Life between cultures
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There’s a lot going on in my pathetic little head at the moment and I wanted to get it out in writing, wanted to be really open and share it all. Perhaps it’ll help people understand me and where I’m at. You know I’ve not kept up this blog, but I find it so cathartic to write and post, that it’s something I’m really going to devote time on from this point forward. So watch this space!
When I moved to London in ’94, it was on a whim really. I’d come over on holiday and was staying with a friend I’d made during his visit to Toronto the previous summer. Despite being born in the UK, I’d actually never been to London as my family is from southwest England – Devon & Cornwall. While on holiday, I was offered a job and it was such an exciting prospect to me, to up sticks and move to a city like London.
In the proceeding years, my family had broken apart. My parents, who always had a very stormy marriage, separated and divorced. They really shouldn’t have married, much less have had children. I lost contact with my dad in ’93 when they split. My mother, had become increasingly self-absorbed and irrational and it was tough to maintain much of a relationship with her. (We’ve since broken contact as well, back in 2005). I was single at the time too, so I really hadn’t any commitments to keep me in Canada. Perhaps in hindsight, part of the move was about running away from all of that. I’d also never taken up my Canadian citizenship, which also in hindsight was stupid.
The adjustment to life in London, was much more difficult than I’d anticipated. While we may speak more or less the same language, culturally it’s a much bigger gap than you might think. The first year or so was tough and then I met my ex and I settled into life here. We were together for 5 years and have stayed close friends since our split, which I initiated as he’d lost all interest in the relationship.
In the years that followed, I focussed on work more. Over time my career developed and I started to travel more and more, which is a real passion. In doing so I was fortunate to make more and more friends abroad, especially in the US, Canada and Australia.
Over the years too, I came to realise just how much I missed the great outdoors, the peace of it, the way I relax when I’m away from the hustle and bustle. Even in the countryside here, it’s very managed and there are people, in stark contrast to the remote, beautiful and serene country I grew up in, in Northern Ontario.
This background is all relevant to my current desire to move, so bear with me. In the last few years, especially, I’ve felt more and more like a fish out of water. While it’s true, that having been here for nearly 19 years, I’ve adjusted some, I still feel more at home when I get back over to Canada or the US. I went back to Canada in 2011 and spent three weeks close to where I grew up, sharing time with 3-4 good friends. That time, really ignited in me a desire to move back. I explored relocation at that time with my employer. They seriously considered it, but ultimately concluded my project’s focus for the next couple of years would be in Europe, so felt the timing wasn’t right. It took them 6 months to conclude this and it frustrated me. At the same time, I was getting frustrated by the lack of promotion opportunities. I’m a driven sort… I need to be challenged, to learn and to grow or I get bored.
I’ve also built up a great group of friends in the Boston area, via a chance meeting while on holiday in Madrid in 2011. Further, I was lucky enough to have an amazing 3-week holiday all over California in August last year, where I made yet more friends. And of course, I just had the week in Northern Arizona, Utah and Vegas. All of this has only re-enforced my desire to move. Of course holidays don’t bear much resemblance to real life, but I make friends so easily over there, whereas here it’s always as struggle.
So that leads me to now and the current job opportunity. So when I saw this come up, of course I jumped at the chance, pulled out the stops and am more determined than ever to move, if not with this job, another.
I also met a great guy while on holiday in Utah, that I like very much. However, my potential move is independent of these thoughts, for all the reasons I’ve spelt out before this. What I do see, is that it would make it more feasible for us to spend time together and really get to know each other.
Time will tell whether that can be the cherry on top to any move, it’s at a very early stage, but I can say that it’s been a very long time since I felt this much potential.
So there you have it… I know it has helped me to put these thoughts into words. Perhaps for friends that have taken the time to read this, you’ll have gained a greater insight into my character too.
It’s an exciting time, but also one fraught with uncertainties. I’m riding the wave, though!
I’m lucky to know you well enough to understand exactly what you mean. It’s true that London hasn’t been as good to you as it could’ve/should’ve been. Your determination is so very obvious and I, of course, wish you all the luck in whatever is around the corner.