D. is one of the funniest people I know and some of my favorite times in London recently have been drinking (a lot of) wine and laughing with her. Here's her take on her expat experience. (And of course, you'll see why we laugh a lot together...)
Today, making a gin and tonic lemonade,
Lemons, Gin and TonicBy: D. Price
My journey as a expat began in 2004, and it's one that started with a boot; a boot to a relationship that I received from my ex-boyfriend, which arrived, helpfully, over email. "Not sure if this is working out, but being really mature, I'm gonna split and not tell you face-to-face. C'est cool?" Well, not exactly those words, but you get the gist.
Things didn't get better afterwards, a string of bad luck with a persistent injury led me to quit my post-grad work early, a bout of sadness I just couldn't shake - life just wasn't exactly working out the way I had planned it.
However, never one to get bogged down, I figured that if I was given the lemons of life, I would get resourceful and make a gin and tonic to go with them. So, I packed my bags for new adventure abroad, and headed off to Manchester in the north west of England.
While I had visions of Mary Poppins, the English countryside, tea and crumpets, and the Queen, Manchester was a cracking good surprise - gritty, buzzing and full of energy and life! It was home for over five years until I left for London town, but it was just the jolt that I needed to get myself back on track.
I never actually thought I would stay this long, but when I look back at all of the cool experiences, it's not hard to see why. Being in England, you are, often, just a short journey away to continental Europe, whether by plane, train or boat. The closeness to so many different cultures and countries is just incredible and I'm so glad I've been able to take advantage of being able to see and do lots of different and exciting things.
I've yelled 'PROST" in a beer hall of 1000s at Oktoberfest in Munich; danced to the wee hours under the Ibiza sky; smelled sweet tulips in Amsterdam; been horseback riding in the Slovakian Tatras Mountains; seen ancient battlefields in the Scottish highlands and 'tracked' the Loch Ness Monster; watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night in twinkly lights; drank Gluhwein at the Christmas Markets in Berlin…the list could go on forever!
But, that's just the point, it could go on forever and will continue to do since there will always be places to see, people to meet and adventures to be had. So, when things aren't going to plan, take the time to think of something completely new to try and just run with it.
Without trying to get all gouda or fromagieux on you, Ferris Bueller, it would seem, had it right. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."