I've been in London a whole week today, and I've been asked a few times if it's everything I expected.
In a word, no.
Let me be clear - this is in no way because of the city itself. London (the little I've experienced of it at least) is fabulous. But I can't honestly say this week has been everything I'd hoped this experience would be. I was so freaking excited to come over here, and now that I am everything seems to be a lot...harder than I'd anticipated. Mostly because I had these completely unrealistic ideas of what it would be like to make this move.
In all honesty, I basically wanted to pick up my whole life and transplant it - intact - to a newer, more exctiting setting. I'd expected to land at Heathrow and walk straight back into a ready made world.
Instead I've had seven days of bemused near-isolation, a couple of bouts of debilitating homesickness, and the crushing realisation that starting from scratch means exactly that. Not knowing anyone brings a fantastic amount of freedom, but it carries a hefty price as well.
The problem for me is that I haven't had the chance to socialise myself. Had I been a regular traveller I'd have stayed in a hostel, and this problem would be pretty much entirely avoided. But the only real interaction I get is with the family I nanny for and, as helpful as they've tried to be, I can't really make a seven year old into my drinking buddy (at least not without facing probable unemployment).
That said, I'm not above chucking a Billy Idol and dancing by myself. So, with that and the fact I'm not making any friends by sitting at my computer complaining about my situation to cyberspace in mind, I'm about to get myself pretty and go to the pub. Future friends or social humiliation awaits. At this point it could go either way (the smart money is on the former, though. I'm not much for failure).
Wish me luck!