" I’ve learned to grab every opportunity
that presents itself to me..
As you never know.
What is right around the corner. "
'Sweet sixteen. My first trip to London. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I knew it. This wasn’t going to be an easy city to shake. My sister had accepted a job with M & C Saatchi (lucky her). I was her first visitor (not so lucky her). I can still remember feeling so overwhelmed. By the noise. The lights. The traffic. The manic business of it all. That buzz.
After that first weekend in London, I was hooked.
Fast forward 8 years. I was working for a footwear company in Glasgow, after graduating in 2012. With a BA in Theatre Studies (connection? I know, tell me about it!) 2012 was tough. For any graduate in Britain. The recession had hit hard. Graduates all across the UK were struggling to begin their careers. I was damn lucky being in any job.
I always knew that London was on the cards for me. I just didn’t know when. I had interviewed unsuccessfully for dream jobs in Scotland since graduation. In May 2015 I decided it was time for a change.
After a long and painful conversation with my manager, he begrudgingly agreed to transfer me to our London branch. He probably knew what I really wanted. A way in. To London. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy. (Little did I know, that long and painful conversation was just the beginning of more pain and stress – for my very stressful transition from Glasgow to London.
‘It’ll be fine’ I told my parents. ‘Don’t worry, I have everything under control, all I need to worry about is finding a flat.’
Famous. Last. Words.
Finding a flat in London was an absolute nightmare. Optimistic and naïve little Rachael really did not have a clue what she was letting herself in for. A whole month passed. I still hadn’t found somewhere to live. The clock was ticking. ‘How are you getting on with your flat hunt?’ ‘You STILL haven’t found somewhere to live!?’ People would say. It wound me up. To say I was stressed was a very, very big understatement. The prospect of living in London but having to sleep on a park bench was becoming a bigger reality as the days passed by. I was feeling hopeless.
One Sunday evening. In true Blackstock fashion. We were having a big, loud Sunday roast. My mum had given the family a pre-warning not to mention London. I was on the edge. As we all sat down to dinner, my brother’s wife turned to me. And said. ‘I know you don’t want to talk about London but I know someone who has a spare room’ I didn’t know whether to burst into tears of joy or fury that she had been keeping this from me. Katia, my brothers wife, is so laid back she is practically horizontal. So this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. Shortly after this conversation (10 mins) I had a lovely chat with my new landlady and she gave me the go ahead.
Just. Like. That.
Life is funny eh? Just to think, a day earlier I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Questioning myself. Getting ready to walk away. Now I had myself a lovely place. In the leafy suburb of Herne Hill. Oh life - you do like to test us!
Exactly two weeks later. I made the big move. Two suitcases in hand and my long-suffering boyfriend in tow, I was off. There were no tears, just pure relief and excitement. My whole life had been turned upside down in 2 weeks. I was ready to give this new adventure everything I had.
On Monday May 4th 2015, I arrived into London Kings Cross at 4.15pm. It was only now the nerves were really kicking in. I felt this strong pang in my stomach. ‘I must be absolutely mental.’ Those were the exact words that filled my head. I remember giving myself a strong talking to as we walked towards the taxi rank. ‘Okay, Rachael, let’s get this right…. you’ve moved to a city where you barely know anyone. You’re moving in with a complete stranger. And to top it all off. You’re leaving your poor lonely boyfriend (really not that lonely) behind, as well as all your friends and family?’. I began to turn back.
(From that date, I would definitely describe myself as a crier. Oh boy did I cry). After a long pep talk from my boyfriend, I got in the cab and off I went to begin my London adventure. Happy to report, I have not looked back.
I often ask myself, would I do it all over again? Was all the stress and tears worth it? Absolutely. My whole London experience is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’ve met some truly incredible people and learned so much along the way and I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world.
" What’s the most important lesson
that I have learned along the way?
Life. Moves. Fast. "
Within two weeks my whole life was turned upside down. Was I scared? Yes. Was every single moment worth it? Yes. I’ve learned to grab every opportunity that presents itself to me. As you never know. What is right around the corner.
Rachael, the Big City Slicker