Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Here I am, in London.
Here I am, and it's the oddest thing, living someplace new. The morning I left, as my mother was driving me to the airport at arse o'clock in the morning, I wondered out loud who had given me the right to make decisions this enormous about my life. In that moment, it seemed entirely incongruous and somehow completely wrong that I could just apply to university and buy a plane ticket and then exist in a place entirely new.
I have now lived in London for two weeks. Mostly I have been drinking a lot, sleeping a little, meeting far too many new people, attending lectures. They shipped us off to a camp in Sussex last weekend, doing experimental archaeology. It was crisp and cold and beautiful, with hot tea and warm cider, muddy clothes, bonfires, digging, flint-knapping, painting with ochre and umber.
Things that I have learnt thus far:
It is tough to be surrounded by new people all the time. It is tough knowing that the people who care for me unconditionally are far away.
Visiting a city is completely different from living in a city.
The live music scene here is ah-mazing and I will bankrupt myself by Christmas at this rate.
Grocery shopping in London is weird. Buying alcohol in London is weird. Public transport in London is weird. Trying to find specialty shops (camping supplies, piercing studios) in a new city is a nightmare.
Wagamama is my love and my saviour.
If you're lacking in confidence and need to put on a brave face and meet new people, wear a snapback and accept absolutely no bullshit from anyone.
Autumn creeps in much later here than it does in Helsinki. Leaves are still green and days are warm and sunsets are one swift glorious descent into darkness.
And. Most importantly of all, two things:
Apparently moving abroad is truly that simple. It is, when you dig down to the bones (and after all, that's what I'm here to do, in more ways than one), a matter of making decisions and buying plane tickets. And all of a sudden you're existing somewhere entirely new.
Finally: I am the first to admit I had my doubts about archaeology, especially the fieldwork bit. But after last weekend, after my first lectures, I will very tentatively say this: I might have found my field. I might have struck gold. Here I am in my tiny shitty university accommodation, with the smell of smoke still clinging onto my clothes and with the last traces of umber beneath my fingernails, and somehow it seems right, in so many different ways.