When I moved here last summer, I had no idea how London would change me. I never thought one day, I’ll be here, in my studio in Central London, writing about how this year and a half has changed so much of myself, of how I think about the life and the world.
I am no stranger to moving. I had be moving since I was a kid, first with my dad, then to Seattle for college, then Southern and Northern California. I was either too young to have an opinion about it, or just excited about the new adventure. But moving to London was something different, I didn’t plan it and was not looking forward to it.
Before moving to London, I had be in the west coast in the States for 6 years. I had a great job, amazing coworkers, and a boyfriend. This whole “working abroad for a year” was not only unexpected, but also disruptive, at least that’s how it looked like back then. It means I would have to leave behind the life that I was content with, and start in a new country I knew so little about.
I have been to London twice before, both time for work. I liked the city as an outsider. It was everything I imagine about Harry Potter, my favorite book series as a kid. It was cold and wet like Seattle, where I spent 3 years in college, so I’m not too worried about the weather. But I had no idea what it’s like to live there. I was working till the last day while my US visa was still valid, because I didn’t even want to think about leaving.
On the day I left, I carried two big suitcases and two small ones. I waved in tears to my boyfriend at the time, reluctantly walked to the gate, and spent 10 hours in tears on the plane, flying over America and the Atlantic, and finally, landed on a small island full of unknowns. In a way, it was just like 7 years ago when I jumped on a plane from Shanghai to Seattle for college. But it felt so different. I was 18 at the time, and was so excited to leave home and just go on an adventure to pursue my American dream. This time, I had no idea what’s waiting for me ahead.