Donnerstag, 21. Juli 2011

London bus adventures and security issues

I love London life. Everything here is hectic. The moment the day starts and I close the door behind me, the city flow embraces me and I melt into the crowd of eight million people. The ride on the No 8 bus gets me in the mood. Sitting in the front row on the upper deck, I'm amazed at the speed the driver is manoeuvring the huge vehicle through the narrow streets. People cross the streets without any warning, cyclists ignore the street signs to get somewhere in a hurry, and cars try to squeeze through tiny gaps in the traffic. The palms of my hands are getting sweaty. The bus drive gives me a bigger kick than the morning coffee I'm holding in my hands in a paper cup, waiting for it to cool down. Surprisingly, the rollercoaster bus rides rarely end in tears.

London is the city of freelancers. People come to London from everywhere to work on their "projects", which seems to be the most normal thing to do to make a living. Freelance journalists, photographers, designers, writers and musicians occupy the spaces of trendy East End cafes, typing on their computers or making business phone calls on their smart phones. Cafes are widely accepted as office spaces for those who haven't made it to their own studio yet. No one minds you sitting and typing at the same table for hours, ordering a black americano every two hours and may be a light bite for lunch. London offers space for freelancers. And that's what I did: Freelance writing for a Swiss book project, and working on articles for church papers and research projects.

I was a freelance writer in London and now I'm moving back to my hometown St.Gallen in Switzerland to become a vicar - probably one of the most unpopular professions one could choose. I left the small Swiss town in 1999 to go to university in Bern, where after having started studying Medieval History and Philosophy, was drawn towards Theology. I got passionate about it. I made it through Hebrew and Greek exams, obtained my Bachelor degree, and one day in 2007, was handed my Masters in Theology. God only knows how this could happen! I enjoyed every hour at university and every hour of campus life - except perhaps the times when I was heartbroken because of some Tom, Dick or Harry, or when I was badly hungover and I had to go to Hebrew grammar class at 8 am. At 8 am! On a Friday morning! I failed the Hebrew exam on the first try (but passed on the second), nevertheless I was the one throwing the party to celebrate our failure (and success for the geeks). The best fun I had was with my friends who failed. The successful guys were watching us partying, drinking their Coke.

I will miss London. A lot! I will miss the speed, the flexibility of people, the creativity that you encounter at every corner, the openness and courage of people to do what they want, without planning it through from scratch. London taught me a lot about my own Swissness: I just cannot get rid of my need for security: pension scales; insurance coverage for teeth, computers, non-existing cars and households. It's ridiculous! But would I give it up? No way!