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10 mar201910

But sometimes they come back

London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
The second part of Peyton's drawing was a little bit more optimistic than the first one. "But sometimes they come back" is not perhaps the most optimistic quote of the century but it contains one ingredient we, as humans, desire every day - HOPE.

When I left UK my life has suddenly became this crystal clear, turbulent, and compelling ocean of possibilities. Yes, that is much better description than just "flexible plan". The truth is, it was flexible. I always had some kind of a plan in my head. Where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do but ultimately the universe dictated all my moves. 

One of those plans was coming back to the UK, especially before the infamous Brexit, but I did not attempt to put anything in motion. Until the end of last year that is. I realised that without my MovingWorlds contract and my soon to expire US visa I had nowhere to go. Initially Mexico was my aim. I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't have friend, a job, or any kind of anchor, and wanted a truly independent experience. The initial plan changed and I started looking for a job in Scotland, Canada, Singapore, or Netherlands. I literally picked my favourite countries and decided that if I find the right job I will go anywhere. 

Few conversations later not much was happening on that front and my visa expiration was lurking behnid the corner and sticking its head a little bit more every day. Then suddenly I got an e-mail that made me smile. It was a job offer from company called Zava. Everything looked awesome on paper. Everything but one thing - location... 

I had travelled to London few times in the past, whether it be to visit Matt, meet Ajmer or April, or do some sightseeing with Michał and Paulina. Usually few days at the time was good enough. As a small-town guy I never really liked living in big cities with an exceptional exception of Singapore that will always have special place in my soul. London, I could never get a feel of it, never made a connection to it, which is weird because the history is at every corner. Nonetheless I couldn't imagine myself living there. 

Forward few weeks and I was almost ready to sign the contract. I really liked the idea to work for a medical company but most of all the people I would be working with seemed great. Part of my promise was that if I find the right people to work WITH, it doesn't matter where it is I will give it a shot. 

So I did :)   One day I was in sunny Wilmington and the next in rainy London. The first three weeks I lived in AirBnBs while I waited for my flat to be ready to receive me. It was a long wait! Having a full-time job with your schedule filled between 7am-6pm changes everything. It has been almost two years since I had to live by such schedule so you can imagine my angst to get my own place. 
Between then and now I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Poland to completely surprise my dad, sister, and best friend. Each of them with a unique expression on their faces when they saw me. Nobody really knew that I even left the Americas not to mention that I actually managed to appear in Poland. It was a quick two-day trip, just to suprise aforementioned people and you know what? Sometimes what really matters, considering a non-linear way of my life, are those expressions of people's faces when they haven't seen me for a long time. For a split second you can fill the whole world with the happiness they experience at that moment. 

I am about to finish my 6th week at Zava. Honestly, being back in coporate world has its ups and downs. Yes it's great to be able to actually have a salary and not worry about every penny that you spend but at the same time your wanderlust gene goes dormant again or at least it is made smaller, less significant, at least for the time being.
 

When I left my previous job, it wasn't on the best of term, at least not in regards to my happiness. The politics, nepotism, lack of trust, and other things kept me up at night for a long time. I promised myself that next time I will do it differently, I will notice the red flags, but also that I will not be unhealthily loyal to a concept that could cross you off of the list in a matter of seconds. Thankfully after these 6 weeks I can say that so far my decision was in the right direction. 

I have always wanted to work with medical data and now I have that chance. We have more than a dozen of different nationalities so every day you hear English, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Portugese, and many other languages being spoken around the office. The culture is not just a bunch of words of how the employees should be at its centre, it really is built around them. Every year the company goes away for a weekend abroad. This year it will be Hamburg! Imagine 170 people flying at the same time, we'll probably end up renting our own jet :D 

Having a full-time job means I haven't got all day to just do stuff I would love to do.  Playing pool, dancing, studying Spanish, doing some physical activities, all of them have suddenly become harder to reach. Unfortunately London is not only huge but very overpopulated. I live 45 minutes away from the centre and that's not even long. Some other colleagues live as far as 1.5h away and still commute every day. I decided to not go that far and tried to find a balance between the cost, time to get to work, and the area. So far so good!

My extracurricular activities haven't resumed yet though. Some health problems and general "I need to find myself in the new paradigm" have been a showstopper so far but I'm going to change it very soon. I realised that there are so many things I would like to do or at least try but it's impossible to do them all. Not to a certain standard. While living in other countries the priorities shifted based on financial situation and availability. While in Peru I was learning salsa pretty much every night, in Colombia I developed a passion for making stuff out of nothing, and in US it was about rediscovering my skills as a handyman :D

I remember when I made my decision to leave UK I could not stop being sad for one reason - I would have to give up my tap dancing. I only practiced handful of times since then but I still tap like crazy to any kind of music whether I'm walking, standing in a queue, or just travelling in the sardine transportation system called the Underground.

In other words I have come back people! Living in London has its advantages because there are so many airports around and so much demand that the tickets are very inexpensive, so this year I am hoping to visit Amsterdam, Valencia, Germany, and maybe Switzerland. Few days ago our boss announced that this year's company retreat will be in Hamburg in early August. Imaging 170 people getting their own plane because there are so many of us haha!

Even though my flat would probably fit in Edward's living room (Edward - my house in New Brancepeth) I still have enough space to have guests, so my doors and windows are always open!

On a side note..  The analogy of a pirate coming ashore every now and then reminded me of The Dram Tree. What is it you may ask? 

The Dram Tree is, or was, a bent, somewhat scraggly cypress tree, covered with Spanish moss, that stood several yards out in the Cape Fear River, at a marshy patch on the east bank, near the present location of the State Port and the Sunset Park neighborhood. {"type" : "www", "date" : "14 March 2019", "url": "http://www.myreporter.com/2009/03/the-dram-tree/", "author": "Ben Steelman", "title": "What is the Dram Tree?"}

It was a landmark from colonial times. According to tradition every time a ship would pass the tree whether it be going to or out of the port the crew was allowed to have a dram of rum (or grog) to celebrate safe passage or safe return. Unfortunately in 1940s the tree was removed but few decades later a small memorial park was created. I found it on the way to Tric and it became my favourite place in all of Tree Hill. 
You can see the cypress tree that was planted in the late 80s as a areminder of the many nautical heritages in the history of Wilmington. 

There you have it. I am ashore, for now, I had my dram of rum, but it doesn't mean I am staying put, getting settled, or any other malarky of that type. It just means I need to recharge my batteries for the next step. There's always a next step...
 
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