Well, I’ve been here for almost six months already, so perhaps this doesn’t really qualify as a chapter 1, but let me back up…
Last week I was in a church meeting with some other non-English people and we talked a bit about London – what characterises it and what we see as being its needs. I realised that CULTURTWINED! is actually a very apropo word to describe London. And I learned that 140 different nationalities live in the section of London where I live! 55 more and we’d have the full United Nations represented within 2 miles of my house. But also, as we talked, it became clear that loneliness is endemic in this city. Too many people sit in their homes and have no meaningful contact with other people. Especially immigrants. Especially immigrants who come from cultures where relationship is all that really matters. I can only start to imagine how depressed they must feel, living here in this big introverted city.
But I can indeed start to imagine how they feel, because I don’t really know many people here yet. And I spend quite a bit of time alone, going days on end without meaningful contact with other people. I hope it doesn’t stay that way – I’ve allowed myself to be a bit of a hermit because of work and writing pressures and exhaustion from years of not being allowed to hide at home – but sometimes I worry that the individualism of this beautifully diverse city may be too powerful a force to overcome.
So… I was sharing this with some other people this week (yes, this week has had its share of meaningful contact!), and someone said something about how at least I have writing. Not all newfound-Londoners-without-friends are able to process things through writing. For me, it’s an outlet: it helps me get my thoughts in order, and it helps me never feel entirely alone. And this someone went on to suggest that my writing might be helpful for other people in a similar situation.
Well, that may be and that may not be, but I’ve decided that I’m going to post more on this blog about the emotional process of adjusting to London. a.k.a. learning to CulturTwine in what might be the most CulturTwined city in the world, even if it doesn’t know it yet. It’s my new series!(actually, I have another new series coming up which I’m about to announce – so exciting!!…) (by the way, I know I’ve been dismal about keeping up with everyone else’s blogs lately. I am reading them but not with as much attention as I’d like and therefore not commenting. I miss you and hope my schedule allows me to spend more time in your worlds soon.)