Writing a novel seems simple – starting a chapter, braiding words into itinerant sentences, following the string guiding you towards the conclusion. In real life, this knowledge of natural story flow does not make creating memories any less bittersweet. Thoughts wander the same road each time there is a turning point in my life and the decision gets made to write about it. Is it better to start writing before, throughout, or after the experience? Truth is, that no matter which way you prefer, the story decides. This particular blog post took me about two months to complete. Or, an even better description would be that it took two months to put into words my thoughts of London – a city that has been an inseparable part of my life for the past seven years.

Looking back at the time spent in London, the most memorable moments were not created by the city itself. Nor the buildings. They were about the people I met, about how living abroad has changed my relationship with the rest of the world. My homeland, for example. Not many know this but the main reason why I have decided to study abroad was that I could never imagine myself living in Lithuania. Everywhere I looked, there was darkness, sharpness, angriness. People, food, architecture, language. All covered with muddy fog. There was sunshine too, although it was difficult to see with nothing to compare. For the first few years of living abroad, I avoided going back home for as long as I could. Then, a few years ago, something shifted. If there is one thing that living in London has taught me, it’s that nobody will make you happy unless you choose to be. Suddenly, Lithuania was no longer the land of darkness but a place with countless moments of unexplored potential.

That is what I would like to thank London for. For surrounding me with a cotton-candy-flavoured conversations where simply being yourself is enough. For teaching that trees let go of their leaves for a reason. That each season adds different – yet essential – colours to the growing up palette. For showing that bridges endure as long as the links of supporting chains stay together. That some people walk, some people run, some people dance their way through routines, following the rhythm of time meant for their ears only. For the music of autumn leaves, fairytale-like reading sanctuaries where the line between paper and dreams disappear. For gardening lessons and seeds of a positive mindset that turn deserts into seas.

This leads to the simple fact that London was always a temporary stop. Most people have something that keeps them going. What gets me out of bed each morning is the unknown. All sorts of events can occur throughout the day that could completely change the kind of person you are by evening. Sounds abstract? There is a final destination in mind – which I will write about when the time comes – to which no road exists. This is why I am building one that works for me. Each day constructing a brick that fits the other pieces like a puzzle and gets me one step further.

A brick I found myself holding this summer was a ticket to Lithuania. Although a temporary stop, leaving London was not an easy decision to make. A question that echoed a lot was what if this is as good as life can get? Who would want to leave a perfectly well-paid job in a perfect office with a perfect team and responsibilities? As it turns out, someone who stops growing in their comfort zone. This is where I say thank you to Create Lithuania for getting me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. Joining this program for a year was on my wish list since the first year of law school and it was finally a brick that fits into my puzzle. More details to come in due course – alongside bringing this website back to life.

Speaking of Lithuania – sure, there have been a few minor cultural differences to adjust to after almost seven years of living abroad. My brain would appreciate a crash course about elevators with no ground floor or not making small talk about the weather with strangers. Who could have guessed that home feels like a stroll to work admiring pastel blushed skies, not being the tallest person in the room, bumping into people you know on the street, going to the shop and seeing twenty thousand different types of cookies and cakes. The jury is still out on whether it was the country that improved significantly or my perception. Whilst a part of me has stayed and will always roam around London, my mind is content.

Before I say ‘goodbye, London
– I said ‘looking forward to our next
meeting, my dearest friend‘.

Dear Gabriele Marija,

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