It’s done. I moved to London. I still cannot comprehend it fully, but it happened. Two months ago I was still a Bulgarian in Sofia, going about his daily life. Now I am in the UK, I have a job and an apartment (flat, pardon me), and I am writing this in my new bedroom.
This is an attempt, rough and unedited, to put my thoughts on paper and maybe try to understand what happened. Why did I move? The truth is, I don’t know. I desperately needed a change. I had been working for the same (awesome) company for 5 years. I knew that I wanted to experience more of the world, but it would almost certainly mean that I had to put up with some unpleasant stuff and lose a lot. Change is hard. Maybe that’s why the British are not so fond of it, but it is necessary. Like they say – to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs. In the end, I am glad that I decided to move. Now I can at least say that I have tried and if it doesn’t work out for me, I will know why. Although the way it looks for now – it is going to work out.
I loved my life in Sofia. I had a job which allowed me to live carelessly. I was doing better than the average Bulgarian. I was out all the time with the friends I loved (and still love). I had time for guitar, I went snowboarding in the winter, went to the seaside for the summer where all the action is. I could visit my family whenever I wanted to, just a 2-hour drive away in my first self-bought car. But in a little corner in my mind I knew that I wasn’t getting everything I wanted. While I was going about my daily stuff, I couldn’t help but notice the misery and bad stuff around me. I couldn’t stay blind for the unimaginable corruption of the politicians which was becoming so widespread that everyone just accepted it. I was getting the feeling that the Bulgarian nation was just learning to live with the cancer that it had. It had switched from fighting to acceptance.
Then the protests happened. Hope. There were still people in my home country who cared and wanted to live a normal life like most 21-century human beings. This was like a ray of sunlight coming from out of nowhere in our dark basement. I grabbed onto it like it was the last thing that could save me. I was there when I could, walking the streets with the rest of the hard working people who’d had enough. For 6 months we stood on the streets standing up for what we thought was right. And nothing happened. The government stepped on the brakes, but instead of shifting into reverse and doing the right thing, they went around and still did what they’d planned, in secrecy.
There were, of course, the poets of the revolution, who were in the media all the time shouting about how this was the birth of the Bulgarian civil society, the beginning of a new era. But the corrupt were still in parliament, spending our money and the poor and uneducated were still voting for them in return for a 20 leva bill. Bulgaria had cancer, and we were treating it for sunburn. Worse, we couldn’t even agree what the actual disease was.
The education was becoming less and less relevant. More people were getting degrees, but there were less qualified workers. The national debt was increasing and someone would have to pay it afterwards. Everything was done without thinking about the cost and the next generations would have to just swallow it and deal with it.
Would I want to live in a society like this? No, I wouldn’t. Would I want my children to live in it? Of course not. Would I pay the price of losing contact with my closest people to try and fix my life for good? This was the question which had been bugging me for at least a year, and the hardest one to answer. And although I don’t know the answer to this moment, I am now in London trying to move on.
From what I have written it may seem like it was all a question of politics. It was not. There wasn’t just a single reason for my move. It wasn’t the dirty streets or the economic climate. It definitely wasn’t just the government. After all, I was doing fine despite their wrongdoing. It wasn’t just the job. I had a wonderful job, my colleagues were my friends and it payed generously. I wanted more opportunity, and wanted to do something different. I wanted to learn more, but I was still happy. Maybe that’s what made my choice so hard. I was happy the whole time and there wasn’t a single specific thing which was driving me mad to the point of giving up. But all these reasons, by their powers combined, created this Captain Dead End situation which felt like living in an artificial aquarium. I felt like a gold fish, which was doing better than the regular fish, but it was still in the same aquarium, being a prisoner. It had limits to what it could do, because it had already done what’s possible in this local environment. So I jumped out, hoping to reach the ocean. I am currently somewhere on land, where it feels foreign, but I seem to have caught some stream which allows me to breathe and is carrying me somewhere better.
London seems great. I have experienced only good things so far, and none of the bad. I haven’t been mugged, but I have gone through the awful process of finding an apartment (flat, that is. dammit). I have seen Camden, and Brick Lane market, and work seems to be starting off wonderfully. I miss everyone in Sofia, I miss my guitar, but I am starting to feel good. Let’s hope it keeps getting better and better.
I have a ton of things to explore. I have plenty of the best clubs in the world. There is also plenty of history waiting. There are startup meetups, bars, trains, castles, bakeries, restaurants, streets, graffiti, concerts, galleries, people. I am looking forward to all that. Wish me luck.
(Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38181284@N06/8697705007/)