Dear Europe,

So, I’m back. Back home, sort of. Back to Europe after more than eleven years spent in Canada, half on the East coast in Montreal, and half on the West coast, in Vancouver. It gave me a very balanced view of Canada, I must admit.

But I am back to Europe now. For good or for a while, I don’t really know myself. I doubt that I will ever move back to Canada again, but then again, life has taught me a valuable lesson so far: never say never.

I came back to Europe because I missed the European culture, the short distances to travel to discover different people, different histories, different foods. I missed the 2-hour flights between my home and “home” (Sibiu).

My home base is currently London where I intend to spend some time and get to know this beautiful and vibrant city. I must find a job first, but before that, I must apply for that NIN special number that magically allows you to work and get paid in the UK. And then have a bank account to get paid into, which seems to be, so far, an insurmountable hurdle, due to missing proof of address for now. I did have some small victories along the way: the travel Oyster card, the library card, a UK mobile phone number, and a few replies to my frantic job searching efforts.

But dear Europe, you could have been a little bit more welcoming at Gatwick Airport (I had to drag my three suitcases by myself from one end of the airport to another, just because I didn’t have a coin to fit into the luggage carriers …). And dear London, you could also have been a little bit more welcoming and not stage an underground strike on exactly the day I was flying out to Sibiu. Welcome to Europe and to the possibility of a strike at any time!

Europe is diverse and different from one country to another, from one region to another. London is not the same in Harrow and Central London or Farnborough (some might argue that Farnborough is not even London). There are different people, different sorts of cars and roads and stores, but essentially, Europe has changed in the past decade and I am excited to start discovering it again. I will probably complain a bit about people driving on the wrong side of the road (yes, there is a reason for driving on the right side, because it’s the “right” side, no?), and also be a bit frustrated about learning (once again) new English words (such as pants and chips, which mean a completely different thing in England than in North America). I also might complain a bit about the high cost of living, although I should have been used to it by now, having lived in one of the most expensive cities in Canada for the past 5 years. Once I start work, I will probably complain a lot about spending hours in transit, because I won’t be able to afford living within walking distance from work anymore. And so many other things to complain about, like weather, and new coins to learn, and no friends close by, BUT, and this is the important part, I want to do this and I will put all my efforts into making it work somehow. I know that the pieces will eventually start to fall into place, one after another, maybe a job, then a few outings with colleagues, then becoming friends, then a bit of weekend travel to Amsterdam or Bruges, then a date in a museum or a bookstore, then a walk while it snows just in time for Christmas. And everything will come together nicely in this new life I’ve chosen for myself.

So, dear Europe, I am back home now. Be gentle and offer me all the opportunities I’ve dreamt about from the other side of the world. And let me enjoy it immensely.

As always, with love,

Anca

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