It was a cold, stormy night in September and droplets of rain tap-danced on the window as I pulled up to Penhevad Street. As an accent so foreign, so unfamiliar passed through the cabbie’s lips, I felt as though I had been transported to another continent as he overcharged me for the short trip we took from the station to my new home. (I only learnt this after living there for 6 months and doing that journey every fortnight). I rolled my weighty suitcase up to the front door and hesitantly turned my key in the lock. The door creaked slightly as I pushed it open with my free hand and immediately, I was ambushed by a tiny, salt-and-pepper coloured dog named ‘Marley’. This is where it all began….
*Cue theatrical music (track 1)*
As you can probably tell, I didn’t do very well in creative writing at school (or English in general if I’m honest) and I am a tad dramatic but I thought I’d set the scene: it was cold, it was rainy, and I was nervous.
Last September, I started a Graduate Scheme (Banking/Finance – no idea how/why I got there but I’ll save that story for another time) and they placed me up in Cardiff (I’m from London, went to Uni in London and always lived in London). I remember getting the news of my placement location when I was on holiday with my friend and crying like a baby *cringe* (I also cried on my first night there to my Mum on the phone but just pretend you didn’t read that). Anyway, back to the point. I was there for six boring, long and lonely months, during which I learnt a lot about people, friends, family and myself. Of all the things I learnt, I’ve picked a random 7 (let’s pretend it’s because it represents completion, yeah?) and thought I’d share, so…
*Cue theatrical music (track 2)*
- Research the city before you choose where to live
Rookie mistake! I actually do not know what I was thinking. I mean, I was living in the absolute SLUMS and people at work were scared for me. I saw a mouse. Ah, memories.
- I no longer want a dog
Listen, that dream has died. The ship has sailed. The plane has landed. Amen.
- It is possible to go days without make-up without being cooped up indoors
It is actually okay to let your skin breathe sometimes. Who’d have thunk it?! (I am now back to wearing it though. The novelty has worn off and I am an addict)
- My Mum loves me SO MUCH
Cherish your parents if you have them. They love you more than you love yourself.
- I have the bestest mates.
My friends > yours
- London is such a BUMP!
I got a portion of fat chips for 60p out there. 60p!!!!!!
- Lots of free time≠lots of time spent getting closer to God
I backslid like crazy. I always assumed that more free time automatically equated to more time spent with God, but that was absolutely not the case. I prayed on the first night and that was that. I stopped going to church and I stopped even thinking about Him. I spent more time focusing on the things I wanted God to move in my life than actually talking to Him about them. I now feel like I’m back, starting my journey all over again, and that’s okay. I’ll get there!
Although I really hated my time out there, I’m proud and glad that I stuck it out. Now, I’m not suggesting that you go to Cardiff and live with people who have their own bathroom but decide to wash their dirty dog in YOUR bath, or people who leave chicken uncovered and out for days to rot and attract flies.
No, that’s not what I’m saying.
What I am saying is, if you have the opportunity to remove yourself from your normal surroundings and take some time out to live life a different way, I would suggest that you do it! Go for it! You may learn something about yourself!