It’s amazing what living in a new city will do to you, and London is more than likely going to turn anyone who moves there into a bit of a cynic. I’ve now lived in London for over a year – not counting the three months I spent commuting from Kent – and I finally feel like I sort of maybe know my way about (ish). Being born and bred in lovely Yorkshire and then branching out and going to uni – also in Yorkshire – I find I’m not the most cultured of people, or the most world savvy (this is a lie I am both cultured and savvy even though I’m not even sure what savvy means).
I totally took a gap year with the intention of travelling and finding my inner self among indigenous meerkats but then I spent all my earnings in the local Chinese disco and just went to Harry Potter land for two weeks. Best weeks ever, but probably not the most culturally eye-opening.
Although it is not quite as far away as Vietnam and NZ, London definitely will give you a culture shock. I know people who visit for a day and go crawling back to Yorkshire – or indeed other parts of the UK – with a sigh of relief silently mouthing “never again” at the ticket lady on the train like she knows their pain.
I too thought London was an evil cesspit of pollution and rushing and malevolence when I first took up residence in the south east, and it took me a good six months to get to grips with the underground and its many shortfalls. I actually wrote an unofficial guide to the underground in December of last year, and I can testify that all of those rules still stand.
BUT as is the case with most of the London population, I now fucking love it. In all its dirty, annoying, fast-paced glory London is actually pretty fucking great.
Here’s what I learned over the past year:
Life in London is complete bollocks if you don’t have friends
As is the case – I’m sure – with anywhere, life in London is a load of shit if you don’t have people to spend your time with. It wasn’t until I moved in with a selection of completely delicious housemates that I actually started settling in here. In such a massive place you will never see and do new things unless you have a squad of interesting galdem/mandem so that’s first on any Londoner tick-list: trick people into being friends with you.
It is actually pretty fucking huge
You are one person (in my case one quite lazy person) and you will never be able to see and do everything here. That’s a good thing, though, because at least there’s always something new and thrilling for you to do if you’re sick of being indoors. Prepare to spend hours travelling to any event you do go to, and plan ahead. Also make it a priority to visit the Warner Bros studio tour like a sensible person.
Rushing is OK; you are busy and important
Rushing is, in fact, perfectly normal. It’s ok for your life to be led at a much faster pace than you’re used to. Trust me, if you try and live at a standard pace here you’ll never get anything done, and you’ll find yourself hating anyone and everyone around you (they will hate you too, especially if you’re in their way). Whatever you do, don’t stop to look at something that is completely shit in the middle of the fucking road ‘cause you will ruin everyone’s day.
I am not cool at all
If you live in the wilds of nowhere and consider yourself even remotely out of the box and individual, you better stay there or you’ll have the hard reality shock of moving here and realising you are in fact very very lame. Come to terms with the fact that you’re pretty standard and that is ok and you’ll be just reet.
I defo thought I had learned more than this and was going to seem like a wise old cockney wench but in fact it looks like all I’ve learned is how to hate other people for being slow and how to accept the fact that I’m pretty average. Oh well. If anyone has any other valuable London life lessons feel free to comment below !!!!!