create your own excitement

When I first landed in London (in the late 90's) I had this grand idea that I would live in Hampstead HeathHighgate - this based on my sketchy knowledge that George Michael and Elton John were living in that neighborhood (psst! it's a very posh neighborhood!) George holds a special place in my heart since I was 13 and at the time, his album "Older" was just released and was all over the airwaves. So Hampstead Heath was where I started my time in London . . .  

I moved into the seemingly most expensive hostel in the world then but I made it work. And I started working at this cute French restaurant called The House on Hamstead Heath - which I have tried to find information on to no avail. I recall this time because I worked with this very crazy restauranteur which I cannot recall his name. He was an Arab guy, very handsome and exuded wealth. He was flirty in the beginning and I indulged a little but I kept my distance. I wanted to enjoy my newfound freedom from Winnipeg, Canada and be safe from bad feelings upon landing. I had a feeling that I wouldn't stay at that job for too long because of how inconsistent my schedule was or how often it changed without me knowing until I showed up.

I recall some days taking long walks through the neighborhood to try to find George's home when I didn't have to work. I would get so excited and romanticized our chance meeting at a corner on an (surprise!) overcast day. I would be all like, "hi" and he would invite me over for a drink to help me understand this new culture I was in. 

When I was working, I imagined when and if he did walk his dog he might stop by, get a coffee and sit on our patio smoking cigarettes and say things like, "bloody hell!"

I had a big shopping splurge (for me then) before leaving Canada to move to the UK at a Club Monaco. It was a couple of outfits that I was so proud of. Each day I spent much time touching myself up with a few different variations of scarves around my neck to make my outfits look different and because I also had read that all European women did this (so I must do it, too!) All in the hopes that I would meet and impress George.

But it wasn't happening and after a few weeks I realized I still had to pay new bills in this new country. I had to leave this neighborhood before going totally broke. I was already in the process of meeting many new people who were giving me advice on where to live and where to work. I heard that East London was cheaper and that I should work somewhere more central. I had made some internal decisions. And one was that I had to give up on George . . . 

My job was also hard on me. The owner had two personalities. And his French chef had only one! The chef was always yelling at the waitstaff and there were only three other waitstaff! The stress was so high and I hated it. I came from a small city in Canada and couldn't understand how serving meals could be so stressful even if the meal and experience were perfect! But I stayed there while trying to work out the details of my own life. 

One night as we were closing the restaurant the owner asked me if I wanted to join him and some of his friends exploring the London nightlife. I said yes and after we finished - off we were in a black cab south to Piccadilly. I remember still loving my outfits that I bought from Club Monaco as they reflected my humble and comfortable style sense. 

And the night turned out to be one of the most insanely fun nights I ever had! Our driver dropped us off at a cool nightclub, where we jumped past the long line to get in, got a table where bottles and mixers were waiting for us and the table had a rope in front of it to section off people from approaching it. It was like the movies. I vividly remember walking into the posh-est bathroom and having the coolest conversations with people. People were doing all sorts of drugs out in the open! And to me their outfits and accents were over-the-top. I overheard someone saying that Vivienne Westwood was there and I tried to find her for the rest of the night constantly scanning the very busy club. I had a tinge of insecurity over my outfit once I realized how dramatic people were dressed for a Wednesday night. I was no longer in Kansas. But my underdress realization was a momentary blip that helped me prepare for future club visits.

We danced the night away and I remember feeling so happy and grateful I had this experience as George Michael's Fast Love played over the system. It had been just over a month since leaving Canada and although I had great stresses every other day over whether I made the right decision, it was this and many other moments that strung together the feeling of certainty. The certainty of my path. 

In the days that followed that fun night I understood why my boss was so moody - it was the hard living life of partying and he was doing a lot of drugs. A few days after our fun night he yelled at me in front of the restaurant over something silly, and I walked out. It felt pretty dramatic on my part because I hated leaving him in a jam but this was not the first time he had done this. He chased me down the street but it was daylight and I didn't feel too threatened. He said if I was serious about leaving, he would ruin my name and I would never get a job in London again. I paused in that moment as I took that seriously. Then I realized if that was really true, I would move to another English town or go to Scotland. And I pulled myself away and was relieved in the moments right after that. That was when my time in the Heath ended. 

Soon after that, I packed my bag and moved to Finsbury Park (psst! not a posh neighborhood!) and started working at a Gap on Oxford Street and at another restaurant called Capital Radio Cafe in Leicester Square. 

This period of my life was full of possibility, full of exploration and full of excitement at trying so many new things. I love remembering that time. My naive and sincere hope that I would meet George! So crazy! That was the driver of that entire experience. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stay in that playful space in order to grow. It is easy to be weighed down by the practical options that society puts in front of you.

It is in these times that you must use art - in all it's forms - as a way through to your biggest dreams. 

So, I am currently in the space of pragmatic dreaming and scheming right now. And I would appreciate your quick feedback on things you would like to see me offer in the near future. Here is the link to my survey. Takes just a few minutes or less! 

Updated offerings below! Excited for my Watercoloring workshop and my Spring Reset Workshop! See details and sign up!

Thanks!

Spring Yoga Practice + Wellness Reset

Saturday April  2st 1:30 - 3:30 PM
  Dupont Circle Yoga $35

Yoga + Watercoloring: Unleash Your Creativity!

Sunday April 29th 2 - 4 PM  
The Yoga Shala  $55


Yoga + Acupuncture Workshops (3 Upcoming!)

Sunday April 8th 21st
Sunday May 20th
Sunday June 3rd
The Yoga Shala   $45
2-4PM

Namaste.
-Jess

Jessica Sandhu