(this is a sappy read, you've been warned)
You might've noticed it's been longer than usual in between my blogposts, but I really wanted to think this one through. I moved to London on my own at 18, and I have just moved back to Norway for now, and I can't believe three years of London is already over. I'm not sure how to properly explain it, but I always felt comfortable in London. Even during my first week back in 2017, I had already made more friends in London than I ever did in Norway. I already felt so at home and at ease.
One of the reasons I wanted to move to London was to start from scratch. I wanted to erase the image I had gotten in my small Norwegian town, because it simply wasn't true anymore. The labels I got up until I was 15 seemed to stick to me, as if people didn't realise that we can change. I'm no longer the shy, quiet "loser" from 8th grade. And the fact that people wouldn't let me grow out of that image, even when I grew confidence in high school, really put me down. I grew out of my shell and my voice got stronger, but it still wasn't enough to break free of that label. I needed a fresh start, and I wanted to not be one of two asians in town. (To anyone from Norway, please don't be discouraged. I simply needed a fresh start where I could fully be myself. It's no one's fault.)
I'm already sorry if it feels like I didn't address you in this post, but please know that if we met in London, you did make an impact on my time here. I also figured making one big post about this would be better than lots of small ones.
I have tried to think about how I wanted to thank everyone who stepped into my life while in London. All these people who helped me feel at home in another country. The first people to thank are my friends from Ivy Hall (student accommodation). Especially the ones I shared a kitchen with. We might've had a disgustingly dirty kitchen, then again, can't blame anyone else but ourselves, but we managed to have an amazing time nonetheless. Everything from our little "Worldwide Nights" where we all made something from our background, to the times we all went out for drinks and dinner.
It was hard to stay in touch after we all moved out of accommodation, but not because we wanted to loose touch. Simply because we all had our own schedules and things going on. I remember when one of my friends from another group said "I don't think we'll be a group next year. We're all going to be in our own bubbles." It was sad to hear, but it makes perfect sense. I wish all of you the very best in the future, and I hope it makes you all happy.
FLATMATES & SCHOOL
During my second year in London I moved in with my flatmates Marina and Shraddha, both which I met at Ivy Hall. The immense sense of gratefulness I feel for having met them is insane. They are two very important reasons as to why London felt so much like home. We talk about all the important and not so important things, and they were there for me when I needed it. I just hope I was there for them as much as they where for me.
You're such a confident and strong woman. You love so deeply, and I know it doesn't always go the way you want it to, but I'm always just a phone call away. You're a real fighter and you always stand up for what you believe in and I admire that so much. Please never change, because you have no reason to. I love you, you deserve the best and I can't wait to see you next year.
You have the definition of puppy eyes, and you see the world through such cheerfulness. You're one of the kindest people I have met. And as the first close friend I made in London, you have made a definite impact on me. From the times we acted like we were having sleepovers every night, not even being able to brush our teeth alone, to the time we forgot we had a concert to attend. I love you and appreciate you, and I'm excited to see you at your wedding next year.
KRUSHIKA & MADALENA
Now how would I ever survive university without the two of you? The amount of times I ended up going to classes alone after you two overslept, and the amount of times we've tried to explain the word neoliberalism to each other is laughable. I love and appreciate the two of you so much, and I really cannot wait to see you two again in the future for a belated graduation celebration. We didn't even get to give each other a big hug as we got our diploma. I'll cheer for both of your success and health.
Moving to London, I thought my first year in university would be the best. Freshers month would be amazing, and it really was. But my last year was without a doubt my favourite year. I got to do so many things I didn't know I could. And although my graduation year ended very quietly, I still had a good time this year. I'm happy I did so many things in the beginning of this academic year, so I have something more to look back on than lockdowns.
Me and my friends managed to start an award winning society at my university, and through that I met such an incredible group of people. I never imagined I would meet this many kind people during my last year. I am forever grateful for the birthday surprise I got from you, and I don't think I can properly express how much I appreciated it. I'm sad I only got half a year with you all, and that our end-of-the-year parties got cancelled, but I promise to come back to catch up with everything.
Our sleepovers will never be forgotten. Although my parents believe we're too old for sleepovers, I will look forward to more in the future. Don't be too crazy without me ;)
I have always loved to dance, and this year I managed to do it more properly again through this dance crew. Prior to this, I believe the last time I danced was around 5 years ago. Who would've thought we'd be standing in China Town (in central London!) performing for all the people walking by? After 15-20 hour long practices a week, our Lunar New Year performance is something I will treasure. That's a day I will never forget; the coldness of standing outside in our performance outfits, watching all the people stopping by to watch us on stage, and the backstage dances we had as we anticipated our turn on stage. We did well.
I'm so grateful to you guys for getting me back on stage and reminding me of how much I love it. Thank you for getting me back into dancing again and for keeping me busy (and doing so for free ;)
And lastly, a huge thank you to all the people passing by without a group during my three years in London. Maybe we only managed to meet once or twice during my stay, but I didn't forget about any of you. Thank you everyone for welcoming me with open arms. And if we didn't get to meet yet, there's still loads of time!
Know that wherever I end up, there's always space for you on my bed or couch (or if I'm too broke to get it, we'll still make do with the floor haha!).