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Goodbye Australia - Hello London

19/05/15

Fiona give us an insight to how she was feeling upon making the life-changing decision to move to the UK to teach. 

Saying goodbye isn't easy. I was dreading the inevitably of leaving friends and family for an indefinite period of time. However, I found that the anticipation was far more difficult than the reality. In the days and weeks leading up to my departure I was already feeling homesick just thinking about being away. It still didn't quite feel real, but I was trying to mentally prepare for the move, and missing the people I love was on my mind. When facing so many unknowns, that was a given. I thought it would all hit me when I got on the plane and I would spend the flight in tears. But when the time came, I was just focussed on getting through 24 hours of flying and getting set up over here. And here I am.

Hello London!

I made my first cultural faux pas within moments of stepping outside the airport - trying to climb into the front seat of a taxi. You just don't do that here. Passengers travel in the back. Thankfully the driver quickly redirected me towards the backseat and I was too sleep-deprived to really be embarrassed. I like to think I have a pretty good knowledge of British culture - I'm not about to start talking about 'pants' or 'thongs' in polite company - but I'm sure there are plenty of subtleties I am yet to learn. All that aside, I had also ticked off an iconic London experience - travelling in a black cab. It was a nice way to get a first glimpse of London and far preferable to facing the underground with 30kg of luggage after almost 30 hours travelling.

I received a warm welcome in Wimbledon from the family friends I am staying with and was immediately made to feel at home. I stayed up until bedtime and had a full night's sleep - a promising sign in terms of jet lag. (Although I have found in the past that it's the second or third night when it really hits you, and sure enough, this morning I was awake at 2am.)

Yesterday I ventured into town to attend the Good Friday service at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB). Nothing says you're in London like travelling by tube and walking the streets of Knightsbridge and Kensington. (Sorry, no photos, I was pretending to be a local. I was asked for directions so I guess I was successfully 'blending'.) I grabbed lunch at Pret, sorted my phone, and stopped at Waitrose for some essentials (such as gluten-free hot cross buns. Not amazing, having been spoiled recently with home-made ones, but adequate.)

Today I have arranged to view various rooms to rent around Wimbledon and Colliers Wood. The house hunt begins!

Just taking it one day at a time so as not to become overwhelmed. I read somewhere recently that “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” I certainly see the truth in this. It tells me that my fears and anxieties about missing home, surviving a new job, and finding the right people to live with are normal and necessary. All of these things require both courage and vulnerability. I’ve been very fortunate with the way things have fallen into place so far, and I’m sure the rest will follow.

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. – Winnie the Pooh

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