I Moved to London! One Month Update

I’ve tried to write this blog a few times now, but I keep getting carried away in the details, and then it gets unmanageable-level long… so, this is what I have to say after officially reaching one month in the UK, all in bullet form to try to keep it as short as humanly possible for me:

  • The Brits are some of the nicest people I’ve ever encountered. I can’t utter a single complaint about my time here, because basically everywhere I’ve been I’ve found a nice person to help me with what I needed. Whether it was my countless bank visits to try setting up my bank account, my apartment search, the people I encounter on a daily basis, etc. I feel truly welcome here. Thank you England! (writing this as an American expat on 4th of July just… the irony writes itself).
  • Everyone that finds out I moved here from Miami asks “why?!” followed up by “how are you dealing with the weather?” and it’s hilarious to me. I HATE being hot, I hate sweating, I hate the heat, and I’m just not made for warm climates. I am living my best life in this British summer that took its sweet time to appear, where there’s lots of sun but a chill breeze. It’s my perfect, ideal climate. We’ll see how I feel in January/February when #WinterIsHere, but I think I’ll be fine.
  • I’m so beyond proud of myself. I knew it was ballsy to move alone, but I just kept thinking of all the people that leave Venezuela or conflict areas, with no guarantees, no money, nothing. Yes, I left the comfort of my home, but to go to a place where I already had a job, knew the language, and would just have to settle in. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it also doesn’t qualify as unimaginable as what others have had to endure. But going through the motions of settling in quicker than most is not what I’m most proud of. I have gone out of my comfort zone and gone beyond the standard needs to not only get settled but try and build a life here. I’ve tried to make friends, I’ve gone to festivals, concerts, movies, plays, fitness groups, bars, etc. all alone. That hasn’t been easy, and it’s what gives me the most pride. I’m an introverted homebody with *some* extroverted party girl tendencies, but the former is stronger within, so it’s taken a LOT for me to keep doing it.
  • I thought I knew more about London, but honestly I’m basically surprised on a daily basis with new areas I hadn’t heard of, places to see, phrases to learn, etc. I am learning so much about London, and I’m learning almost as much about myself. It’s been a really great learning experience so far, and I can’t wait for what’s to come.
  • I’m not as homesick as I thought I would be. I miss my family, I miss my friends, but technology is a blessing that has helped me stay connected to all the people I love, managing the distance as well as could be. I can’t imagine how people moved decades ago when the best way to communicate was snail mail that took months to arrive. I love FaceTiming my family and receiving calls, texts, comments, even packages from my friends, all of which has kept me strong. The one thing I miss the most are hugs. I’m a huge touchy-feely person, and nothing feels like a good, genuine, heartfelt hug like so many of the ones I received when I left. My friends and family really filled up my hug-tank before leaving, so I’m thankful because truly it’s what I feel like I’m lacking in most here. Looking forward to building those friendships here that can feel like a hug from home soon enough.
  • Support comes from where you least expect it. People have reached out to me upon seeing my posts on social media that I haven’t spoken to in years to encourage me and cheer me on, many of whom have also moved themselves. It’s been very eye-opening to see everyone who cares, and I appreciate it beyond what I can say with words ❤

And I think that’s about where I should end this. I’m so thankful to all of you who have reached out and stayed in touch and checked up on me throughout these past weeks. It’s meant the world. I’m so thankful for my job and my colleagues who have been so understanding with the move. I’m so fulfilled by all I’ve experienced, and excited for all that is to come. I’ll do another post with a summary of all the things I’ve done so far, what I’ve liked, what I haven’t, etc. just to keep things digestible. Love you all!

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I’m Moving! Welcome to my own personal #Brexit

You want the tea, the whole tea, and nothing but the tea, so help you gawd? (*tea* has never been more appropriate, haha, UK I’m READY for ya!)

Hello friends! A Facebook status wasn’t enough to capture all of this, so here we are. First, let’s get the Q&A out of the way, based on FAQ I’ve received as I’ve told people about my move:

  1. Omg you’re moving to London? Why?
    • I’ve been thinking about moving away and having that experience of starting over for the past six years, and just didn’t get a concrete plan that made sense until now. I almost went to France to get a Master’s… until I remembered I didn’t like school.
  2. What are you going to do for work?
    • Just as I was looking into my move, Nytro Marketing (the company I work for) was looking for talent. It just so happens that my desire to move perfectly fit with the fact that all Nytronians work remotely so I could do my job from anywhere AND there was demand for support from customers in the UK, so it all fell into place seamlessly.
  3. Where are you going to live?
    • I don’t know. I have never been to London before, which makes this move all the more awesome/crazier. I have only acquaintances there, no one I feel comfortable reaching out to. Anyway, you can’t rent a place without a bank account. My plan is to get there, stay at an Air B&B type of place for a bit until I find an area I like and then get myself a *flat*. (ready I tell ya)
  4. How long are you going for?
    • I don’t know. I’m leaving, I have no concrete plans to return or stay within a set timeline. Depending on work and how I feel once I’ve been there for some time, I’ll decide.

Now that the basics are out of the way, I can share a little more about what it’s been like to make this happen. I made the decision to leave back in September of 2017. At the time, I didn’t know where I was going, all I knew is that I had the support and encouragement of my parents. My top choices were: Bogota (most of my family is in Colombia, I love the weather, and I felt it was enough of a move yet still close, so it wasn’t completely terrifying), Canada (love the healthcare, and I have been before so it seemed familiar and close geographically), Europe (the only two places I considered moving to in Europe were France and England. France is one of my favorite places in the world and I’ve dreamt of going back ever since I lived there in 2005, but my French is RUSTY AF, so I didn’t want to add a language barrier to the difficulty of the move. That made England the European top contender), and Australia. Australia was the most far-fetched, literally because it’s so far, but I genuinely thought about it because 1. English and 2. It seems like they have a great quality of life, so why not? My dad was keen on Europe from the beginning, but I didn’t want him to sway me. I forget sometimes parents know you better than you know yourself…

As the months went by, I went through a roller coaster of emotions, mind-changes, mood swings, and action plans. At one point, I actually found a company that had offices in a few countries including Colombia & England, I loved what they stood for. They had an opening in Bogota that perfectly encompassed my experience and strengths, and I thought this would be the ideal slingshot to get to London, kind of like a slow move towards what I wanted, but paced out and it made me feel less fearful of the prospect of moving. I interviewed with them and moved along in the process… and that’s when I realized I was cheating myself and extending the inevitable. I wanted to be in London, and I knew it deep down, but I resisted it. It took a looooot of talking through with the best sounding boards to ever be – my mom and dad – but I finally faced myself and withdrew from the candidate selection process for this company. I was honest about my why, and they told me to keep them in mind if I made it to London.

Why London? Well, there’s no specific answer. I have never been, but there are two places in the world that always called to me before visiting and for no particular reason: Chicago and London. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Chicago twice now, and I still don’t know what draws me to it, but it’s there. London I have a little bit more of a connection with. Though these are by no means qualifiers for a reason to move, I have always been mesmerized by UK artists. Ed Sheeran is my favorite singer. I have a very deep obsession with Amy Winehouse that I share with my dad, and of course Adele reigns supreme. JK Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise. My favorite actor is James McAvoy, and don’t get me started on what Idris Elba does to my hormones. I worship Kate Beckinsale. Seems all my favorites come from the other side of the pond. But I digress…

Back to square one, I started looking at job postings in the UK, blogs about how moving there is so hard (so discouraging, I would read a blog, close my computer, get in the fetal position and wrap myself in my blankets and doubts of how I would make this happen). But life works in funny ways and sometimes what you want can work its way to you while you’re lost in the search. As I mentioned in the Q&A, Nytro had its needs and I had mine, and they just so happened to fit perfectly and we found each other in that intersection. We were both honest from the beginning, and it’s been a dream to work for and with these amazing professionals that encouraged me every step of the way, offered more help than I could’ve asked for, and constantly proved that things happen how and when they’re meant to.

So here we are. I’m writing this to help me process it all, because I don’t think I have. It’s been close to a year since I knew where I was going and how I would get there, to the point where some of my friends don’t believe that I’m leaving and said they’d stop asking until I booked my flight. Well, cha ching y’all. It’s booked.

Some things I’m excited about/I’ve focused on to reassure myself I’ll be fine:

  1. I truly hate being hot, so I’m happy about getting to experience a predominantly colder climate. I got an awesome winter-appropriate puffer jacket last Black Friday, part of the little by little move.
  2. I’ve heard that the lack of sunshine can trigger depression a bit and since I’m definitely a sensitive human, I’ve looked into SAD Lamps, especially for the winter time. Hopefully since I’m arriving in “summer,” I’ll have time to acclimate slowly.
  3. You know when you’re aware of something, you see it everywhere? Ever since I knew London was “it,” I feel like London is mentioned in every song/movie/show, it’s INSANE. Even when I was looking for the puffer jackets, the one I bought was from London Fog. I couldn’t avoid it if I tried. On my most recent trip as I was going through the security line, I ended up striking conversations with the people around me, they were all visiting or living in London and telling me how much I’d love it. It felt like the universe reassuring me.
  4. Zumba. You better believe I’ve been following London studios and instructors for months and one of the things I want to take into consideration when finding where to live is the proximity to gyms that offer classes. This plus my work will be the only familiar things I get to take with me, so I’m hyper aware of making that a central point to my search.
  5. UK TV! I am OBSESSED with all the content the BBC puts out, and I just can’t wait to be exposed to that programming 24/7.

I want to make a point that throughout this journey, one of the most important factors that contributed to it was honesty. I had to be honest with myself, with the companies I interviewed with, and with the people closest to me in order for things to fall into place. And I wouldn’t have made it this far without it.

I think this post is already long enough, so I’m ending this by saying: I’m ecstatic and terrified, all at once. It feels like I’m doing what I’m supposed to, and what matters is that I’m open to whatever this experience brings me, which I assume will be a lot of personal and professional growth. With that, I say cheerio to you all and will leave you with one request: I am TERRIBLE at reaching out to people and staying in touch. If you ever think of me, please say hi! I promise I probably have thought about it but won’t do it for some odd psychological reason…

If you’d like me to document big moments of my journey here, any challenges, setbacks, etc. beyond what one would normally share in social media, let me know!