I haven’t been living in London long enough to truly call myself a “Londoner”. I don’t know if I’ll ever call myself that to be completely honest. But I’ve already learnt a lot about myself and the city. Some expectations were met, some weren’t. These are just a few of the realisations I’ve made after a couple of months living in London.
How bloody expensive it is.
Like, yeah, you hear it. You hear it all the time. But you don’t really get it until you’re experiencing it yourself. One day you’ll be having a shit day because all you’ve done is laundry at your local laundromat that cost you £10 because you can’t be arsed waiting a week for your duvet to dry in your flat that gets zero sunlight. And then you think, what better way to cheer yourself up than with a gooey salted caramel brownie? So, you start digging in your wallet for your last bit of change but realise you’re 40p short. If you’re lucky though, the lady at the bakery will let you have the brownie, anyway. And while you enjoy eating the best pity brownie of your life, you realise: Shit. I just spent my last bit of change on a brownie and I still have to buy eggs. But you know what? No regrets. Because that was the best fucking salted caramel brownie ever and you know what? Tomorrow is a new day.
How getting a job can either be the easiest thing or the most difficult and sometimes both at the same time.
I was surprised to find out how many job offers I received just in the first week of applying for jobs. What I didn’t realise was just how easy jobs could fall to shits. You could start a job that is so great in every way and is absolutely perfect for you. And then you can realise the lady you work for is an actual psycho and you’ll drop that bitch after one week. I mean, I want a job but I also care about my mental well-being!
How inefficient the city is.
Listen, London has their public transport down. But that’s the only think they’ve done right. Everything else is FUCKED. Their systems are shit! Do you know how difficult it is to get a bank account? You can’t just walk into any bank and ask to open up an account. No, that would be too easy, too convenient, too efficient for London. You literally have to wait for a utility bill to come to your flat to prove you have a UK address. And no other document sent to the home you live in will be good enough. Not even your own lease agreement because apparently, even though they see you face-to-face, with your address on your lease agreement, it still won’t be valid because apparently, they don’t know your landlord. And some banks require you to apply online and even if you’re literally the only customer at their bank. They’ll still turn you away.
Your walking pace will increase tremendously.
You’ll walk fast. You’ll get annoyed at slow walkers. You’ll know how to duck and weave through Oxford Street like a fucking ninja. If anyone stops in front of you while you’re walking through the City of London at 9 AM, you’ll end up having to stop yourself from drop-kicking the dickhead. But you won’t even realise just how fast you’ve learnt to walk until you’re back in your hometown, and you decide to go on a casual stroll with your family and realise you’ve left them 100 meters behind.
Once you’re set in an area in London. You stay in that area.
If like me, you decide to live in East London. Just know, you probably won’t leave East London. At all. Unless some out-of-town friend invites you for breakfast in Notting Hill, that’ll be the only time you take the underground to the other side of the city. We’re going to Notting Hill? We might as well go to Spain while we’re at it! That’s just how it is. I mean, does South London even exist?
You’ll establish your favourite go-to local pub early on.
Speaking of staying in your area… We moved into our flat about a month ago. Within the first three weeks, the security at our local pub stopped asking for our ID. He sees us walking towards the door, gives us the nod and we head in.
Life happens very quickly.
You don’t even understand. 1 month in London is the equivalent to 6 months anywhere else. One day you’ll be crashing at a mate’s flat, single and jobless, then 2 months will pass and you’re living in a flat, have already quit 1 job and are working at another job you already hate, and juggling two boys at the same time! It really is a fast-paced lifestyle over here.