After six weeks, the initial glow of finding out that I’ve been accepted at the Cordon Bleu is beginning to wearing off, being replaced instead by a creeping fear that I am not ready for this. This is the reality that I have started creating for myself by enrolling in culinary school and choosing to move to London. It is the beginning of what (I hope) will gradually become my independent adult life, my life after school and university.
Naturally, there’s a lot to think about.
Where am I going to live? How am I going to afford London rents? (Don’t even get me started on bills and council tax and whatnot…) Where do I start looking? Do I want a one-room apartment by myself or do I look for a flatshare? Will the people be nice? What are the transport links like? Is it near an Underground station? How far away is the school? (It’s a surprisingly important consideration when you might have to arrive at 7:30am for an 8am class. Ouch.) How do I arrange viewings when I can’t even get down to London right now? How do I know that I’m making the right decisions, that I’m doing the right thing?
The answer is that I don’t, and that’s what scares me more than anything else.
I’m currently in the process of finding somewhere to live; it’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thought in my head before I fall asleep at night. I check the online listings and agency websites every day, in the hope that something will turn up. I read adverts and write emails until the words become a jumbled blur on the screen and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and forget about them.
My parents keep telling me that I’m thinking too much, fretting too much. “There’s still time,” they say, “you’ll find somewhere eventually and everything will be alright. Just stop stressing out about it, because that won’t do you any good.” Of course, they’re right. (It’s just not so easy to believe when you’ve looked through 117 room adverts that day and been rejected from one even before being given the opportunity to view it.) After all, we’ve already managed to enlist help from some surprising quarters; my dad’s old landlady has very kindly offered to look at flats with us, his work colleagues are offering their advice, even one of my mum’s blog followers has given us some guidance. It’s nice to know that people are willing to help. Beyond that, it’s reassuring to know that I’m not doing this alone.
Even so, it’s still a big step for me, moving away from home and potentially into an apartment with a group of people I’ve never met, in a city that I don’t know all that well. The last time I did that, I was just starting university and living in halls, which is an entirely different experience in comparison. (And an easier one, I might suggest; at least everyone is in the same boat there, whereas now, I will be the new girl among people who have already settled down and built their lives in the big city. And whatever they tell you, it’s always a little bit scary at first, being the new kid.)
But hey, as everyone keeps telling me, there’s still time. Time to find the right place, to sort things out and get everything organised. I just have to believe it.
On an entirely unrelated note, here are some cupcakes.
In spite of the recent cupcake trend, I am not a huge cupcake fan. Perhaps it’s because the ones that you see in shop displays are often more buttercream and sprinkles than cake. Sometimes though, a cupcake can be exactly what you want; a cute, perfectly-sized, individual mini-cake.
My cupcakes, when I make them, tend towards the simple; lemon and poppyseed, banana or even just vanilla. I very rarely glaze or frost them either, preferring instead the plainness of the soft cake. These cupcakes were an exception. They consist of a basic sponge cake base with vanilla extract and lime zest and are glazed with a sharp, citrus-flavoured water icing made with lime juice. Sweet and tart, soft and slightly crunchy from the glaze, they make a nice accompaniment to a cup of tea.
Which is just what I need right now!