Five Months: Life in London

Why is it that whenever you leave a place, that place gets something new and exciting? It's like when you finish school and then they build a new tennis court, or when you leave a job and they organise an awesome team ski trip. Mind you, sometimes, it can be the exact opposite. Since we have moved to London, we have experienced what was described as one of the worst storms in years! It reeked havoc with London for nearly a week, but it sure looked pretty! 

Enough of that - Boy and I have been living in London for just over five months now. During this time, we have been on a few overseas trips, a couple of local trips, and have seen a show at the theatre! Note – if you ever have the opportunity to see The Lion King, do it because it’s superb.  

Boy and I keep in regular contact with friends and family back home in New Zealand. I message my Mum and sister once or twice a week, and the same goes for Boy and his family. Since moving here, it seems that we have caught up with friends more so than we did whilst we were living in NZ! I don’t know what it was; it just so happened that during the early days after moving here, so many people planned a trip over to the UK or Europe. We’ve had lots of wonderful catch-ups in London, one in Germany, one in Cyprus, and one in Leeds. It’s always wonderful to talk with the family back home, and to speak with your friends that have made the journey over to the other side of the world (or those that may be in the UK already).

That (not very gracefully) leads me to the title of this post; it’s always the first question you’re asked. “So how’s it going?” Boy and I are both working, we have a good flat with nice flatmates, and we’re able to explore parts of Europe on the weekend, which just isn’t something available to you in NZ because you’re so far away from everything.

I can’t speak for Boy, but living here is providing me with valuable life experience about what it’s like to live in a major city. I love that this city has doorways, courtyards and footpaths that are older than the recorded history of NZ; I love the public transport – you can get anywhere, at any time of the day, for only a few pounds, and I love that Europe is right on my doorstep. If you are considering moving here to London, I would recommend doing it, but – based on my experience only - I would keep a few things in mind:

1.    Rent is outrageously expensive. London is a city of 10 million people, and there isn’t much space for everybody, so naturally, rent is going to be high.

2.    People aren’t friendly to strangers like they are back in NZ – you don’t smile at those you may make eye contact with or say ‘thank you’ to the bus driving as you hop off. That one took quite a bit of getting used to – I think it relates to the high population; people are constantly fighting for their own little patch of personal space in such a hectic place.

3.    It’s busy all the time. It is the kind of busy you see at Westfield on Christmas Eve, but all the time. This wasn’t really a problem for me, but it could be overwhelming if you haven’t been to a large city before. There are obviously lots more things that you ought to keep in mind if you’re considering moving over here, but these are the things that have stood out to me after living here for a few months.

I’m happy to be living here, I really do like it, and of course there are some days where I long for the comfort of New Zealand, but the life experience I’m gaining in London is invaluable and is going to help me grow into a more resilient and worldly person. So, to answer the question ‘how’s it going?’ the response I’d give right now is (the typical kiwi) ‘yeah nah, pretty good eh’.

I’ll be sure to provide another update of living in London in six months time. My next post will take us back to Nepal, to have a chat about our time in Chitwan!

Bye for now,