This post was supposed to go up this Summer, but apparently it’s really hard to just sit down and write about how your dreams came true.
Albeit, I still tried, I tried in London, I even sat down with my notepad at the Southwark embankment at night and watched party boats pass me by, but I couldn’t do it. I tried again when I got back home, but still no luck. At the end I just decided to drop it and now it’s been couple of months and only a few days left till 2013 and you know how it is, right? When the date gets closer and closer and you just crave some change, you want to do something, even a little thing and I had this idea to sum up my year in this post. Not narcissistic at all, I know.
I’ll have to start with January 2012 when my father’s old friend Steve came to visit for Winter holidays and we had proper celebration with that delicious traditional British Christmas pudding like in Downton Abbey and talked about old days. Back then I still wasn’t sure if going to the UK was going to work out, I mean, I’ve been trying to make this happen for at least six years now and I’ve learned not to get my hopes up, it never ends well. Anyway, Steve and I discussed everything and after he left, I started preparing for visa and other necessary documents. couple of months passed uneventfully and my Visa application was submitted, tickets were bought and Graphic Design courses were booked. I still tried to not get overexcited, because there still was a chance that my visa wouldn’t have been granted, even though Steve did everything to make sure documents were intact. It necessarily didn’t mean that I wasn’t freaking out, though. *cough*
Summer came, my classes at uni ended and I was buzzing with excitement and nervousness more than ever. At the end I was granted and I can’t really describe how happy I had been at that moment.
Couple of weeks later I left for UK. It was a transit flight so I managed to get a speedy tour of Kiev on my way to London. First of all, I’ve never been abroad, like ever, I haven’t left the border even with a car like gone to Turkey or anything, so it was really exciting for me. Then I had to experience to fly. First time was weird, like all the first times. By the time I got to London, I had already changed flights a couple of times and was used to it. Steve met me in Ukraine and flew to England together. When I first saw the UK from the plane, couldn’t really comprehend that soon we were really going to land there. Later I remember sitting in Gatwick express on my way to Victoria station and looking at all those suburban houses rushing by and still not believing that I was actually there, like for real. It was utterly surreal.
My itinerary looked something like this: Steve and I would travel around England for this first week, then he would leave for a business trip and I would start my Graphic Design classes at Central Saint Martins – College of Art and Design. I don’t know how to describe when so many of your wishes come true at the same time. UK has been my dream for forever, Graphic Design is my passion and hopefully my future profession, so it’s not exactly surprising that I spend my time there in haze, still sort of in shock.
Travelling was amazing. Why don’t I travel more? Probably because I’ve seen most of Georgia with my father, but this was still different.
First 3 days Steve and I did a speedy tour of London, most of the usual sights, which was amazing. I have to say out of everything I was amazed with those huge, gorgeous parks, probably because we lack them so much. Parks are everywhere, there were 3 parks surrounding my dorm and I used to lay in grass, sip a hot beverage and scribble things while squirrels who are not afraid of humans at all jumped around being all cute. My favourite landmark is St. James’ Park, maybe because it was my first Royal park, first things are sort of special, right? ))
After sightseeing in London, we got on train left for Salisbury, a lovely town near Stonehenge which at first I thought might be a lovely village and Steve probably spent whole train ride laughing at me for not reading England guide on my way. Trust me, I’ve done enough research, it’s sickening how much time I spent on Google Maps street view learning my routes from dorm to college to 221B and so on )) After I got to England this map in my head sort of turned 3D, whole new experience, let me tell you xD
Anyway, back to Salisbury, which isn’t exactly what I imagined. First of all it is known for its cathedral which had the biggest spire in Europe up until now. I was amazed how you could find every single shop in this small town away from London, how neat houses and neighbourhood was, how it had all those breathtaking parks and for a little while I thought: “Damn, I can imagine staying and getting used to living here. I can imagine it just fine.”
We spent a couple more days there and even though my feet literally hurt so bad that I had to crawl my way to the local pharmacy, I was still buzzing with excitement. Reason for my feet hurting was that Steve and I spent 3 days walking and walking around London and the lazy sod that I am, I really wasn’t used to it at all, also damn jet-lag.
I’m not going to babble more about Salisbury, just going to add couple of photos here and hope that it does justice to that amazing place.
Later we visited Stonehenge and the weirdos we are, we decided to ditch audio guides and do our own tour backwards while tourists were moving the other way. Of course the first thing I thought was Doctor Who and I even said: “Hellooo Stonehenge!”
Next stop: Steve’s parents village Castle Cary. Compared to Salisbury, Castle Cary is 5 times smaller and the majority of the population are elderly people. Let me tell you, in my state, all of them walked faster than I did. I’m really not kidding, they even tried rushing past me on the street and yet another reason for Steve to laugh at such an old soul that I am xD I feel sorry for him that he was stuck with my while travelling, cause I really am an 80 year-old in 20 year-old’s body whining all the time and he’s super energetic and awesome.
Despite its size, Castle Cary was still amazing, We were there during the opening of Olympics and watched it like every other Brit, Industrial Revolution staging was breathtaking. I love Kenneth Branagh. For those of you that know me, are aware how obsessed I am with British telly so I managed to watch some Miss Marple, Poirot & Midsomer Murders while my legs were healing. (lol) During the day I visited a special bookstore, museum, market, tasted Thai food, crumpets & marmite, got to know Steve’s lovely parents & other locals and even watched boys play cricket on a sunny day. Yowza!
I have to say that my aunt Lali was dead wrong on so many levels when she warned me that I’d starve in England since I’m such a picky eater. I basically ate everything because I hadn’t tasted any other cuisine except some Chinese (courtesy of my aunt who lives in Taiwan) So Steve made sure to let me taste different cuisines every time we went out for dinner in London. I managed to taste Japanese, Italian, Fusion, Thai, French and etc. and I think so far my favourite is spring rolls. Damn, I miss that delicious food so much.
After Castle Cary, we went back to England and my Graphic Design classes started. I moved back to Bloomsbury and tried to get used to living alone. Another dream of mine: being independent and for once living alone for more than a week. Check. Living alone in London? Double check. Bloomsbury is breathtaking and I did a lot of walking around as well as learning how to move around London by Tube and those lovely double-decker buses. I remember the first time Steve and I got on Tube and how I amazed I was that forgot to stand on the right side of the excavator and people kindly asked me to move on the right. After couple of times, I learned my lesson and got a hang of it ))
London is diverse and vibrant and everybody’s rushing somewhere all the time with their neat dapper suits and overnight suitcases. They’re so full of energy, it makes me want to be that active and alive as well. It gives me motive and inspiration. Everything is so much more exciting in London. I spent most of my time hanging out except for sleeping. And things were different, people were different they kept complimenting my English and asking about my life, they were genuinely interested and some kept flirting with me and getting my nerdy references. I realised I wasn’t as much of a loser as I felt back home. I felt that home is where the heart is.
There were times when I felt a bit lonely, especially that first exhausting day after I got to my dorm after a long day at college and did chores and when I got in bed and got tangled in my thoughts about things and just life and realised I was all alone in this country. And that tiny little doubt that I had before about not being entirely sure if I could handle all of this vanished, because I realised that I could in fact do it and that I was okay. I guess experiences like that are what makes us more mature in the end.
I had this schedule in London. Wake up at 8 am, get ready, go to canteen for breakfast and eat awesome food, walk to King’s Cross, attend classes, eat lunch attend more classes and then do whatever you’d want. In my case it was more walking around the city. Weeks later my friend Sally who’s from Georgia as well visited from Germany. Being in the UK was kind of her dream as well and after that we got into a habit of visiting museums and all things Sherlock and Doctor Who related in London after my classes. I have to tell you there wasn’t a single important set location left in London that we hadn’t visited. Pictures below.
Before Sally left, we went to Cardiff by train and I managed to cross yet another border, yay Wales^^ Cardiff was awesome, we met our friend Regan there and she turned out to be an amazing tour guide. We visited Doctor Who Experience, walked around Cardiff Bay, visited Ianto’s Shrine and had lunch at Eddie’s Diner from Doctor Who. One disappointment was that apparently I got flu from my coursemate on Friday and I was very sick the whole day. (Dammit Carlos!) Things didn’t get better while we got soaked to our skin when it rained 6 times during 8 hours, we were walking around the city so there wasn’t much that we could do. One last thing before we left, Regan reminded me of that shop that Charlie visited to buy presents for DW cast and crew and I bought that same musical instrument as a souvenir ^^
After we managed to sort of dry up in a train station’s coffee shop, we said goodbyes to Regan. Turned out our train to London was delayed because of the goddamn Olympics. We were stuck in Bristol for two hours and my health got worse, while Sally almost missed her flight to Germany, other than that, the trip was awesome.
Things got back to normal after that. I was sad to see Sally leave, but I still had classes and managed to maintain my routine. After classes I visited more Doctor Who locations and tried to attend as many exciting events and gigs as I could. Soon Steve got back to London and we visited yet more museums and nice places. After some time I changed my dorm and moved to South Bank, where I attempted to write up this blog post:
One of the best days was when I attended ‘Doctor Who’s The Asylum of the Daleks’ Screening and got to meet Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sue Vertue, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. The details about that event can be found on my post.
Before it was time for me to leave, I got to attend one last awesome event: ‘Summer in The City‘, which is an annual YouTubers gathering. Luckily I didn’t go alone, Regan visited from Wales and we had an awesome time. After a long day of meeting all those amazing YouTubers like Myles Dyler, Lindsy Atkins (Charlie’s mom) Eddplant, Mr Tino Forever, Hudson Taylor, Dan & Phil, Chris and PJ, we even saw Charlie while fangirls were running after him. Whole experience was awesome, we attended separate gigs and presentations of Meekakitty & Nanelew, also Tom Milsom, but at the end we were starving. I mean there’s only so much crisps you can eat during the whole day, so we ditched the boring speech at the end and just went and devoured junk food in nearby McDonald’s, because London is bloody expensive and even though I mostly ate healthy food there, sometimes it’s so tempting and why the hell not, right?!
After Steve got back to England, we travelled some more, we visited Arundel and I met more amazing people, also Dover which is closest point to France, Kew Gardens, Windsor and so many brilliant places.
The only thing I couldn’t imagine was getting used to living there so much. Apparently it’s possible, even in such a short period and I never wanted to leave. I know I’m a horrible person, but when I first heard Georgian voices in Boryspil Airport, I felt kind of sick and had this urge to run back. Yeah, I admit that if I stayed longer, at some point I’d start missing my family and friends, but I wouldn’t miss living here, now that I know how right I was about the UK, it’s ten times worse being back here all nostalgic. I can’t begin to describe how I miss it. I miss little things like cafe Nero down the street which we called Cafe NERD, mocking seagulls, laying in the park and soaking up the sun, pouring English Summer rain, my room, travelling with trains and buses and changing lines on tube, getting lost, exploring new things, meeting new people and experiencing new things. Britain is amazing.
Yeah, I am a horrible person, but also I try to be grateful and every time I’m feeling down, I remember that I was lucky enough for all of this to happen to me and that I’ll be thankful for Steve for this great adventure for the rest of my life.
Dreams come true and then you get stuck in this hazy stage. I’m not entirely sure if I want it to go away.
I mean, yeah, shitty things have happened to me for the past couple of years and maybe it is karma, maybe things will keep getting better and better, I don’t know. All I know is that 2012 has been kind of magnificent and my little t-shirt artwork business grew during the year and more and more people are buying my designs and I have to say some of my trip was sponsored by it. Months have passed and right now I’m typing this post from my brand new laptop that I got for myself for Christmas. It’s not about money, it’s more about success for me. It gives me confidence that one day I will be able to study what I actually like, one day I will actually live where I want to and one day I’ll meet a person who will actually like me for who I am.
All of this is ahead of me, for now I have to say that all in all 2012 was bloody brilliant and best year I’ve ever had.
And you, reading this nonsense, I wish you the same.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2013!