It absolutely seems like ages ago—it was just back in July—that I felt confined to a desk at the NBA cranking out press releases and all of the other things that go along with being a sports publicist for a widely recognized entertainment brand. In all honestly, I was miserable. It was the dream job for some but the fantasy had come and gone for me. My day-to-day had since turned into an unpleasant reality, and I no longer wanted to keep living in the same drab reality come my birthday in August. So I decided that I had to be the change that I wanted to see. With that, I quit.
It feels like yesterday that I was intensely looking at my computer screen studying a Tube map of London. This was right after I decided that London would be my next destination for living, learning, and exploring. I will always love New York and the vibrant energy that motivated me to try so many new things. But I also knew that the city I fell in love with would welcome me back with open arms, after I began this new chapter of my life in London for a few months.
With my departure, I had a goal. Get my completed manuscript published by a major publishing house. I actually wrote those exact words down on sheet of paper in one of my many notebooks. I’m pleased to say that 11 months to the date of me shopping my very first manuscript around, my first novel, Preseason Love, will be published in October 2014! As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited and I feel extremely blessed. One of my dreams is coming true and with that, I decided to make one more dream a reality as well. Living in another country.
A week ago today I arrived in London. I’m sitting on my bunk bed, in a cozy five-story hostel, in central London as I type this post. I managed to snag a first-class ticket for my flight here and there was a pleasant driver holding a sign with my name at baggage claim waiting to whisk me away in his platinum colored Mercedes. Hence, a hostel is not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to jet off for Europe, but it will do. Truth is, it was pretty hard to secure a shared flat before I arrived. That fact and the currency exchange rates led me to be adventurous and test out a hostel. Surprisingly, many people actually live here on a long-term basis. This wasn’t something that I expected but it’s pretty cool.
One night while I was sitting in the shared dining area at a table with some great people that I’d recently met, I realized that this was the experience that I had come for. All of the people around the table lived in other countries, but by circumstance we were all together laughing like old friends and sharing a meal. We had Korea, Russia, France, Malaysia, and the US. I had to take a second to really enjoy the moment.
Now don’t get me wrong, this whole trip hasn’t been a fluffy bed of roses. It’s been an experience. So far, I’ve paid way to much to a currency exchange counter (I felt stupid), my Apple MacBook Pro got bent and cracked in my bag so half of the screen is messed up and now I can only work off of the left side, and I almost burned down the hostel when I left my curling iron on the bed. It got so hot that it started to melt itself, which caused the duvet under it to smolder and burn. Never seen anything like it. There was no way that I was going to let that melted curling iron touch my hair. Luckily, that night I had dinner plans with a friend from the US and her friends–they were extremely cool and welcoming—so I was able to laugh and drink my troubles away. Well really I only had one drink because I was afraid of being lost and drunk on the Tube.
Being lost during the day is one thing but at night was another. They say that if you can navigate the New York subway system then you can certainly figure out your way around the London Underground. However, I’ve found it to be a bit complicated but that hasn’t stopped me from getting around.
The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Then I wondered about and found a beautiful piece of artwork.
Hyde Park then Oxford Street where I went to the much buzzed about Primark and did a little damage.
The London Underground Tube strike made trying to get around crazy! They were set to be on strike Wednesday and Thursday so the whole city was congested and it was next to impossible to get anywhere. Plans to visit the British Museum were cut short.
Found one of the coolest grocery stores in my new neighborhood, Tesco. They had really great prices on food. They even have a cute little clothing shop upstairs.
Covered plenty of ground. From Portobello Road to Piccadilly Circus, and Soho to Islington for dinner.
Homes in the Portobello Road area are known for their color
Street vendors Portobello Road
Piccadilly Circus reminded me of Times Square. Felt right at home haha!
Just drinking beer on the street in Soho
Exploring the contemporary art at Tate Modern.
I’ll try to update you on my adventures each week. Ask questions and leave comments! You can also follow my Instagram for regular photo updates @Ahyiana_Angel.
Xoxo from London!