It has been a snow-covered weekend here in London, producing many lovely photographs of the snow from Brixton to Broadway Market, Hampstead to Hammersmith to Herne Hill. Here is a photo I took on Friday while passing through Canonbury.
I have been mostly inside, admiring the falling snow outside while filling out job applications online and finding interesting article to read. I am once again in the not best scenario of looking for work, and considering how close it is to the expiration of my visa in July, I can’t say whether or not it is likely I will be able to stay in London.
It’s not where I want to be, but so it goes.
All things considered, I have done the best I could have done given the circumstances, and I am doing the best I can now, looking for satisfactory work while finishing my current job. I’ve given my LinkedIn profile a spit-shine, uploaded my CV to a few recruiting agencies (if you have any recommendations, let me know), had a phone interview and a few in-person ones. We’ll see what happens, but I can’t say my mind isn’t already trying to prepare for worst-case scenarios, including the horrifying yet hopefully remote prospect that I may not even have a suitable job nor enough money to see the visa ’til the end.
We can’t all be winners, but if we’re lucky, we can have good stories to tell.
In December, I commuted from London’s Victoria Station out to Kent every day, clocking in around 3 1/2 hours of commuting time a day. I read voraciously on the hour-long journeys on the Southeastern trains, whose cars are always redolent of piss to varying degrees.
I also wrote cards and postcards to friends, particularly my friend Mike, who is currently incarcerated back in Florida. I do my best to write him a postcard a week. I’ve gotten a few letters back from him as well as updates from his wife, my dear friend Marie.
Marie and Mike weren’t married when I left for London in 2011, nor was he in prison then (that happened in early November last year). Having been in London now for a year and a half, I cannot say I’m not curious in how Orlando has changed in my absence. Snippets of information I’ve gotten from the social sites Facebook and Foursquare indicate businesses that have opened up or expanded. Faces have changed in familiar spots, and new names have cropped up among my small groups of Florida friends as they branch out and make new friends and extend their interests.
There are things I miss about Orlando and America: Provolone cheese, the selection of craft beer at Publix, Publix subs (with Provolone cheese), barbecues in March, Stardust, tempeh, excessive pancake and waffle breakfasts, the American accents I’m used to in Florida (a pastiche of Southern, New York and formerly general American accents that have managed to gain twangs of “y’all,” “ain’t” and “dudn’t”), the vegan burgers from Ethos, my folks, my friends.
I wouldn’t mind being around these things again for a little while, but not permanently. Likewise, the list of what I would miss about London would be huge. I tried to make a comprehensive list last time I was away and never finished it. There’d be so much more to add to now that I’ve discovered additional things, it would be difficult to even organise these snippets of the Big Smoke into a cohesive, comprehensive sense.
What I would miss most about London, I think, is this sense of the unexplored. Even if I become the flâneur of means I not so secretly dream of being, it would be impossible to know intimately all the treasures each street, each building, every heart and every mind within this city holds. There are excellent attempts at doing so, but what is so delightful about London is that there are always things that remain to be explored, whether physical places, periods of this city’s fascinating history or the stories held by its people.
Or its food and drink, always favourite subjects of mine to explore.