Sunday Insights

Bus 23

So while I am originally from L.A. this blog starts in London – where I am now. February 2016. I’ve been here for about month studying abroad my last semester of college. (Woohoo!) And I can’t think of a better place to start this journey.

I mean here I am! The start of the new year in a brand new country (I’ll repeat that: brand. new. country.), physically all by myself, with one piece of 50-pound luggage, a backpack and a carry on.

And honestly, I wanted it that way. Being alone in a new place excited me. It thrilled me. I mean think of all the new starts, the new possibilities, all the people you’ll meet who have no ties to back home – not that I was a killer or horrible person back home or anything. It was just the perfect way for me to start off a new chapter in my life. I was ready for a new chapter.

I needed a new chapter.

I’ll also have to admit; I didn’t want help. Maybe that’s the stubborn side of me or the constant improver in me, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I wanted to challenge myself. I needed it.

I needed to know that I was able to go by myself on a plane and get myself to where I needed to go. I needed to prove it to myself. And I did. Not as smoothly and effortlessly as I would have liked but hey I’m going to count it as an overall win.

I know it did take me an hour of being lost around London to find my place. I practically cried once I got there too. Well actually, I was practically going to  cry  bawl being lost around London.

I mean I had followed the directions correctly. Hadn’t I? I got to Ladbroke Grove okay and I am on the 23. But I feel like we’ve been driving for a long time. Is there a map in here? Should I ask the bus driver? No. He’s too far away and I don’t want to lose my luggage. Should I ask the lady sitting next to me? Is she even British? Does she even speak English?

So I decided to ask a lady but…she didn’t hear me. So I timidly backed into the corner of the bus when another lady sitting down asked me “Do you need help?” Oh my gosh. My savior. Yes! Thank goodness for kindness. “Um…yes do you know if this goes to Kensal House?”

“Hmm…Kensal House? I’ve never heard of that before. I think -”

“No,” a wispy, blonde haired lady across the seat piped in, “You’re in the wrong direction completely love. Get off at the next stop and go to the other side of the street and take the 23 the other way.”

“Thank you.”

So per the blonde lady’s advice, I got off at the next stop and trudged to the other side of the street. It was raining. There were masses of people everywhere. I was in an industrial area of London where the signs might as well have been written in Russian. And don’t forget: I had over 70 pounds of luggage to haul. As you can imagine, not my finest hour.

I meekly got to the bus stop, and looked at the map.

Where am I? How do I even read this? Is this even in English? Do I look awkward? They must know I’m a foreigner.

And at that moment, looking at the map on some random busy street in London, my eyes started to water. My vision began to blur. In the midst of the cold rain, I started to get hot under my heavy raincoat. It was only day one, not even day one hour one, and I was already going to cry bawl in the middle of the city.

Then from somewhere inside me, I heard No. You’re not going to cry here. Take a deep breath. You’re okay. Now find out where you need to go and how you’re going to get there.

And I did…kinda. The 23 was on it’s way. I got on. I waited till I got back to the same area I got on the bus the first time to become alert of the bus stops. Then I heard “Kensal Rise.” I looked at the lady next to me and asked her “If this was the same as Kensal House?” My ease of asking questions was much better after the first bus ride. She didn’t know but told me to get off anyways.

I did. Eventually after another 20 minutes of wandering, asking several people who were walking around, and consulting my print outs of the location, I found it. I found my new home for the next three months. My beautiful, perfectly sized apartment that overlooks London.

I had done it. I had made it. I did it.

I plopped on my bed and just thanked myself and the universe for getting here safely.

Has there been a time when you helped you out of a situation?

Mona

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