Tier 1 people, piranhas and life-swimming in London

My dear London and… ‘to whom it may concern’,

It’s been a while or anyway, let’s just put it as a status: I’ve been pen-ding. A year and something ago, I have put my starry-eyed life into your hands and you threw me, without a blink into Thames. Apparently, to learn how to swim or… to feed the fishes. I dove in and found banks of millions of other castaways, hopeless dreamers like me. Some of them sharks. Piranhas. Fastest trouts. I was just looking around for a shortcut, a way out of the waters. A golden fish. Yeah, a golden fish for my three…ndless wishes.

  • ‘I have a dream’ plan
  • Mom’s dream: BBC. Sister’s also.
  • Get a tattoo. For a good reason.
  • Make at least one friend you’d visit in 20 years time.
  • Drown your fears and save some smiles instead.
  • Finish the f******* masters!
  • Do at least three things you never thought yourself capable of.
  • Do not quit. Fight back. Peacefully.
  • Do not become just another one.
  • If you fail, keep your dignity.
  • But fail, in order to win.
  • Win trust. And people.

So here I was. Dodging the sharks, keeping greedy octopuses away whilst trying to find a friendly fish bank. On this new Thames underwater ground I felt like I had to adjust my skin colour, my accent, my too-colourful clothes, my Balkan stubbornness, my choleric mode into passive aggressive… So where was my golden fish to make it all happen, right away?


When I was left breathless on the Thames bed, I finally found it – the wish accomplisher. It was made of ‘work hard and don’t complain’ attitude. Cry your heart out, but put it back. Lose your mind, but never your soul. And find your fish bank. A bunch of whatever nationality, height, colour or religion people, who’d dive for you to the seabed and back. ‘Tier 1’ humans as a friend of mine categorised them.

London, I am still working on my wish list – I am not done with you. But you know it, as I know it, that as long as I have my Tier 1 people with me, I will keep swimming. And no, I am not going to become a piranha.

And yes, I will get that tattoo. And no, I am not quitting. Yes, I have failed many times and yes, I’ve graduated and yes, I’ve ticked the BBC. No, I haven’t finished and no, there’s still a lot to be afraid of. Yes, I have embarrassed most of my friends and they don’t trust me with basic stuff such as carrying their coffee. But they can trust me to hand in to me their secrets. Yes, I will go back to Ukraine and will not be scared of being scared and yes, mom, I will get the tattoo. And there’s no such thing as ‘no’, unless is part of do NOt quit.

Best wishes to Tier 1 people,

Oana / #marolalondra


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