Berlin, 8th of January 2003: I said goodbye to my parents, hugged my sister and boarded a plane to London. Back then there was no direct flight from Poznan (my home town) to London.
I was dressed for success, yet slightly terrified and clutching a teddy bear I got for Xmas, just a few days ago, from my sister and my dad.
15 years ago I arrived in London and moved in with my host family in Finchley, north of the river. I still consider this first year of being here as one of the best of my life. Yes – I missed my family and felt outside of my comfort zone most of the time, but I also had a ball. I made friends quickly and even though we didn’t have much money, we took advantage of everything London has to offer.
My routine back there was school for 3 hours in the morning, then a few hours of work, then free time and ZERO responsibilities. I only have good memories, despite the occasional tears and heartbreak.
A lot happened in those 15 years!
- The very first item of clothing I bought was a pair of black jeans from GAP, just down the road from Harrods. I might have ruined them later on in a dryer. The second was a jeans jacket from Zara that’s still in my wardrobe.
- I worked as a cleaner in a local pub, later promoted to a barmaid
- I got fired for the first time (and hopefully last) for having an attitude problem. Seriously! I still have that letter (yes – I requested to get the decision in writing) and it says that I rolled my eyes when my boss asked me to make a cup of tea for his guest and I embarrassed him. Well, ok, maybe I did roll my eyes but then making him cups of tea was not on my job description
- My next job was for an American – British couple – and I still believe that one of the reasons I got it was because they actually were clients of the company I got fired from (and they hated it!) so they had sympathy
- And then in 2006 I landed a job in NHS (National Health Service). It is a popular belief that once you get into NHS you have a job for life. But of course I had to make it harder on myself and start the coaching business. Yet I would not have it any other way
- I made and lost friends, I lived alone, I lived in a house share (with 10 or so people for one bathroom), I lived with housemates
- I lost and gained weight and finally realised that dieting is not gonna get me where I want to go and being skinny is not what will make me happy
- I’ve changed the way I eat, and although plant based food is still my favourite and now include fish occasionally.
- I got engaged. I just realised we got engaged in Berlin where it all started for me (remember that plane I boarded)? I don’t want to get all-spiritual here but maybe in some way I came a full circle?
And, in case you are wondering – in 2003 smartphones were not even invented, I had a dial-up Internet and used to check my emails in the internet café. I already had a blog though, yet no digital pictures. Does anyone still develop their pictures??
15 years ago I thought I would be married and have my first child (out of three) by the time I was 30. This did not go according to plan, but then again I could have never predicted starting my own business.
People often ask me if I am staying in London for the rest of my life.
London has been so good for me, yet at the same time I always said that London is a city for young people who “work hard and play hard”, who love a fast pace of life. I’ve always seen myself moving out at some point. Right now I don’t have any plans, yet I have a house by the sea on my vision board, so stay tuned.
I celebrated my anniversary with my other half in one of my favourite restaurants looking back and planning for the future. And I am forever grateful that 15 years ago I was brave enough to pack up my suitcase and made London my home.
PS Have you had any big transitions in your life? I would love it if you share what yours were in the comments below.