Months ago I started a post while temporarily staying in Pimlico.
I wrote: I am hiding from the rest of London at the moment. Deposited in Pimlico, semi-direct from Colombia via Peru. The culture shock was not expected, and is much the harder for it.
I didn’t finish the post, and avoided thinking about it for a while. I was staying in a beautiful flat that belonged to someone else, was working long days, and was torn between wanting to walk away, and being determined to make this work (somehow). I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, but I was desperately unhappy and struggling to see the positives. Multiple times I almost abandoned everything, imagining places I could go where people were nicer, and the weather more welcoming.
*****************months pass – autumn turns to spring******************
Having struggled with these issues for months, while slowly building a sort of life, the other day I walked out of a tube station in the gathering dusk. A heavy bag on my back (again…a bit of a theme on Sunday nights), I was enveloped in the cool breeze coming off the Common. It brought with it the scent of Bradford Pear blossoms – if you look them up, that is apparently what they are, although I will be watching to see if any pears grow later in the year. It was late, but children were out running along the pavements, laughing and shouting to each other. I knew that I had almost arrived, and while I was tired, it is an enjoyable walk, and stepping into my house would be arriving home.
Days later I was asked on a running date that took me back to Pimlico. Actually the start and end of the run/evening was two doors down from my original Pimlico pad, a neat bookend to a blog post, or to a period of my life. We ran, chatted, went out for dinner at a lovely little local Italian, and I greatly enjoyed myself. I could see all of the nice parts of being in Pimlico, pointed out the coffee shops that had made a positive impression, and marvelled at the beautiful squares. But beneath that (and best of all), I could feel a growing attachment to Wandsworth. So much nicer (I thought), although I remain open to building a group of friends in the more central borough.
I grew up in Canada, and even if Pimlico is to Wandsworth as London is to Brighton, it is hardly as Beausejour is to Winnipeg (paraphrasing Kate here). At the end of the evening I knew exactly how I would get home, and had a couple of alternative routes up my sleeve for any Transport-for-London-created-issues. I know that I could have cycled it faster but was wearing a dress, and wanted to enjoy being dressed up in the summer-like weather. Besides, on the Tube at night there are opportunities for people watching that are almost unsurpassed, and one can often share a moment with a stranger with a shared joke or smile.
The fact is, although it wasn’t a date-date, I wanted to feel attractive, and enjoyed walking down the street in my bow-tied heels and bright red dress. My running partner may think me strange, but I thought to myself afterwards: That was fun. A date could be fun if it was like that. Someone might want to go on a date with me, and I could get dressed up, and enjoy myself, and it wouldn’t be stressful or horrible because it could be just like that. HA!
It may sound ridiculous to have an epiphany that ‘going on a date could be fun’, but I don’t have any memories of fun dates from the past decade, so logically I associate friends with fun, and dates with ‘not-fun’. The same friend that goes climbing with me (of recent Hay Festival themed post) has suggested signing up to an app. I admit, I don’t think I have the energy, or that my self-esteem could take the battering that London-based-app-users would deal it. For now, I will enjoy dressing up on outings with friends, and imagine that someone will one day find me irresistibly beautiful and witty, and they will just run up and kiss me *fill in caveats here.
After being out running/dining/chatting, my housemate/lodger (I may just call him the lodger) asked if I had worked late or been out gallivanting. He worries that I will be sucked into the world of thousand hour weeks and no life, but while things are not perfect, and I am not quite where I want to be, I no longer keep a bag by the door, ready to run North at any moment.
Dealing with own-nation-culture-shock is another post!
Does anyone have any good-news dating stories from big cities?