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Bon Journal

Four years on

How time flies!

Four years ago I came back to London - a cold, grey, damp, wet, miserable day. The cab took forever to get me into central London. I was jetlagged from Peru, Colombia, and Houston.

Today, life couldn't be better.

It took me a long time to get used to London again. It was a seller's market in 1997 and I had to spend four months just finding a temporary place to live. As soon as I moved in and played my piano, my neighbours downstairs came up and asked me not to play. So I had to look for another place to live.

For the first time, I got hayfever. I cycled around London with tissues in my pockets. I kept thinking that the hayfever would vanish. Then the coughing started. Westminster, it turned out, had the worst pollution. That's where I chose to live.

I didn't know why I was so miserable then. So I made it a point to fly away once a month. Luckily 1997-98 was a year of weddings. I flew to Shannon, Ireland for a wedding in the Summer. I flew to Rome, Italy for a wedding in the Spring. I flew to Munich, Germany for a post-wedding celebration in the Summer. I played at a wedding in the Summer. In between, I flew to Copenhagen. I just didn't want to be in London, I guess.

I read that single people are happy if they get three things right: financial security, job satisfaction, and close friends. Coming back to London, I had none of the three. My friends had moved. The house prices were unaffordable and the rent was astronomical. And job satisfaction? Even though it was with the same company, effectively I had to prove myself all over again. New people, new procedures, new environment. No wonder I wasn't happy.

28 June 2001

Three Years On, piano solo by Anne Ku