Greetings from London! Or more specifically, Frankfurt, ish.
I've been waiting a long time to write this post. I got back to the UK in May, and wanted to be settled in London - at least with a flat, if not a job - before writing it.
That took 6 months.
So it's doubly ironic that I've been 5 weeks into both a great job and a great house before finally finding the time to say hello: waiting in an airport, early for my flight. What can I say, it's becoming a habit.
This weekend has been 48hrs of Christmas markets with friends, including the marvellous @desdrata, who brought - all the way from Australia - a present of the fluff you get in the drier filter. I'll have to explain that one another time...
London is marvellous. It's busy, it's big, it'll eat you alive, etc. I feel like after 5 weeks of madness my life still hasn't calmed down; I guess I trade some kinds of madness for others.
Finding a job was frustratingly just as frustrating as finding one in a different country. Being away 7 years means you miss out on the little things, even having popped in to catch up on the big things.
I had my first Nandos in Bristol 12ish years ago; yet some time in the last 2 or 3, it has colonised the entire country.
People used to drink "bubbles"; now, UK offices are powered by the promise of Prosecco.
And in this same time, 2 changes happened:
- Everything became "digital". We live in Digital Britain now. So while I looked for jobs with "web content", agents asked me to make my CV "more digital". I'm now working in digital communications. I blame the Olympics.
- Everyone is a "manager". Not a manager of people. A manager of whatever your work is about. David Cameron's job title is probably now "British Affairs Manager". Your mum is probably a "Parenting Manager".
It's all fine, but moving back to your own country really is like moving to another country.
The irony of coming back to the UK thinking I wouldn't have to worry about visas any more, is talking to agents on the phone who hear my accent and ask "What's your visa situation?"
I'm kind of pleased in a way, because I like my accent; I just correct people when they think it's Australian.
When you move to a new city, you have to make it work yourself. Even if you have friends there who can offer you a couch for a week or two. You need a job and a flat, preferably in that order.
But moving back to the UK, with my parents still living happily in our old semidetached family house in Essex, with my childhood books still on the bookshelf in the spare room (Animals Of Farthing Wood reprazent!)... They were happy to have me and I was happy to be there.
It just still felt strange when people would message me saying "How's London?" when I wasn't in London.
Just 50km away, after 7 years of saying "next year", I felt further from London than ever.
So, I was glad to have 3 months of straightforward web work at University Y. It was definitely what I needed at the time, if only so that employers would stop looking at my CV saying "Dis guy looks like an alien OR SUTIN".
But then finally, somehow, things went right; I got a great house with great people before I'd even started looking. It's the Isle of Dogs, which is already causing much amusement. I'm technically north of the river, despite being south of Greenwich. We have a garden and a lounge, which are both nearly extinct in London now (they've all been built on and turned into bedrooms respectively). And I can catch the boat most of the way to work - skipping the madness of the tube is my treat once a week.
And now I have a "proper" communications job in Public Sector Organisation H, which is interesting and engaging and important and even well-paid. (Well, it seems like a lot of money, but maybe I've just been brutalised by 7 years of temp & contract jobs down under.)
It's full of acronyms and legalistic language and needless bureaucracy and I feel very much at home.
There's plenty more I want to share with you, readers, the world, mainly because this blog is all about me and I have a crippling, debilitating need to be understood. But they can wait.
I've got a flight to catch.