I walked to the train station this morning from my new apartment. I'm no longer in a dodgy neighborhood. My walk takes me alongside a park, leaves turning yellow and brown already. The station is quite close. It's in an area that can only be described as the Japanese district of London. There was a soft wind blowing, but not cold enough yet to be of any discomfort. Arriving at the train station I waited for my train, staring at the blue sky and the occasional cloud going past. My company doesn't really care when I start work, as long as I make my hours. The district line is never very crowded in the mornings, I can always find a seat. As I boarded the train I thought to myself: Today is a beautiful day.
And it was. Work is becoming more and more hectic as I learn more about the project I am working on. There's action going on, always something to fix, always new demands coming on. The project scale is gigantic and is proving a very good learning experience for me. It's pretty much the opposite of what I did at my previous job: I switched from an over-designed under-utilized project to an under-designed over-utilized project. Now to recreate the right balance and make things better.
I'm making an absolute fool of myself on the homefront. Only a month ago I was loudly proclaiming that I would hereby live a life of travel, living out of my suitcase, hopping from place to place as it suits me. Well, I just did all the things I said I wouldn't. I tied myself down to a job for at least 3 months, then tied myself down to an apartment for at least 6 months, and today I tied myself down to an internet connection for 12 months. Looks like I'm going to be in London for a little while longer. And this time I'm perfectly ok with that.
Getting settled into my apartment was interesting, and very different from my experience in Japan. Back then I just got a bed from the internet and bought some random cheap stuff second-hand. This time (and assisted by some gentle prodding from someone) I just went to Ikea. The apartment came furnitured, but a lot of daily-life things were just not there. I can't even remember all the stuff that we bought, but I'm sure it's all very useful. I remember a carpet, and I remember forgetting about a microwave after the first shopping session, which is peculiar because a microwave is usually my main way of survival. In any case, it ended up costing more than I thought it would. Oh, and I bought a 42 inch TV. How's that for living out of a suitcase?
A 'man from the internet' came by this evening, checked to make sure that my building has fibreoptic internet. He also sold me a 'free' phone line, which I'm sure will cost me a lot of effort to get rid of once it stops being free after a while.
It's not all perfect. My neighbor is noisy sometimes, the smoke detector beeps every minute and the washing machine doesn't really dry at all. But it's better than nothing. Until yesterday I thought that I didn't have a washing machine, but then the estate agent told me that it was hidden behind a small door just outside my apartment (and shared with one other person on this floor). Things look a lot better compared to having to go to a launderette in the rain.
What comes next is the slur of daily life. The days become shorter again, the weather worse. Things that are exciting now will soon become normal. It's very easy (at least for me) to get caught in the trap of daily routine, finding nothing extraordinary in life and not really being awake for days on end. I get out of it by reminding myself that I'm a traveler, only passing through. Living in a place forces you to accept things that you might not be happy about. Traveling through a place makes you look on in amazement and wonder at the things you haven't seen before. It keeps you awake. I'll try to remember that, and I hope that whoever I encounter in London will give me a good kick in the butt if they notice that I'm starting to take things for granted too much. Ta :)