Today, a year ago was the beginning of an adventure that I never imagined would be (really and finally) given in my cards.
Among all my three big 20s dreams, master degree abroad was my number one for the sake of living abroad, in Europe to be exact. Not really have to be a master degree. Whatever that could make it, but master degree seemed to be the most reasonable one. The memory of living in Manchester back in 1994 for two months was too strong until it became my fuel for the next twenty years, even until now.
Master degree abroad was fulfilled, although it wasn’t exactly as the heart wanted. Since more than ten years ago, reading all those women’s living abroad blogs always make me excited. Reading and looking at those pictures while dealing with the situation during the first years of marriage and motherhood made me buried (half of) the wishful thinking about having such dream.
Let alone to live abroad, even visiting Paris seemed to be so impossible.
During those years, it felt even harder when watching the very closest relatives got and lived my dream so ‘easily’. Few times wondered, how could they get it and I was still stuck here after years of trying, praying and daydreaming until it became my constant stomachache? The heart was wrenching when the two brothers went off to this country for master degree. Happy for them and a big sigh for me.
When Paris was unlocked in 2016, that was when the doors started opening for many adventures to come. Seven days of autumn in Paris was exactly the childhood dream that had been longing for a long time. It was unbelievable that my turn finally came after so many years.
After Paris, the ball seemed rolling faster than I could ever think of. It feels like receiving continous pleasant surprises from life, although they always come together with twists and more twists. London, Tokyo, Seoul, and many more places were totally unthinkable to almost impossible for our situation at that time. When it finally came true, all those times really made the long wait worth every second of it.
Spending a week in a new city once a year started giving so much strength and became new fuel to work hard for the whole year.
Traveling as tourists is already big for us. But, nothing prepared me to receive another huge surprise from life as big as London for the third time. This time, it was exactly as I had been longing.
London was never in the first option for the doctor’s study destinations. Inquiries sent randomly to many places, without satisfying answer.
An email in the spam folder suddenly came and changed the whole game in just one night. An email that we could just miss. But we didn’t. After all the rejections, in one night everything suddenly worked. Just like that.
I remembered having sleepless night after talked for an hour with the doctor once he finished his online interview and received the offical offer letter within an hour after the interview. We didnt even have to wait for a single day.
I couldnt help keep asking at that time: is this even real?
It scares me sometimes about the way our prayers granted. It’s beyond what we ask and often feel too good to be true.
This one year in London was the answer of many prayers sent for years. Many in quantites and qualities. The prayers of the doctor to pursue some trainings abroad, the desperate prayers of a mother who kept asking about her daughter conditions (and her forgotten dream of living in Europe), and maybe deep down inside, the desire of the little girl who was craving for a place where she could feel accepted.
This one year in London feels like receiving compound interest of the saving from three people. We couldn’t get here on our own and without each other’s ‘savings and investment’.
That became clear why I would never made it during my 20s.
I couldn’t be more grateful to live the dream than any other time but now. Allah knows but He waits is the truest phrase. He let me enjoyed living the dream more than what I had asked. I often imagined the conversation inside my head :
“I really want to go (and live) there,”.
“Be patient. You’ll be there even before you realize it. Just keep going,”.
And yes, years from there, here I am.
All those prayers were safely stored until the right time came. Allah saved it for the time when I and we needed this most. He knows I wouldnt survive living here as a student, instead He sent me here as a partner and a mother. It came to my mind that He prepared me first through many years in between until He knew I was ready. Just like every single thing that happened in my life. When it happens, then He knows I am ready.
Ready living the dream with all the bonuses. Something that is truly beyond my calculations.
He sent me here when I could use my time freely, enjoying day to day life without worry about money (unlike the master degree abroad days nine years ago), exploring the city, visiting many places in my bucket list, learning about things that I want to learn.
He sent us together once the doctor finished all his duties, from five years of PPDS to another year of WKDS. He sent us when the time this pandemic started. He sent us right when the things related to little girl’s situation was getting so frustrating.
I left my 15 years job, my comfort zone, the company of friends and family, I should do many things that previously done through others’ help by myself, taking care things that normally being outsourced to other people, dealing with the weather that sometimes unbearable, conversing in language that I often couldn’t even understand (It is so true), it’s far from easy, yet I never felt as sufficient as before.
I love the fresh air, wide green spaces everywhere, proper playgrounds are easily accessible, good public transportation, range of products in grocery shopping, the smell of fresh baked pastries with great price in supermarket, free attractions to visit, the weekend markets all over the city, a library with great collections, and so many more.
I love our flat, the neighbourhood by the Thames river. I enjoy spending most time at home. Reading, cleaning, doing things in kitchen, like found a new love for baking, being a teacher to the little girl for many things, something that made me realize how much it takes and needed to raise a child (without helps). No wonder I felt more tired previously because combining works outside and child raising truly sucked the energy.
I don’t have to wait for weekend nor avoid Monday, I set my daily routine to stay sane and so far it works well. I really have proper time to do things that are important for me, I have time to entertain my curiosity in particular subject, to get lost in the city by trying new bus routes in between school time, to join a volunteer of my interest and meet lovely people there, or even just as simple as reading book samples in my google play.
After years of long hours daily work, even on the weekend, we know there’s a situation in some place where work-life balance does exist. Generous leaves allow us to travel on weekdays, had a date in the middle of the week, spent few days every two weeks to prepare the food for the following week, how I love having stay at home father and husband.
The list is long and I can keep going until tomorrow.
In short, here, in London, I am living this definition of rich below. The kind of rich that is beyond money.
Like I wrote previously, sometimes, it feels scary to receive so many. But it would be scarier to forget that we have receieved so much more than our plea.
Hopefully not and never.
This one year in London is truly a big plate of sweet dessert at the end of one tough decade.
And I will be forever grateful for this.