The Journey To England

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

London, United Kingdom

Upon my arrival in England, I was really excited and happy to see my sister. I was also looking forward to life in the UK as a twenty-year-old. We got on the tube, and I was mesmerised by how fast this train was moving. We travelled for at least an hour and a half to reach her place.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was surprised that her accommodation was a small two-bedroom flat that she shared with two other tenants. This meant that the lounge was occupied as well as both of the bedrooms. “My goodness,” I thought, “is this England?” I slept that night with mixed emotions of excitement and shock.

I woke up the next day grateful to be in England. My first impression was that it was somewhat quiet; there was not much activity. It seemed that most people went to work in the mornings and returned in the evenings after a long day at work, leaving no time to relax. After a few days, my sister told me that I needed to work so that I could contribute towards the bills.

I was a visitor to the country and, therefore, I was not allowed to work, but my sister said she would help me find employment (happy days). She was glad, at least, that we could start sharing the bills. I secured employment at a college via a catering agency, and my job entailed making sandwiches. My sister showed me the route I needed to take to get to the college, and I started work.

I worked for two weeks before getting my first pay cheque, and it was a measly £110! “What?” I despaired. The amount didn’t seem to justify the many days of waking up at 5:00am to commute, then getting home at 7:00pm. Wow, this was hard. On top of that, seeing other young people at the college gave me low self-esteem. I was not daft, and I wanted to study law, so why wasn’t I enrolled in a university? “Well, you are an international student, and fees are high. Forget that law degree, you can’t afford it,” my sister told me.

My sister informed me how she had extended her visitor’s visa by enrolling at a college, which was cheaper than studying at university. This option gives migrants a one-year visa that can be renewed annually. The other advantage is that students can work legally for 20 hours per week. Life in the UK was hard. The only joy was going to car boot sales and buying clothes for 50p. I was vain, so it was painful to be this low in life. Anyway, after a little while, I bought myself a mobile phone, and that was my greatest achievement that year.

I was always broke; the bills seemed endless, and my travel card had to be topped up every week. It was a never-ending nightmare. I became really depressed and lost all self-esteem. I also started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as a way of fitting in. The only role model I had was my sister, and she spent every God-given minute working or sleeping.... The journey continues in the “Tales of Living in Diaspora” Book, Chapter 11.


How can you ever be late for anything in London?

They have a huge clock right in the middle of town.

Jimmy Kimmel


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