This November, it will have been four years since I moved to London. Life in 2010 was very different to what it is now. I was back in Ireland, I’d just finished my masters and I had been in a relationship with an Irishman for the past year and a half.
The summer of 2010, I ran away to Italy. Ireland’s economy was horrible, jobs were scarce and I was miserable. So I packed my bags and headed for Tuscany. But that’s a story for a different day.
I came back to Dublin, and planned on finding work and making a go of it there. I wasn’t having any luck, and as the weeks went by, it just reminded me more and more why I had wanted to leave in the first place.
In the September of 2010, my then-boyfriend and I attended a farewell party for three of his friends who were moving to London. I remember grabbing him by the arm and saying “Hey, why didn’t we think of that? It’s only an hours plane ride away, we don’t need visas, and we speak the same language!” He made some noncommittal noises and resumed his pint drinking.
Over the next month or so, I brought it up time and time again. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t thought of this before! It was the perfect solution. Then-boyfriend remained reluctant. Truth be told, I should have realised then that the reluctance was not just towards London, but also towards moving with me. I didn’t care. At that point I was so fed up and desperate to get out of Dublin and make something work, that ultimately I told him “I’m looking for a job, and I’m going, with or without you.”
I got a job in October, moved on the 1st November, and he followed in January 2011.
I worked through a succession of truly awful jobs, including recruitment, which is probably the most soul-destroying industry I’ve ever come across, before deciding to pack it all in and go back to university. He and I managed to blunder our way through one more year and a half after he moved over before parting ways in 2012.
Now, I’m about to go into my final year. I’ve spent the summer working, programming on an artificial intelligence project. I’m dating The Slav, a beautiful, kind, sweet creature. Life still has its ups and downs, and I’m starting to get itchy feet again. I don’t know if I want to stay in London forever, and I’d definitely like to try living in some other European cities after I graduate… but honestly, looking back at the last four years… there’s not a single thing I would change.
Except possibly the crazy flatmate who left behind a cup of wee when she moved out.
But other than that, I’m good.