I was walking around London the other night with my head in the clouds, thinking about a thousand things (what to make for dinner, an upcoming birthday, emails that need answering, a roll of film to pick up, why we get goosebumps* and all that jazz) when I realized that my feet had taken me to my destination all by their lonesome. There I was, at Fulham Broadway Station, without really knowing how I got there. And then it hit me — I have just entered my 4th month of living in London and it’s only now beginning to feel like home. Everybody told me that it takes about 6 months to get used to a new place but when you’re plagued with doubt in that first month of transition — why, oh why, did I ever leave home? — it’s hard to believe that you will ever get accustomed. But you do. You adapt and before you know it, you don’t have to pull out a map or check your GPS to know exactly where you are going.
I’ve been to four weddings and a funeral since I’ve arrived in London (true). I’ve seen several plays, attended discussions on topics ranging from millinery to the cosmos and the psyche. I’ve seen the mole man’s house and I’ve been to photo exhibits and dinner parties and picnics in the park. I’ve had more cider than I can count in just as many pubs. I’ve traveled up to Scotland and down to Cornwall, saw shooting stars while camping by the river Wye and watched hot air balloons float above Bristol by dawn. I swam in the ponds of Hamptead Heath and the fairy pools of Skye. And I went from being in a long distance relationship to learning how to be in a “real” relationship. It’s been a wild and amazing summer, no doubt about it.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned this summer is that whatever seems impossible on the onset, all the little things you fear, those things that scare you stiff and stop you from moving forward and make you want to stay rooted where you are… they disappear with time. And it’s only when you look back on the past that you realize how much you’ve conquered. And the only way you can get to the other side is through. And the more often you go through, the easier it becomes and the more you trust at the next onset that everything is going to be alright in the end. And so… you jump. Knowing that you have the safety net from all your previous jumps to catch you.
And that’s where goosebumps come from.
* Goose bumps are the bumps on a person’s skin at the base of body hairs which may involuntarily develop when a person is cold or experiences strong emotions such as fear, nostalgia, pleasure, awe or admiration. They are created when tiny muscles at the base of each hair, known as arrectores pilorum, contract and pull the hair erect. The reflex is started by the sympathetic nervous system,which is responsible for many fight-or-flight responses. Source: Wikipedia
Jeanine Caron is a regular contributor to Gypsy Girl’s Guide.