It's Not Perfect, But It's Great

Art from the Saatchi Gallery
Some of you have commented here and there and said "Looks like you are having a blast!" and "You look so happy!" and other nice things like that.

And it's true. I took this giant leap and here I am in a new city, pretty damn proud of myself. And some nights I do have a blast, as evidenced by all the happy pictures that I post. But if you only go by pictures up on a blog, then you're probably not getting the full story.

London is not perfect--it's not a dreamy vacation. Not everyday is interesting. Some days are incredibly boring, overcast and somber. Some nights I stay in and watch a movie, when maybe I should be going out. Sometimes, the cobblestone streets get really annoying.

But the point is, I'm living my life here. Life does not become a fantasy simply by moving to a new city. It takes a lot of effort moving to a new city, and once you are there it takes even more effort to build a new life...

I'm being forced to grow and subsequently feeling those damn growing pains. Homesickness imminently creeps in (read this great post from Emily on that), and not everything stays charming. Through all of this, I'm still very happy that I came here. It's not perfect, but it's great. It's not a vacation, but it's a good life. London is changing me in ways that I needed, and that's the best thing of all.


  1. "It's not perfect, but it's great. It's not a vacation, but it's a good life." I love those lines. It should be what we hope for. Because, who *really* wants perfection?

  2. Exactly. No locale will make your life perfect when you still have to have a daily routine of work/school.

  3. Yep, sounds like you've got it figured out! One thing I often think about the expat lifestyle is that you can spend a lot of your time being a bit down about one thing or another, but the highs are correspondingly higher too. Perhaps because you know you're pushing and challenging yourself.
    If I was adding to my advice from two years ago (which man, I was actually pretty on top of it) I'd say "never turn down an invitation." Unless you've broken your leg or have literally only 35p left in your bank account of course.

  4. That's how I felt when I lived in Paris. It was GREAT (once in a lifetime) but it wasn't perfect. Life has problems and frustrations even if you're living in one of the world's most fabulous cities :)

  5. I remember moving to San Francisco (obviously not as far as San Diego to London). I remember losing most of my old friends and slowly building new friends, which was a struggle for me, especially in my 30's. I am grateful for the ability to find new friends, very good, intimate friends now, and I am so grateful for my life here. I still have New York in my head, but now is not the time for that, unfortunately. Some day...

  6. There's no place like home but this is where you need to be at this stage of your life and that is AWESOME..... so happy for you. And thank you for the wonderful pictures you're sharing.


  7. Great post Ashley. I can relate to what you write, but if the good bits are better than the worst bits are bad, then it's all worth it! (They are for me.) And it's completely ok to stay in every now and then and not do fancy fun things all the time (my opinion)! Enjoy the good bits and take in all the learning that is coming your way!

  8. i lived in london briefly and had a blast, but it was brief. i had a job for a couple of months but it didn't work out and i had to move back up north. i get it though, i feel stuck, not completely happy and ready to give. guess it will happen if i want it.

    re: Albam, yes they're little triangle wallets. the coffee was great.

  9. "Life does not become a fantasy simply by moving to a new city."
    And this post makes me like you even more.
    I'm glad that you're living a real life there. Good times, tougher times, growth times. Thank you for sharing your WHOLE experience!!

  10. ha...i was going to quote what molly quoted because it's so true and i love how you said it. mucho respecto to your street cred friend.

  11. My traveling motto (since I've only lived in US) is, "it's not wrong, just different."


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