Wednesday, July 4

This is your life...

It's a bit of a quiet night tonight, James is out working and I'm not panicking or crying for once. With my 26th birthday coming up I have found myself reflecting on the past 6 months, since I moved to London.

Last year I was disillusioned with my job and unhappy at being so far away from my boyfriend. I was going nowhere. I was only working part time, and the PGCE course that I wanted to do alongside my teaching job was shut down. I was living with my parents in the middle of nowhere. All of my friends were scattered all over the UK and I missed them desperately, like having a tummy ache. My debts spiralled out of control as I struggled to keep up with repayments on my limited income.

I have a dodgy tuna sandwich from Waitrose to thank for all that's happened since then. If I hadn't had food poisoning then I'd never have had the revelation. I remember this light-bulb moment distinctly as the moment that changed my life.

It was as easy as filling in a form and having an interview. I was offered a place at the first university that I applied to. The application process was so fast that I never really had a chance to worry about it.

In November I had a job interview in Walthamstow to work as a Personal Tutor. There were 5 other interviewees and I didn't expect much to come from it. I mean, it was a huge College in a massive city and my only experience was making films with country kids! Crazily i was offered the job.

'Great', I thought, 'I can start planning my move to London'. I was delighted at the prospect of renting a place with James. But then I realised I'd have to rehome my two beautiful bunnies as I'd never have enough room for them in a tiny flat. Handing my Big Bun over (who I'd had since he was a baby) was gut-wrenching. I managed to sustain a brave face through it all, but only because I'd spent the prior week booing and hooing like a baby whenever I heard him thump his back foot.

January came, and with it moving day and my first day of work, just two days apart! After 2 very stressful days (and two flat tyres!) I suddenly found myself thrown right in at the deep end and addressing my first class of 30 London youths. It must have been terrifying, but I can't really remember. i was so busy trying to cope with all the changes that the familiarity of the classroom was a comfort to me. This was my territory. I could do this!

In February James and I got a new addition to our little family, Cheeky the rescue bunny, and we are both completely in love with him (even though he accidentally bit James last night). I started looking into sorting out my financial issues, as I now had a regular income to use as a bargaining tool. I spent this entire month opening all my scary bills and threatening letters and adding up all my debts. It was SO hard, I can't even begin to tell you, and I was so ashamed that I didn't share my fears with anyone, because I was worried about being judged. It took two months to set up properly, and a lot of sitting with my fingers crossed hoping the banks would be nice to me. But now I am in a debt management plan that allows me to pay off what I can afford every month, and I don't get nasty letters any more!

No time to breathe yet, I'm afraid, as there was the small issue of university finance to sort out. This is a trial in itself. I had to go back to being 18 again and filling in all the grant and loan forms.

May saw the arrival of my first assignment from university. June saw me trying to sort out a primary school placement for September. And at the end of this month I'll have to start thinking about giving in my notice and getting ready for the first day of term. It won't stop, but I have accepted that life doesn't. It uncoils like twine and you have to ride out every rough patch and savour every single fleeting moment of happiness. I love living with James, I still get a flutter in my tummy when I see him walking home from work up the hill. I enjoy making him ham sandwiches for lunch every day and running him baths. Crouch End feels like home. Just down the road I have a great doctor, a dentist and an AMAZING bakery that sells beautiful doughnuts. I also have my best friend within 15 minutes walk, and that is something that, after 3 years of living hundreds of miles away, I will NEVER take for granted.

It's slowly, slowly clicking into place. There are definitely stormy times ahead, but now I have the benefit of hindsight.

Oh, and did I mention the several times my hot water/washing machine broke down, the time my car was clamped in South Kensington and the unexpected MOT bill for £400? No? Well, I coped with them too!

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