how many cafes and restaurants serving generic British/Irish food focusing on fresh, quality local produce can you visit before they start looking and tasting the same? It’s not even like menus vary widely between restaurants in Belfast, as you can always count on certain staples like pork belly, steak and Strangford Lough mussels.
Of course, life in London, while different, will bring its own set of challenges. I’ve read that it’s hard to make friends in that city and I know the peak hour commutes are a force to be reckoned with. But you know what? Every new beginning is an unwritten future, which means that until proven otherwise, there is hope for a better life. And that is enough.