Sunday, May 18, 2008

Week in Review 2: Reality Sets In

Well! Refreshed from a full night's sleep and Dr Stuart's Detox tea, I woke up this AM to a sunny sky and renewed (enough) optimism. So let's deconstruct this past week and objectively understand what's what, what's up and what's down.

Good news is, Ashley and I got our dream apartment. With the help of her very generous host and luck that no one else snapped it up while we were debating its affordability, we are soon-to-be the proud lease holders of a sweet two-bedroom flat on Upper Street in Angel Islington. For those of you who don't know London, Angel is a really fun, hip area with tons of bars and shops and restaurants. Not as trendy/gritty as Shoreditch and Hoxton (that's like the Williamsburg of London); this is like the West Village of London. I can walk to work (WOOT) and we have a JULIETTE BALCONY (double WOOT). Downside? It's not available until June 18. So, the countdown begins – exactly 30 days until I move out of Weehauken and into walking distance of the City. Let's hope that I can maintain my sanity that long.

So, yesterday's homesickness... pretty brutal. I ended up going BACK to Ashley's apartment to hear an American accent and get Thai noodle soup which is probably as comfort-food-y as I'm going to get here. Afterwards, Ashley's host let us watch High Noon with him, which also made me feel better because a) nothing is more American than a Western, b) I feel like Poppi loved that movie, c) sitting on a couch hugging a pillow was about all I had the energy for, d) Grace Kelly was a badass in that movie!

But seriously. I think the homesickness stemmed from the fact that two weeks have gone by here, and it's really, truly, hitting me that I am here, permanently. Obviously not for the rest of my life, but I've moved here. The initial excitement of arriving, starting work, exploring, getting my Oyster card, buying real Dairy Milk with Nuts and Raisins, etc, is fading and revealing the fact that I've chosen a completely new and different direction in which to take my life. I met a friend of a friend on Saturday night, an American guy who has lived here for six years, and somehow, meeting him – the typical New York Jew – in London, it made me realize that this is, well, REAL. I have a return ticket to the States, for Christmas, and that's it. I have to somehow figure out how to merge my old life into this new life, where it's of course going to be different, but that will be the challenge and hopefully the fun. Unfortunately, right now it just feels like none of that can truly happen until June 18. So what have I been doing while biding my time? Drinking. Clearly, Danielle has not changed THAT much.

Compounding this homesickness is the slow realization that life is still going on for everyone I know back home. When people go on vacation, they drop out of life as they know it, have deeply personal and hopefully enlightening experiences, and then return, changed, relaxed, edified, etc, to their normal, day-to-day lives. Their friends and relatives greet them, want to hear their tales, see their pictures, but in the end that window of individual experience closes and people are still the same and life continues as it always did. That's not the case here. I'm not on vacation. People want to see my pictures and read my blog posts to find stuff out, but I'm not coming back – my day-to-day life in the US doesn't exist anymore and people aren't waiting for me. Life for everyone in New York is continuing at its normally rapid clip, and I'm not a part of it. If I thought of every birthday party, every girls night, every band, every impromptu gathering that I have and will continue to miss, I will vomit. Humans are inherent selfish beings and consider themselves the centers of their little individual universes; my particular universe has just been ripped in two, and the one without me in the middle is looking a lot more exciting at the moment.

Let's be completely straight here, though; this situation is all of my own doing. I asked for this. OK, maybe I didn't ask for London initially, but I'm so happy I ended up here instead of Paris, and the point is that I asked for the opportunity to live abroad. It's up to me now to take advantage of living abroad to the fullest. So in the end, yes I can whine and complain and have my temper tantrums and hissy fits, but this is, of all times, one where I've made my bed (with a DUVET and without a boxspring) and now I not only have to lay in it, but I have to sleep in it – permanently. And if it hurts, well Princess Danielle, figure out where the pea is and take it out.

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