In the weeks around our ÉMIGRÉ concert series, we’ve been collecting stories on the theme. While our concerts explore the journeys composers and musicians have made across the world, this blog series, ÉMIGRÉ STORIES, focuses on the journeys made by the individuals that join together to make City of London Sinfonia.
Our fifth émigré is our Philanthropy and Enterprise Manager, Nancy Hitzig who left her home-town, Toronto, two years ago to study and work in London. In this post she talks the transformative effect the move made on her, and warm observations on the wealth of culture London has to offer.
In July 2013, I quit my job in Toronto, sold most of my stuff, and moved halfway around the world to London. I’d lived in Toronto my whole life and decided it was time to go on an adventure. My mother had spent a year abroad when she was around my age in Southampton and it felt like my turn. I embarked on a Masters programme at HULT International Business School.
But I didn’t expect was to love London so much. I spent nine months here and attended 35+ shows (theatre, dance, opera, art). I’d agreed upon enrolment to go to San Francisco for four months to complete my degree and spent the majority of the time dreaming about London, the people, the music, the weather (I know, right?). I happened upon a Guardian Job Board ad for City of London Sinfonia and as luck would have it, two Skype interviews later…I got the job.
It’s amazing to feel the difference when you land in an airport and it feels like home. I hadn’t had that in a long time.
London is a city of people from everywhere. It’s the nexus where everyone passes through on their way somewhere. It’s been incredible talking with Ljova and his wife Inna about émigré and the stories we tell as immigrants. It seems so fitting to live in London now since I cut my fundraising chops working for a national charity that focused on new Canadian citizens and making them feel welcome and included in their community. The stories they told of why they chose to come to Canada were just incredible. Moving to London feels the same for me. It has already had a transformative effect. I can tell you that my life is far better with CLS in it and in particular to work on a programme of concerts so close to my heart and recent move.
Funnily enough, in the next month, I’ll be taking a holiday to visit the town in Lithuania where my family emigrated from in the 1880s. I’m the first relative to return in six generations. I’m hoping for cell phone reception so at least I can Facetime my mother while I’m there.