A week from today I’ll board an airplane at Heathrow and end my life as an expat– for now, at least. It’s doesn’t feel like it’s been two years at all, and part of me is still anticipating a return to a US that is unchanged, with friends’ lives that have been put on pause. Even with packing up all my mementos and filled journals, the collected ephemera isn’t enough of a barometer to convince me that time has passed.
In the process of packing up my flat, I came across a few rolls of film that I’d never gotten developed. On two of them were the photographs I shot on my first trip to London, a short but magical four days in November 2011.
I flew to London on November 11, which meant that I experienced the day from two very different perspectives– in Warsaw (where it’s Independence Day) in the morning, and in London (where it’s Remembrance Day) in the evening. I’m very proud of my passport stamp that reads 11/11/11. My photographs are filled with poppies and Christmas decorations (I just included my favorite of each here.)
It’s a strange to go through these photos and realize that they capture my first glimpses of places that are now intimately familiar to me: my first time standing in Somerset House, where I went to school; my first foray into Shoreditch, where I live now. I remember staring at the street art and wondering about the lives of the people who walked by it every day. More than a year and a half later, I’m still in disbelief that I got to be one of them.