O.K, not two years exactly just yet. One year, eleven months and nine days, if I'm going to be entirely accurate. The point is, I've nearly been in London for the original duration I planned for back in 2009.
My life needed shaking up and the route I took for this was to move from the city where I was born and raised to London. Why London? A multitude of reasons spring to mind every time someone asks me this and it's something I've covered extensively in this very blog. The short of it is that I was ready for something entirely different than anything I knew before.
It has been incredibly different and it's not over yet. My original work visa is set to expire in a few weeks, but it no longer applies as I've moved onto a temporary leave to remain card. I've got at least two more years in the UK but I wanted to reflect on the time I've spent here based on that original timeline.
Everyday is an opportunity and as time passes it's amazing what we can accomplish. I didn't set out to do anything specific when I moved to a new country. I was just looking for adventure, change, a chance to explore.
Explore I have! In two years I've been to Scotland, Wales, Jersey and explored a large chunk of England. I've travelled to Paris and Amsterdam, been to the vineyards in the south of France and gone all the way to Thailand for my birthday.
As for change, I've had my fair share to reckon with. Culturally I've discovered and learned so much about myself as a Canadian. I've also realised that the UK is full of a multitude of cultural differences. Sometimes it's been a struggle as I have felt too loud, too up front or too honest for the relatively subdued English. More often it's been a delight as I've discovered the inherently English things about me and my family which have been passed down from my wonderful Grandmother, a war bride who left England at the same age as when I came to it.
More than anything, there have been the opportunities. I didn't really imagine that I'd learn graphic design, hold an art gallery showing and take the first steps into starting my own life coaching business. Not to mention the incredible wealth of knowledge I have gained from watching brilliant BBC documentaries, visiting a multitude of museums from the National Gallery to the Louvre, and reading countless plaques and monuments to some of histories most significant characters.
I know how easy it is to make excuses to not do something because of a fear of the unknown, an inability to save the cash or the feeling that some obligation to others is more important than any desire you have to live the life you dream of. I once spent two years doing so little that I can hardly remember them - day to day there was so little change. Now I've spent two years doing so much that I can hardly believe it's only been two! I feel as though I've been making up for that wasted time, ravenously reading books (59 so far in 2011!), studying psychology and philosophy, jet setting anywhere that takes my fancy, creating incredible artwork, editing more than one novel at a time, and continuing to find new things to try, new places to visit and new ways to see the world.