This blog post is part of World Blog Surf Day - where 24 bloggers not living in their native country around the world writes about the experience of living in a different country. At the end of my post you will find a link to the next blog in the circle. This is my experience of moving to London from Malta.
I heard a call…and I answered (though a bit late…thanks for hearing my call anyways!). The call was for blogging expats around the world to join in for a world blog surf day. The original idea was that you are linked to people who have moved to your home country and to people who have moved from where you have moved to…I didn’t have time to publicise the affair (I only got to know about it on Thursday or so), so of course, there were no Maltese to be linked to. Nevertheless, it is a cool thing! So here I am…writing about my experience :)
As you may (or may not) know, Malta is a very small country…and from here I moved to London…around 5.5 times the size of my whole country! I moved here to study, so the decision was not based on where I was moving to, but on what was offered in this city. From that point of view, London is great…there are so many opportunities that would have been difficult to experience were I to stay in Malta…from academic experiences, such as having a resource like the British Library on your doorstep, and the numerous symposia, workshops and seminars occurring here (limiting costs ;)), to London being a hub for travelling to other countries, making travelling from here so much easier than whenever I was in Malta. This means I can find cheap flights to fly home, or to visit my boyfriend (who is also an expat…read his experience here…and from where I got to know about this event), as well whenever I want to go somewhere else, including conferences. Also, having major institutions located here makes it so much easier to get into contact with the major players in your field, which is heritage science in my case. I have been invited to activities and attended events which should I have been back home I would never have imagined being invited to, attending, or even knowing they are going on, and I have met people who so far have just been a name on a paper, book or article, and who I would have only imagined of meeting at a so much slower pace.
This does not mean that in London I have found my niche, my future home…my heaven on earth! Certainly not! I find London a bit too cold…I find it difficult to make friends here…everyone is so busy with their own lives, and it takes so much effort to travel from one place to another, that though everyone lives in London, you end up only experiencing the tiny area called your neighbourhood…you often go from home to work and back, with maybe a short trip to somewhere close or on your way. I am used to having friends around and knowing people, while in London it takes so much of an effort to do that. Maybe I should try harder? Granted…I can do more (of course), but often by the end of the day I am exhausted and just want to crawl into my room and stay there for a little while away from the bustling life and in some peace and quiet.
One up-shot of coming here however was that the language was not a barrier, since English is an official language of Malta (Maltese is still the national language, and the primary official language, but English plays a big part as well). This definitely made it easier to settle in and to understand the life around me. This at least does not make me feel totally alienated from the life going on around me…I can talk to everyone around me (unless THEY don’t speak the language ;)), I can take part in activities I am interested in, and also importantly I can read the news to know what’s happening.
My verdict? As I have told people before, I don’t mind living in London and I can live here while I have/need to, but it would definitely not be high up on my priorities of cities to live in, was the decision based solely on location. I recognise the opportunities this city is offering me, but am not sure if I want to spend all the rest of my life here.
But don’t let your adventure stop in London…Follow it to the USA via a half-Swiss Malaysian. Check out A Malaysian Abroad‘s blog, and check out her post…she’s also taking part in the World Blog Surf Day..Enjoy!