18-years old, body-conscious and shy, I set out to go abroad for further studies. It was the beginning of a new life. I had been told all these pretty stories about how one cannot get tired of London’s life. I believed London possesses everything that life has to offer. To some extent, it may even be true. But what I was not told was that there will be days when I will feel so homesick that I won’t be able to move, there will be mornings where the only courage I could muster up would be to open my fridge and eat ice cream for breakfast. Lucky enough, more often than not, I had days when I loved life and myself more. Maybe it was while dancing in the kitchen after cooking a half-broken meal that I realized how truly happy I was, just being with myself. For me, it was the start of a journey on the path of self-love after many years of living in self-doubt.
I was told that I will miss being home for the hundreds of festivals we celebrate and I did. I celebrated my first birthday away from home and I think I cried for more than half the day. But when it was time to go back home then my tiny student accommodation room and university library felt more like home than that house in Delhi ever did.
I made friendships for a lifetime, friendships that were not forced and friends that I never thought I would have the pleasure of having. Maybe I formed better friendships in those few months than I did in my entire 14 years of school life. I feel like I got to know myself better. I had never been this independent in my entire life. This one year made me feel like I had been living in a bubble before. Grocery shopping seemed so useless here and I hardly ever went but back in London, my trips to the grocery store were a stress buster. I would spend quite a significant amount of time after classes were over at the grocery store. I would try out new cakes, juices, fruits and candies. Sometimes, I would just roam around all the different aisles and go home.
I started exploring the city, as well as myself through it. I never cared much for shopping before, but there I realized that I enjoy shopping only when I am alone and going about it at my own pace. I was enjoying my company for the first time ever. However, little did I know that a global pandemic was about to put a halt to this new story in my life. It all came down collapsing when my father called me one morning in panic in March and told me that I needed to pack anything and everything that I could and I’d be on the first plane to Delhi the next morning. I was not ready to face this part of my life just yet, as I was just beginning to be consumed by the beauty of this new life. If only I knew that this new story may just have been a short chapter.
It took me two months to find myself back again at home in Delhi, bit by bit, in the same old environment which seemed brand new now. It has been a few months, and it is getting better, I believe. I think I will keep finding myself in uncertain situations as and when I start to feel too comfortable, which is intimidating yet exciting. Maybe I will be stuck in a safe space for now, but I cannot wait to build myself up again in the real world and discover previously unknown things about myself. I cannot wait to find out what is coming next.
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