I am writing this in England.
My last blog post alluded to some of these thoughts, but I wanted to reflect a bit more on the concept of change and the ability to adapt. I graduated with my Master’s in Public Health from Boston University at the close of the fall semester, and while I am so thrilled to be done with my schooling, I also feel uneasy. Some of this unease is prompted by factors that are outside of my control, but most of it is because of my own actions.
I decided to take the leap and move to London for the foreseeable future, and even though I have been here for about three days now, I feel like I am constantly retying a bow that keeps unraveling. I am experiencing a lot of change at once and truthfully, it has been very isolating. I moved here by myself and am adjusting by myself. I am forever grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, but emotionally processing this move has been a challenge as I have to do it on my own. I knew that it would be, but one can only prepare themselves so much for things that are not yet tangible.
I am staying in an Airbnb this month and have yet to find a job that suits my career. The roadblock in applying for jobs here in the UK is visa sponsorship. I am a US citizen, so my employer will need to sponsor my visa if they choose to hire me, and many employers will not hire me due to this reason. Obviously, starting a job would allow me to not worry about spending money nearly as much as I do right now, and I would also be able to sign a long-term lease since I would be able to pay rent. This process has been quite stressful for me, but I do want to acknowledge that this was a choice that I made due to privileges that I have. (That being said, if anyone has any connections or leads on organizations/companies that are likely to sponsor visas and are looking to hire people in the public health policy/advocacy/activism realm, please let me know!)
Half of my possessions are residing in boxes in Boston, waiting to be shipped to wherever I ultimately land. Within a few days, the phone number that I have had for the past fifteen years will no longer be used as I will be messaging with a new UK SIM card. I need to build new relationships, and while I enjoy chatting with people and have already done so a bit since arriving here, creating a local support system is going to be a large feat. I feel homesick and uncomfortable and uncertain, but I keep reminding myself that I chose to do this. I chose to feel these feelings, and I knew that they were coming.
A lot has changed for me over the past six months. I am no longer in a relationship that lasted 2.5 years, I am no longer a student, and my last semester of graduate school was one of the most chaotic semesters that I have ever experienced. On top of all of this, I decided to book a one-way ticket to London and leave everyone whom I love. I know that everyone is only a phone call away, and I could easily hop onto a plane and visit home at any point, but I am cultivating my life in a new country on my own. Dollars are now pounds, Fahrenheit is now Celsius, American accents are now British, and I cannot walk into a Target and buy unnecessary things.
I think about everything that I have mentioned in this post and feel overwhelmed, but I also feel ready. I love walking through London and interacting with people from all over the world. I love the fashion and the plethora of areas to explore. I love that even when I am sobbing, my tears are falling in London.
I know that I do not know anything and I do not know what the future holds. I know that I am doing something that not many people would ever do, but I have never been someone who does what everyone else does. Changemakers go against the grain, not with it. If things do not work in my favor, I can always move back. If things do work in my favor, I might be the happiest version of myself. I deserve to have faith in myself and I deserve to give it a try.
This post very much so screams privilege, and I am certainly counting my blessings. Many are not in a position to do anything like this, and I do not take that lightly. This is a huge risk, and I was granted the opportunity to take it. I would not be here without my friends rooting for me, and I definitely would not be here without the love and support of my family. I hope that you all will give me a little bit of grace as I try to piece together my life, and just know that I am well aware of how unnerving this decision is. Stay tuned for more London content!
starting my London playlist: listen here
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