A few weeks ago, I drove to Pearson Airport in Toronto with some severely oversized luggage and said goodbye to my family before boarding a very-delayed plane to London.
I had recently acquired a two-year visa that would allow me to legally work and live in the UK. As I sat on the plane, I wondered why I hadn't shed any tears. It wasn't that I hadn't felt anything at all. I was severely nervous, to the point of nausea, and I was exhausted, but eventually I grew to feel calm. I knew I would miss my family and my friends, and my dog, Franklin. I knew I would miss the familiarity and security of getting to know Toronto over the past five years. But the city itself had nothing left for me, and I knew that in order to feel any sort of happiness again I was going to have to start from scratch.
And so I landed, and immediately got to work sorting myself out. Within a few hours of entering the country I had a working UK phone number and I had dropped my things off, showered and was ready to head to dinner with my friend Esther. At dinner (and a few glasses of wine in) it dawned on me that I now lived here. I was the new girl in town, and I had to begin everything again. And instead of crying or feeling any sort of fear, I laughed and I laughed. Starting fresh is exhilarating.
I'm now in my third week of living here. I have a bank account and a job that I really like. I've spent the last handful of my days exploring what I can, lingering in museums, writing postcards, staring in wonder at the beautiful small gardens that seem to be around every corner, meeting friendly strangers, dining alone, riding the bus, drinking coffee and tequila (but not at the same time), appreciating the sunshine and not-particularly-minding the rain. I've missed certain Canadian things, like the reliability of Tim Hortons' coffee and the taste of Swiss Chalet sauce, and even the stupid TV commercials that somehow aren't as bad as the ones here. Above all I've felt, for the first time in a long time, extremely calm.
I do a lot of wondering, mostly because I'm on my own a lot. I wonder who I will be when these two years end. I wonder what will have changed and what will have stayed the same.
I wonder what my friends will get up to, who will get married, or have their heart broken, who will have babies, who will write novels, release albums, tour and come visit me. I wonder what I will or won't accomplish, and what foreign cities I might see. It feels strange to be standing at the edge of not knowing, and worrying that maybe nothing will change at all. And yet, when you separate yourself from familiarity, and from the past, everything else moves at warp speed, including you. Only time will tell what's around the bend, and I'm no longer apathetic to find out.