I was on the tube on Thursday mulling over various unhinged thoughts in my little head when something insanely obvious jumped out and smacked me right in the face with a wet fish. Hard.
I have been misplaced.
By misplaced, I mean when you’re about 9 (or in my case, 20) and you can’t find a particular (and often very important) document/possession. Naturally, you go to mum/dad/the nearest responsible adult and bemoan the fact that you’ve lost said item, only to receive the following unhelpful response, which is usually accompanied by a sigh:
“Are you sure you haven’t misplaced it?”
At which point you indignantly reply that no, you certainly have not misplaced it and then give them a reproachful look in an attempt to make them feel bad for making such a ludicrous and hurtful allegation, only for them to go and find said missing item in the first place they look.
Anyway, back to me being misplaced.
At first, I thought I was homesick. Wednesday was another howler of a day and so I decided to speak with family back home. It consisted of The Leggings Incident, The Mosquito War and an unfortunate trip to the supermarket.
Firstly, The Leggings Incident:
On Tuesday, I decided to go and buy a cardigan after work, except that failed miserably and I ended up buying legwarmers and leggings which were in a sale. I then decided to wear the red pair – yes, I actually have something colourful in my wardrobe – to work yesterday. Now, I’m incredibly lazy when it comes to my appearance, (as my father will confirm) and so I decided to wear a long sleeve t-shirt instead of a tunic – the length of this particular item is key. If you pull it down far enough, it comes just short of half-way down my thigh.
So, yesterday morning I got up (in the dark) and got dressed (in the dark – because I’m
lazy thinking of the environment and saving energy) and went to work. I did get a few odd looks on the tube, but this isn’t particularly unusual, so I didn’t pay any attention.
I then spent the morning working and attending various meetings with colleagues as usual. At lunchtime, I went to the loo and discovered – much to my absolute horror – that my leggings were opaque on my lower legs, but the higher up my leg, the more transparent they became.
The looks on the tube this morning were because you could clearly see my underwear through my leggings. Mortified, my face promptly turned the colour of said offending item of clothing.
Cue walking around for the rest of the day trying to pull my top down far enough to cover the tattered remains of my dignity:
I then had to go to the supermarket on the way home and in true keeping with the day, I got to the till and realised I had no money on me. I had to run home, grab my wallet and then run back.
When I got home, I then had the Mosquito War. For the past few days, I’ve been waking up each morning with insect bites, which is rather confusing given the time of year – but not when you realise that the weather has been uncharacteristically warm as of late. The thing is, back home in England, the mosquitos/bitey insects there were typically British and we had an understanding: you don’t touch me, I won’t kill you.
I’d just gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed in my room when I noticed the little bastard hanging upside-down from my ceiling:
What happened next can only be described as an epic battle of titans.
My eventual victory, however, was short-lived.
Whilst I had remembered to shut my bedroom door, I hadn’t shut the curtain to my balcony. Being on the 4th floor, this wouldn’t normally be a problem. But because I was obviously having such an underwear-orientated day, it would just so happen that we currently have builders working on scaffolding directly opposite and they’d seen the entire debacle of me half-dressed, seemingly dismantling my bedroom single-handedly, all the while waving an old newspaper around.
Needless to say, I was disctinctly unamused.
I then decided to ring home and whinge/laugh/cry about the utter rubbishness of it all. After an hour or so of singing to/with my Grandmother and catching up on all of the adventures and happenings back home, I felt…weird.
Which is where my original statement about being misplaced comes into play (if you can remember that far back). Living here in Munich is interesting. I don’t know any other country which can have an international stereotype of being so straight-laced, (and here in Bayern) religious, and yet is still perhaps the only place in Europe where an annual beer festival can take place for 3 weeks without people rioting and the whole place being burnt down to the ground. The public transport is generally on time (I hope you’re reading this, TfL), clean – at least, by British standards – and efficient.
In short, it’s clean, orderly and I swear that it even occasionally has that “new car” smell to it. The streets are built in the rather American grid-like layout, so should you miss a street, then you can easily turn down the next one and the buildings still have something of their original colour to them.
In other words, I currently feel like the child who has forcibly been made to relinquish their favourite, much-loved and lived-in slobby jumper for a brand-new, smart looking suit that itches and is bloody uncomfortable.
Or you could compare it to being the messy person who’s just been invited in to the living room of their OCD colleague/friend and then feels horribly uncomfortable and out of place.
I don’t belong here in the orderly and the clean; I belong in the mess, the chaos and the dog-eared.
Don’t get me wrong – London is far from perfect. I have slowly been learning that there is no such thing as absolute perfection. (Which, as a perfectionist, has been exceptionally hard to grasp) London is grimy and sooty; the transport system is an absolute shambles and everything is mind-bogglingly expensive. Yet it has a certain dog-eared quality to it that your favourite teddy has. I bet your favourite teddy isn’t looking anywhere near as clean as he did the day you first got him.
I like the chaotic layout of the streets, too. It makes getting lost interesting and you also never quite know what you’re going to find on account of the vast mix of cultures we have. I like it when the weather’s cloudy, drizzly and a little nippy – it’s what London’s known for. But most of all, it’s the character that the city has – the intricate gothic architecture, the historical sites and the quirky little things like the Jewish cemetery in the middle of my university campus.
I moved to London about 2 years ago to start my degree, and I guess the reason I miss the place so much is because I associate it with feeling like I truly belong somewhere for the first time in my life.
I enjoy what I do and I have met some of the most amazing, genuine, intelligent and inspiring people there.
In other words, it’s home.
So, my course of action? Why, sulk, of course.
That, and maybe some slightly inebriated singing along to Adele’s Hometown Glory in my room this evening. And maybe tomorrow, too.
Or just all week.
Because the problem isn’t just that I’m misplaced.