I Thought Coming Back to London Would Be Great, But...
I actually wrote this blog post 3 months ago on the 8th of August, in a little cafe in Clapton, London. It is now the 16th of November, and I am in my old, old, old room in my parent’s house in Jakarta.
My thoughts and feelings have changed [already] but I thought it would be a shame for me to just edit this out completely. I wanted to share how I felt at the time because, well I guess I’m trying to convince myself that someone out there can probably relate to how I felt.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this honest on the Internet before. It’s a little bit scary, but here it goes…
Everyone saw my trip back to London as something normal. But to me, it was something else. To me, it felt like coming back home.
Yeah, Jakarta is technically my hometown, but it doesn't feel like home anymore. My comfortable bed that I've been missing in my first few years in London didn't feel comfortable anymore. I never thought that I would miss that horribly stained IKEA mattress on the bed frame that squeaks every time I breathe. After a couple of weeks of my honeymoon phase back in Jakarta, I've had enough. I was ready to come back to London. Except... I don't even live there anymore.
The first (and arguably second) month in Jakarta was miles better than I expected. I was pretty heartbroken when my UK visa kicked me in the butt, causing me to fly back to Indonesia, taking more than 30 boxes (no joke) of stuff, crap, and furniture back with me. I thought I was gonna cry all day and night, and I would never be able to get over it.
I was wrong! At least... for those first few months.
I was enjoying my time being back home because it meant that I was back to my good, old friends that I've missed so much. It meant that I get to eat at my favourite restaurants again. It meant that I was surrounded by dogs again. Everything felt very familiar and it was comfortable. I was also very excited to start writing for VICE Indonesia, which was something that I didn't expect, at all.
My life back in my hometown has always revolved around friends.
At school, I was stuck with my friends.
During Uni when I used to go to Jakarta for summer holidays, my days were completely booked up with catch-ups with different friends.
So it wasn't until after those few months, that I realise my friends have their own lives. Because surprise, surprise... we are all adults now. And adults have responsibilities.
I am lucky that this time round, I have an excuse to go back to London because I had my (second!) graduation ceremony. Of course I just had to extend my stay. I desperately needed an escape from the loneliness, weird-arse reverse culture shock, and isolation. I know people tend to exaggerate when they say that they’re having the worst time of their lives, but I wish I was kidding when I say that 2018 has been the worst year of my life. But let’s not dive into that, at least for now, shall we?
I was positive that coming back to London would make me even more sure that this is where I want to be, and that this is where I truly belong.
I don’t belong in Jakarta, how the hell could I? People in London are so much more open minded and therefore like-minded. There’s much less racism and homophobia. Advertising is so much cooler. I can finally have better content for my social media because it’s so much prettier there, anywhere you go. The transportation is better. I don’t have to worry much about how the hell to get home after drinking. I get to be close to my boyfriend. I could turn vegan because it’s so readily available. I’ll be so much healthier because at least I’ll be walking everywhere I go. I can get away from all this toxicity. I get to be independent again. I won’t be so lonely anymore. etc. etc. etc.
But you know what?
It really wasn’t as great as the picture I painted in my desperate head for months counting down to my flight back to this city. Yeah, I guess a large part of all of this is true, except for the last.
Maybe it’s a bit shallow for me to let this one thing cloud my dreams of living here again, but I can’t just ignore it. I was alone about 70-80% of the time, and my little extroverted Gemini soul just couldn’t handle it. To be honest, this is the same old problem that I had back in Jakarta. Everyone has responsibilities. Everyone has lives. The difference though, is that I could always somehow find someone to see during the day when I’m back home in Jakarta. And I can still see my friends when they finish work in the evening. But not in London.
I don’t have nearly as much friends in London, my boyfriend has a job, like any normal human does, so I was alone from the moment I wake up ‘til about 5pm. If I’m lucky. But, it really does make you learn to enjoy your own company and how to make the most out of it. I had to learn to not take the city for granted.
My feelings have been really turbulent and I am more confused than ever, but I guess ‘visiting’ London for the first time after living there has made me realise how much I need my friends. How much I appreciate them for literally giving me a reason to live.
Bit dramatic there, but what can I say?
Tbh, I don’t even know where I am going with this anymore lol. But I just wanted to share my experience about loneliness in your adulthood. So… I guess I’ll leave that there.
What I'm wearing...
Dress - Zara
Sunglasses - Ace & Tate
Shoes - Balenciaga
Photos taken by Phil Walsh.
Edited by yours truly.