…what if I fall?
Oh, my darling, what if you fly?
That’s what this has all felt like. Certainly a large part of it – my time so far in London.
The first couple of months were easier in that I knew certain things were going to be new to me, married life for one, and was prepared to adapt I guess. It was (is) the time after those initial months that I hadn’t prepared myself for. It took quite some time for the extent of this ‘change’ to sink in. Now, it finally has, and I think I am at a stage where I am able to describe it objectively and not in the moment, just not in the third person yet.
Imagine over a coffee chat, your colleague who happens to be a man of few words starts to tell you about his vacation to Spain. You ask him – what was the weather like? and he goes – Was around 85. And all you can make out thanks to some basic human intelligence that you are blessed with, is that the 85 refers to temperature in Fahrenheit. But beyond that you have no idea if it denotes pleasant, warm or cold weather, because all your life you have been talking about temperatures in Celsius, and never needed to (bothered to) learn to convert that to a Fahrenheit scale (I can’t even spell that word without using a spell-check!). And so you just give a vague response like ‘ Aaha’ coz that’s the best you can do, and then try and steer the conversation in a completely different direction and make a mental note to not talk about weather to anyone in London. (Ha! that’s what you are talking about alllll the time in this city!)
Imagine also, the one dish that you can cook respectably well (no, not Maggi), and about which have been singing your own praises to your husband for months, turns up REALLY bad when you finally cook it for him. Why? Bcoz being used to cooking on a gas stove all this while, you now can’t figure out how slowly (or quickly) the induction burner changes temperature.. well that’s the excuse I continue to use anyway.
The tube timings, the British weather infamous for its unpredictability, the work culture, or simply the fact that you need an advance booking / reservation for just everywhere and everything (this drives me crazzyyyyyy…I’m pretty sure even McDonalds here will start to follow this practice very soon!) – all of this was new to me, as were the people I was meeting every day (oh and their humour. Very. Different.). Add to it things such as finding the right hairdresser (still haven’t found THE one), shopping places, and the like.
It felt like I was starting from scratch on every account. I constantly felt dependent on my husband and colleagues – and after a point it does start to take away some of your confidence, especially when you have been living an independent life all this while. You feel lost at times, overwhelmed at others, and hesitant in general. Like a 4 year old, on her first day at school – surrounded by the ‘new’.
Where it has been slightly different for me to that 4-year old girl, is that I was the only one for whom these things were new. I was the only one who needed to adapt – who needed to fit-in. And this is the bit that I had underestimated.
My husband has been in London for years now. He has a wonderful circle of friends. We have a home which we love, and I was lucky to come in to the city with a decent job in hand. All in all, life here was set, everything in place already. That meant fewer things for me to worry about. Or so I thought.
The thing about being the only new one around is that you, at times, end up being the only one who hasn’t been to a particular place, who hasn’t tried a restaurant, who hasn’t been going to this famous dance school, and the like. You are the only one who hasn’t done what everyone else has already done (and that’s when the husband comes handy, coz he’s got to go where you want to go – saying no isn’t an option😉 ) So here you are, getting curious and excited about little things which you discover and experience, whereas all others have already been there done that – you feel like there is a lag that exists, and you keep trying hard to keep up. I remember the first time I got onto a local London train that runs over-ground, instead of being underground like all others that I had been on. I was super excited; and I also remember the looks I got from my husband and our friends (like ‘Seriously?’).
And finally, friends. Making friends takes time. It starts with (nice) people being nice to each other, and then some of them developing a bond of friendship, and that understandably isn’t an overnight process. While I am blessed with a great circle of friends who have been really close to my husband, and I love hanging out with them, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I have had to leave behind my own really close friends. And that there are times when I think about them more than usual, no matter how happy I am or busy I get.
It’s been a journey, that only got better and better. From the daddy’s little princess who never stepped into the kitchen back home, to the girl on Banjara Hills, Road #10 finding her way into the larger world on her own, to the independent one in Singapore who finally figured out what she wanted from life, back to the wide-eyed lost kiddo in this big city, grateful for where she has landed, and who she has landed with😀
Ah well, didn’t mean to write a serious post today. Must be the pre-Monday blues at work – yuck!