Well, this photo is the new view I have when I open my curtains in the morning. Slightly different to the ones I’ve been waking up to over the last nearly two years! There’s even a Starbucks which I hate just as much as McDonald’s. The US should really just stay in the US. However, it’s a nice friendly reminder that I’m back on land. Charming!
That’s right! No blue skies, no sun brutally hitting my face to tell me to get up before the bed gets soaked in my sweat. No gentle movement of the waves, speed boats flying by or music blaring to make me smile in the morning. That was then and this is now. No sense in dwelling in it as it won’t change anything.
I can’t sit up and stick my head out the window (not that I would want too!!) and breath in the lovely fresh air. Instead I wake up freezing, afraid to stick my head out from under the covers and have a throbbing sore throat from the mould that I am no doubt ingesting in this damp room. Welcome back to London!
Yesterday, which was my first full day back, was tough. I went to the supermarket and instantly got tears in my eyes because it wasn’t the Carulla that I had gotten used to in Cartagena. I distracted myself by wandering around the clothing section looking for warm pyjamas and slippers. It worked. Things have changed a lot since I was last here 20 months ago so I spent time observing that. Then the sadness came back as I was in the fruit and vegetable aisle. I was comparing the price, quality and selection to that in Cartagena and found myself yearning to be back there. I yearned to be back with Captain Cool cooking together in our beautiful little boat and eating al fresco in the cockpit. I even had the thought, “Fine, I don’t care. I’ll just go back!! I have no idea what I’m doing and at least I know what I’m getting myself into in Cartagena.” Luckily that urge was quickly squashed when I remembered the unbearable heat, how I felt sick all of the time and the increasing disagreements CC and I were having about a certain life choice of his.
Instead, I remembered how when I was in Colombia, I used to think, “Oh how I miss London! It’s such a great city!” Granted, I only wanted to come back for a visit, but the thought, “Nothing is permanent,” entered my mind and I was in complete agreement. I thought my sea life was permanent and look where I am! The truth is, nothing is permanent and that offers me comfort at this time. I know this feeling of being an alien, uncomfortable where I am and totally uncertain about where I’m going to live and work is only temporary. Thank goodness!! I reassured myself that this phase is only a part of the process to get me back on the sea and I happily browsed up and down all of the aisles. I smiled at the foods I used to eat, how the packaging has changed and marvelled at all of the foods that my stomach can digest. Such selection!
After wandering up and down each aisle re-familiarising myself with English products, I bounced to the checkout, only to realise the only difference in my shopping trolley from Carulla, was coconut oil and almond butter. Oh well, old habits are hard to break, eh?
The truth is, London is a great city and if I allow myself to enjoy the now I will be one happy Londoner. Sure many people complain about the weather, but actually there is so much to offer it’s not even noticeable. I don’t enjoy permanently shivering, but I lived with it before without complaining, so I will re-adjust. There are a million activities to do in this city in all weather conditions for all pocket book sizes. When you walk down the street, there is always someone out and about. Sure there are a ton of cars, taxis and buses, but there are also tons of people on the streets. This is something that the majority of the cities in the USA lacks.
I love walking amongst people. We all have a common purpose of getting somewhere. They want to do it as quickly as possible, I’m still on sea time and to be honest, never want to leave sea time. The idea of going back to a life of planning every single minute of the day, having so many activities going on that I need to set alarms to remind myself and frantically rushing to get from A to B doesn’t appeal to me anymore. London doesn’t have to be like that. But I’m glad there are people like that because it reminds me of how much I’ve grown. Not only that, but it brings a certain energy to the city. Sure people are in a rush and staring at their phones as they walk, but chances are if you stop them to ask a question, they will take the time to help you or reject you. It’s nice to know that even in a big city most people are willing to help.
Then there is the true gold of being back in London, my friends. The amount of “Welcome back!” “I’m glad you’re back!” “When can we meet up?” texts was overwhelming. I went from having friends on a text only basis at certain times of the day due to different time zones, to having friends in real life that I can actually see and hug. It’s amazing! I have been moved to tears on many occasions. I guess I had become so accustomed to not having friends near me that I forgot just how many good ones I have in my life and how great it is to spend face to face time with them.
I’m grateful that I can almost see the river from my bedroom window (another reason to hate Starbucks!), I have a tree that I can admire when I open my curtains and the river is a two minute walk away. I’m still connected with nature, just not as intensely.
I have a lot to do and I could easily spend my time panicking, but I know it will all be ok, so I’m just rolling with it. A job will come my way, a great housing opportunity will present itself and in the mean time I will enjoy being reunited with my friends. Some of whom I picked up along my travels! And if it all goes shit, I have two beautiful friends outside of London who have offered me their spare room if I need to get my feet on the ground. So really, what do I have to be worried or sad about? I’ve been kind to the universe, she knows what I want and it will all come to me when the time is right. Now I have to get going and enjoy a non virtual life 🙂