Oh god how do I London?

London street art

OH GOD I JUST LANDED IN LONDON AND EVERYONE IS WALKING SO FAST AND MY FRIENDS DON’T HAVE A FREE NIGHT UNTIL OCTOBER AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT A HOBNOB IS…HOW DO I LONDON? Well ok first up step away from the coffee because even to me it sounds like you might have had a little too much. Go and sit in a corner (try and choose one without mold), rock back and forwards until you are a little calmer. Better? Good, read on.

Everyone freaks out when they first move to London. It might be the second you arrive, the day after or a month out when you have just realised what rent is going to cost you each month – trust me the freak out will happen. Also trust me that within a year you will be so jaded that when any of your friends move over and freak out you won’t even be able to remember what it was like; you will just look at them quizzically and wonder why they are making such a fuss.

Living in London makes you think in a certain way; as one of my friends put it “future me will worry about that”. Can’t save because you are spending all your money on rent? Future me will worry about that. Booked a 6am flight out of Luton so you get a full day in Barcelona? Future me will worry about that. No pension because your salary is so bad that you can’t feed yourself let along put 2% aside for later? Future me will worry about that. Having one G&T too many on a Thursday night? Future me will worry about that. The things that were important to you back home (savings, long term goals and eating from more food groups than just fat and sugar) kind of fall by the wayside because you are only in London for a short time and you better make the most of it.

London is, how do I put this without freaking you out more, a bit of a contrary bitch. It is 100% ok to wake up loving it and then hate it by lunchtime, and then go to lukewarm affection by 3pm. Just look at the faces of the people around you when there is a dog on the tube, that is a carriage full of people falling in love with London again. Also bad days happen wherever you are in the world (normally its just because you are tired, hungry or having a bad day) but in London people tend to blame the city rather than the job/friend/hangover/flat.

If you wait for amazing things to happen in London then you will end up lonely and wanting to leave. If you throw yourself into every opportunity (even if it is scary) then you will at least have chance to fall in love with London – and you might just see a dog on the tube.

So to answer the question “how do I London” I would say something like;

  • Talk about your commute as if you were returning the ring to Mordor
  • Ask people to do things; asking anyone to do anything is how you make friends
  • Get confused over the different supermarkets and accidentally shop at Waitrose for a month before finding Tesco
  • Find the things that genuinely make you happy and do them
  • Never talk to anyone outside your ‘Zone’
  • Bullshit your way into a job that you really want, they like Kiwis over here so upsell yourself
  • Book some travel even though you cant afford it, no one can ever afford it
  • Try to remember to skype your parents once a month, they miss you and worry about you
  • Go on bad dates, they make great stories
  • Laugh every time you hear the tube stop ‘Cockfosters’
  • Feel bad for never going and seeing anything cultural

Oh and everyone walks fast because our days are so full that you don’t have time to waste with mundane walking (and tutting at slow walkers is just so much fun), you friends don’t have a free night but ask if you can tag along to something they already have planned or plan something yourself, and Hobnobs are kind of like a year round Anzac biscuit without the connotations of war. You will be fine, just give it some time.

London feels too crowded

3 Comments

  1. April 20, 2016 / 10:20 am

    Ha! I lived in London for over ten years and I remember the first time I walked down Oxford Street (from Tottenham Court tube to Oxford Circus) I wanted to cry as I couldn’t believe how busy it was!! Now I am one of the those mad crazy fast walker types!! The longer I live in London I realise that London is better when you have money to burn.

    • Linda
      April 20, 2016 / 12:34 pm

      Me too Jessica! My 10 year anniversary is coming up and I still remember the overwhelmed feeling I had on my first tube ride and my first visit to Oxford Street! Great blog as usual Runaway Kiwi!

  2. April 20, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    “Do X even though you cant afford it, no one can ever afford it” could pretty much be applied to anything in London, I think 😉

    My mother came on a coach trip with some of her friends a few days ago. They live in the north of England and when I went to meet them before they went home, all they could say was “You live HERE? How do you afford ANYTHING?!”

    I decided “severe debt” would ruin their fun day looking at pretty architecture, so I mumbled something and smiled nicely 😉