Saturday, October 31, 2009

London: One Year Later

A few weekends ago Lily and I celebrated our first year of marriage in Paris and this weekend I found myself celebrating another anniversary. As of Friday, 30 October, I have lived in London for exactly one year. Just about one year ago, I was sharing a drink with a group of English doctors at the onboard bar of Virgin Atlantic Flight 020 from San Francisco bound for London Heathrow. This would be the first of many since “pints” to be shared with the Brits in the coming year and they kindly provided me with some decent insight on what I could soon expect in my new home. They were right about a lot of things, but nothing could have truly prepared me for the upcoming year.

About a year ago I spent my first weekend in London acclimatizing to the cold weather and getting acquainted with my new surroundings, overwhelmed by the massive scale and dense variety of this remarkable city. When I think about it, things are very different from this time last year, from minute details like the weather to significant personal circumstances. Last year I arrived to frost and snow flurries, but this year I roamed around London on Halloween without needing an extra layer, as it's unseasonably warm for autumn. Furthermore, a year ago I was living temporarily in Canary Wharf, not Clapham, which was a completely different experience in itself. Most significantly of course, this time last year, Lily hadn’t joined me yet and now she is obviously here and fully settled.

When people ask me whether my year here has gone by quickly or slowly, I’m honestly not sure. Overall, it felt like a quick year, but there are specific events and moments that feel like they occurred a long time ago. The year has been a whirlwind of major events; Lily and I got married, we moved to London and Lily completed her masters at Berkeley. In between these major milestones we have each learned the ins and outs of London, developed into new professional roles, connected with old friends we thought we’d lost contact with here in Europe, made new friends who enrich our lives and share in our experiences, traveled well, and have been fortunate enough to host 25 of our old cherished friends and family here in London. It’s been a packed year full of interesting stories, exciting challenges and unexpected opportunities, all of which have positively contributed to our personal growth, both individually and as a couple. I won’t make this long because you can clearly read about a lot of this from former posts, but in retrospect, it's a year I’ll always appreciate and I treasure every memory of every moment of it.


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