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Musings on my 5 year London anniversary

 

This week (Thursday, to be exact) marked five years since I moved to London from Finland. I moved here on the 8th of February in 2013, which now feels like something someone else did in another life. I’ve never been so scared to do something in my entire life, but, at the same time, so absolutely sure of something, too. 

 

I came to London for the first time at the age of 14, after which I visited the city every single year. I always knew I wanted to live here, but after a 5 month internship I did here in 2011 without making many friends, I was a bit nervous to try again. The more time that passed after coming back home, though, I became more and more sure that I wanted to give it another go, and that this time I would give it my all. So, I saved money for about a year and then, in February 2013, I boarded the plane to Gatwick. 

 

I remember the day I moved so clearly. I remember being in the taxi going to the airport, looking at the snowy landscape of Helsinki, suddenly feeling so full of excitement and absolute clarity about the fact that I was doing the right thing – I just knew it. I was nervous, of course, but mostly I was just so happy and excited. In the end, my first months in London weren’t the easiest (you can read more about that in my moving to London story) but I’ve also never been prouder of anything in my life. 

 

 

When I was working as a receptionist in a hotel in Helsinki whilst I was saving money to move to London, I had a customer who had lived in New York for about 40 years, since she was in her early twenties. As I got chatting to her, I asked her why she had decided to move to New York and, more importantly, why had she never come back. She just smiled and said “As soon as I got off that plane in JFK I knew I’d made the right decision and that I was home. I just knew.”. I still think about that conversation with her as it was then that I realised that that was exactly how I felt about London and the UK. 

 

All of this isn’t to say that I wasn’t happy in Finland – I definitely was, but it did feel like I could flourish more here. My interest in British music and culture was a big part of why I wanted to move to London and I still get a smile on my face when I go to the pub and they play music that I love. It’s such a tiny thing, but it’s one of the many tiny things that make up for the bigger picture that still makes me happy to be here. 

 

It’s been hard too, of course. I sometimes miss Finland, and especially my friends and family (I wish I could ship them all here!), more than I can say. And even though I love the English culture, it’s still not my own and sometimes I can feel like such an outsider and in those moments I miss the Finnish ways of life so terribly (mostly during summer & spring – they can keep their winter…). But the feeling of nostalgia and melancholy always pass, and most of the time I’m more than happy here and definitely not ready to go back any time soon. If I moved back, I’d just miss London and England, and the people here, instead, so I can’t really win!  

 

Here’s to 5 more years – I can’t wait to see what they have in store! 

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21 comments so far.
  • RosieBaillie

    It’s really interesting to hear your story, especially how you had a tough time during your internship and decided to give it another go. I can kind of relate, my boyfriend and I both want to move to Canada; when we visited it just felt more like home to us than the UK ever has.

    • I definitely know how that feels! Hopefully you’ll get to follow your dreams too 🙂 xx

  • London is such an amazing city – good on you for making the very brave (and admirable!) decision to follow your heart and move there! It’s great to hear how well it has gone for you and that you’re loving it.

    Sarah x
    http://shewasadaytripper.net

    • Thank you so much! I completely agree – London is so wonderful! xx

  • Great post, and really interesting. Love the photos xx

    Yasmin 💗
    http://www.thesweetsf.blogspot.com

  • Happy five years girl!! I love that story about the conversation you had with an old client about New York. It’s lovely that you can feel so at home here in the UK and the UK is lucky to have you!

    I am SO glad you moved otherwise I wouldn’t have a complete FOODIE guide to London and I wouldn’t have met you! Here is to lots more years!!! xx

    Lynsey || One More Slice

    • Thank you lovely Lynsey! I’m so glad I’m here too and I can’t wait for more foodie adventures haha! Looking forward to March – we have to do some planning on where to go.. :’D xxx

  • Happy 5 year anniversary! xxx

  • Happy anniversary! It sounds like you’re very happy living in London and that’s wonderful. I’d love to visit UK and especially London one day 🙂 x

    – Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • Thank you Leta! Hope you get to visit London one day – it’s the best! xx

  • Happy anniversary! I can totally understand the feeling of not being in teh right place. I’m about to move to a totally different part of the States with a difference in culture than what I’m used to, so I’m sort of scared of the move, but excited at the same time. If I could move to London though, that would be soo awesome.

    http://www.rosegoldrhyme.com

    • Thank you so much! And ohh, that sounds so exciting! I can understand the feeling of nervousness, though – it can be really overwhelming! I hope it all goes well with your move xx

  • Courtney Hardy

    Happy anniversary. It sounds like you’re having an awesome time living in London. It is so pretty there.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

    • Thank you! Yes I agree, London is SO pretty and I really love living here! xx

  • Happy London anniversary, Laura! You’re so brave to have given it another go, I’m glad you feel like you made the right decision 🙂 xx

    Toasty

  • Happy anniversary to you! This is such a brave thing to do – I would have problems moving to a different city alone, let alone a different country! I really admire your courage and am pleased that you now think of our little country as home x

    • Thank you so much, what a sweet comment! I really appreciate the kind words! xx