Cheers, London.

It has been exactly three weeks since I've arrived back in Toronto after spending two months in London. I hadn't been able to blog due to the failure of my laptop two weeks into my stay, but here I am, all settled back at home and ready to report.

Like many of my friends already know, London has been my number one destination for over two years. I wanted to gain work experience in the design world, see a different culture, and most importantly gain some independence. After months of working on my portfolio and sending out applications, I managed to land two internships back to back. Up until a week prior to my flight did I start feeling a sense of doubt... not necessarily on whether or not I can deliver during my internships, but whether or not I can adapt to being alone in such a large city. Surprisingly, never for a moment did I feel afraid after landing in London - more so a surge of anticipation for everything that has yet to come. The drive to my flat was the longest drive of all, over an hour of "are we there yets?" running over and over in my head. The unfamiliar streets, the architecture, and overall cultural change was apparent, but it was still hard to sink in that I was actually in London.

Needless to say, being the first trip by myself it took a good few weeks to settle in. But whether it was sharing a flat with strangers, adapting to the 9-5 life, or exploring the city alone, I've grown to quite enjoy it. I've learned to embrace spontaneity, things don't always have to go as planned. I can waltz into a bookstore in Camden and read on top of Primrose Hill for as long as I want while the sunsets. From visiting a different museum/gallery every weekend in June, to wandering different markets almost every weekend in July, I had the opportunity to understand myself better and challenge my weaknesses. Along the way, I met some amazing people: music lovers, art lovers, young souls, old souls, from various different cities. We often chatted about what we liked about London, where we're heading, and bits of our past. Conversations would be filled with laughter and awe as I learned more about these individuals. I made friends from Brighton and Paris who welcomed me into their city and showed me around. Friends from East/West London, and all over, and I am super grateful for each of them.

In regards to my experience during my internships, I learned a great amount about package design and what roles are needed in a well-functioning agency. From Artworkers to Account Managers, everyone had an important job. It was great experiencing first hand working with a design team, sitting in meetings and briefings, hearing feedback from Design Directors and Creative Directors, as well as hearing what the clients had to say. I've only had experience freelancing, so working at a design agency with different people of different talents was certainly insightful. I was fortunate enough to have worked with friendly and caring people who made sure my stay in London (and their agency) was worthwhile. I'm glad that the "real-world" isn't as daunting as it seems, there was certainly many giggles throughout the day. I really enjoyed my time spent during my placements, thank you to Pearlfisher London and Smith and Milton immensely.

Coming back from London, I've grown a new sense of excitement for what my future holds. Of course I adore London, but I would love to see how the design culture is like in New York, San Francisco, and Asia. My last year of YSDN begins in 2 weeks, which means graduation is near... Yikes! I guess I'll end this blog with a quote from a great novel I am currently reading: The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. (P.s. the book I bought and read on top of Primrose Hill is called The Art of Mindful Walking: Meditations on the Path by Adam Ford. An interesting read, definitely were some truly relatable excerpts in there!)

Idleness dulls the spirit.
— Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angels Game