I wish I had started this blog in 2007 so I would have a place where I had documented my travels and time in London, but alas, this is my first post about London, which was such a deeply important and monumental time in my life.
Actually, I take that back… If I’m honest, I had a blog called “bedroom ninjas”, which I thought was a funny name at the time, but it was this crappy, elementary-looking Blogger site that I had to take down because it was filled with a mix of sappy myspace-type music lyrics and London experiences – it didn’t have a clear voice and it was not exactly the type of representation I was looking for myself at the beginning of my career!
The only legit post that I had written was about how you’re not going to find a burrito in Hammersmith, which (ironically) 8 years later, doesn’t appear to be the case.
So today, I’m going to tell you about my head-over-heels love affair that I still have with London (part 1), and why Leo and I flew across the pond for a weekend with a follow up post.
Moving to London
To give you some context, I moved to London when I was 21 and straight out of college. I had a family friend who had worked at a commercial real estate firm with a guy named Michael Hatt, who happened to be CEO of said company. I got an interview with him, and he opened the doors to me – they agreed to sponsor me for a visa. While I had initially viewed this as a way to travel Europe, I got lucky enough to land a marketing role where I really was abel to excel.
Not only was I sponsored for a visa, but during my time there, I took the lead on launching the company’s email marketing & digital programs, and became great friends with some amazing people along the way – work mates, roommates, and my favorite American mates.
Hatty (as we called him) maybe never knew how much the opportunity that he gave me influenced my life, but I am sure grateful for it. I reflect on how I actually managed to pull it off and it’s quite crazy. I had never been to London, and I managed to get a job, a visa, a flat, open a bank account, get a phone…. all when I was 21!
After the economy had tanked in 2009, the visa I was had could no longer be renewed, and I had to return back to the states. Leaving London was terrible – I just wasn’t ready to go!
And after returning the weekend back in my old stomping grounds, I can positively say that I am still just as in love with the city as I was 8 years ago.
London I Am Still Latching onto You
I can’t actually believe I waited this long to come back. Life has a funny way of throwing different experiences at you, and there just hadn’t been a good time to go back. But I’m so glad we did.
London is full of dichotomies: with the craziness of the tube you find the peace in the parks, with the brand new sky towering buildings you find the buildings that still stand after hundreds of years, with the uber-posh West End you have the artistic and hipster streets of Shoreditch, with the years of history of English gentility you find the clever yet crass nature of their humor.
That’s all I have for now… I’ll have a follow up post shortly with more stories about our trip! xx