In 2009, I moved to London without very much guaranteed. I didn't have a job, just some agencies who provide supply work, who I signed up with. I didn't have an appartment, and was staying with some very kind friends of my cousin. Within a matter of hours of arriving in London, however, I left Oxford Circus (with the help of my good friend Aly) armed with a loaded Oyster card, a bank account, a mobile phone and a hair straightner. It was a good start to a good year. I think I took advantage of my time in London. I photographed it's historic sites, I shopped it's stores, I wandered it's old cobble stone streets and I dated it's bankers.
And then, after living in Turkey for 5 months, I went back to London.
The problem with going back to a city where you have so many good memories and friends is that you begin to miss living in that place. Alot. So much so, that you begin to maybe, just maybe, wonder if you made the right decision to leave.
I met up with a good friend in London, who just so happens to be Turkish but living in London, and was recounting to him my stories of living in Ankara and traveling Turkey. Turkey is awesome, I told him, but Ankara is, well, Ankara. There's nothing amazing or awful about it. There is not endless entertainment or fascinating cultural landmarks, like Istanbul, but I'm not exactly hurting for a trip to the hamam, a night out in a bar, or a band to see in Ankara. My friend asked me to rate Ankara from 1-10, considering work, social life, Turkish men...everything. I lied and told him 7. He knows me too well and we agreed on 6. A 6 is not bad, he said, and really the best you can hope for when you move to a completely foreign country. In Ankara's defense, my rating fluctuates depending on how much fun I'm having (read: how many glasses of wine I've had and if Soul Project is playing). In those cases, Ankara can easily become an 8 or 9. Just don't ask me what I think about Ankara after I've sat on an 8 hour overnight bus. I'll likely just snarl and grumble profanities.
I know I had to leave London, and I think I figured out how you know when it's time to leave a city. You know it's time to go when you're on vacation and the idea of going back to where you live fills you with utter dread. I remember trying to decide whether or not to take the job in Turkey when I was living in London. I was on vacation in Greece (a prolonged vacation due to winning the EasyJet Iceland Volcanic Ash Sweepstakes), sitting on the beach waiting for my cab to take me to the airport. Please, please, please don't make me go back to that bad, rainy, unfriendly, busy, crowded place, I thought. I just want to stay here in the sun. And the next week, I was on a plane to Turkey to visit my then-prospective school.