Lifestyle Personal

35 Happy Years in the UK

January 15, 2015

Today feels like a milestone. Today, 35 years ago on the 15th January 1980, I arrived alone, with a suitcase, to live in the UK. Today, I want to honour the country that has become my physical as well as spiritual home.

35 happy years in the uk
The Diamond Jubilee

Let me tell you a story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl. Born to Jewish parents, she was raised in Germany. She wasn’t loved at home, in fact she was treated more like Cinderella. Desperately shy and unhappy she dreamt of escaping this world.

One Sunday afternoon she was talking to a friend who studied at a Boarding School in the UK. Plucking up courage she asked her parents to send her there. Miraculously, they said yes!

When she arrived, scared and with a minimal knowledge of the English language, it was the first time people were kind to her. They told her she’s beautiful, intelligent, talented. It meant the world to her, but of course she didn’t believe it!

35 happy years in the uk
The wonderful times of the London Olympics.

Years later, in a very high powered job, with a dashing boyfriend, she was jet-setting around the world. One day, the platinum roof she had built came tumbling down in the form of a very dramatic nervous breakdown. She was 26 years old.

Life and her world had changed yet again. No job, no boyfriend but now with panic attacks she found herself in Therapy and so her recovery started. You see, you cannot built a platinum roof on no foundations. It’s the foundations that keeps the house up!

All throughout these times there was always one comforting and re-assuring factor. It was living in London, in a multi-cultural society with people from all walks of life. It was in London that she turned into a swan. It was in London that she ‘created’ herself. It was in London that she felt ‘at home’ in all aspects of her life.

35 happy years in the uk
City skyline drawn by me.

The little girl is now a grown woman. She lives happily ever after in her dream city of London amongst her people and tribe.

I salute you United Kingdom. I salute you London. Thank you for making me feel so at home. You are fantastic and here’s to the next 35 years!

Oh, and Cinderella might not have been whisked away by her prince, but to her she lives a majestic life! (You don’t still believe in fairy tales, do you?)

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  • Reply Yvonne January 15, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Oh, Tina!
    These kind of personal stories I want to read on blogs!

    Well done you…


    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      I know that’s what you’re after:-)

      Thank you!

  • Reply Alexandra January 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Tina, I’m glad you turned out to be, or rather MADE YOURSELF INTO the person you are, because I love you and look up to you.
    Big hugs & congrats on your anniversary <3

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Aww, Alexandra that’s such a sweet comment. Always happy to inspire.
      Thank you… x

  • Reply Alison Sye January 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Wonderful, wonderful post lovely Tina.
    So glad you picked London as your home.
    Alison xx

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Alison.
      So am I, trust me… and what a great city to pick:-) x

  • Reply Giova Brusa January 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I’m so glad we met. And now we have one more thing in common, with the difference that my parents didn’t let me go to boarding school abroad 🙂
    I’m so happy to read about your life!
    Hope to see you in march

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Hahaha. Yes, of course, you told me you wanted to go to boarding school.
      I’m also glad we met:-)
      Definitely see you in March. Let me have dates when you have them.

  • Reply Igor January 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    What a wonderful post, Tina! Here’s to 35 more brilliant years in London and around the world! Congrats!

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you my friend! Here’s to being friends for at least the next 35 years:-)

  • Reply Lowri January 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Beautiful. your story is a bitter sweet anecdote of life. Your honesty makes your story beautiful. I like it very much. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Hello Lowri and thank you.
      Life can be bitter sweet. It’s what we make of it that counts:-)

  • Reply Yasmin Chopin January 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    How interesting to learn more about your background Tina – fascinating and heart warming. I am glad London has been so good to you, it’s a city we all should be proud of wherever we live in the UK.
    Look forward to seeing you again soon.

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Thank you Yasmin. I’m greatful I live in London every single day and hope to continue to do so.

      Hope to see you again soon x

  • Reply Britta Gertsen January 15, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Loved the blog. Honest and uplifting.
    So glad I met you. Lunch again soon?

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Honest is always best, right?
      Yes, let’s do lunch again soon… maybe February? xx

  • Reply Judith January 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    What a beautiful “fairy tale”, Tina! Maybe your Prince is called London after all 😉 Congratulations on the 35th anniversary! Many more wonderful years to come! xx

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Haha. You know, you might be onto something here… maybe my prince is no man but the city (hmm, am liking this:-)

      Thank you Judith. xx

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily January 15, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Wow-go girl… xx

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Ha. Thank you Caroline xx

  • Reply Rachael Hare January 16, 2015 at 8:17 am

    What a lovely story, I do believe in happy endings!

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Hello Rachel.

      I’m also a great believer in happy endings, but the realistic ones:-)

  • Reply Shobha January 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

    You made your own happily ever after! you go girl!

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Hi Shobha. Hope you’re well. Happy New year.

      Ha, I always wanted to write a fairy tale with a happy ending:-))

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey January 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    A woman after my own heart. You’re honest, forthright, courageous, inspiring & real. I love that about you. No pretences, no falsehoods and no excessive pandering to self. That all takes strength and insight, emotion and integrity. The blog world & real world need more of it!

    Thank you Tina xo

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      Gerard, I blushed and got a bit tearful reading this.
      Thank you!!!

      Well, you know, we both feel the same way about these things and share similar values.

  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome January 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Wow, thank you for sharing your personal story Tina, sorry and sad your childhood wasn’t what it should have been. So happy you found London and with it your place in the world. Love Catherine xx

    • Reply tina January 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you lovely. I know you would have showered me with love:-) xx

  • Reply Jocelyn Hefner January 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Tina, this real life story is heartwarming and touching. Your honesty and humble approach to sharing is so helpful and a delight to read. I salute London for being the canvas you created yourself on as you are a wonderful gift to our creative world. I agree with Yvonne, more personal insights please! Much love and respect to you my friend. Jocelyn xx

    • Reply tina January 20, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Aww, thank you darling.

      I’m always up for sharing truth but for me it has to be appropriate. This came to me in a flash, was written in 30 minutes and felt completely right.
      Thank you sweetie. Many hugs and lots of love to your entire gorgeous family at this very special time for you guys. xx

  • Reply Mary @ HOP Design Studio January 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm


    I’ve just managed to read this.

    Thanks for sharing such an honest & heartwarming view of your life with us. That’s why I love you Tina – what you see is what you get. You are extremely honest and I really like that about you. I’m so glad that you love it here and it holds a special place in your heart.
    All my love dear friend.

    Mary xx

    • Reply tina January 20, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      M-E, thank you:-) Ha, some find my honesty difficult. I appreciate your comment xx

  • Reply Holly January 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I feel all warm and fuzzy now! A true fairy tale this is. Thank you for sharing this very personal and very inspiring story with us. Feeling connected to your home the way you do is something very special and definitely worth celebrating! Happy anniversary! xoxoxo

    • Reply tina January 20, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Holly. Haha, a modern twist to a ‘true fairy tale’. I figured I can create my own ending:-)) Why not, right?

      I know it’s weird that. I am rather attached to London….. Thanks lovely xx

  • Reply mel January 21, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Oh what an incredibly strong and determined woman you are Tina. I have even more respect for you than I already did and London is lucky to have you. Happy 35 years. London is a pretty amazing place to be. xx M

    • Reply tina January 22, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Aww, thanks Mel. Very sweet of you! I feel lucky to be here:-)
      Hope you had a fab holiday xx

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