Oh London! I love you and I hate you at the same time!
When I first came to London, I was mesmerised by its cultural diversity. As a student, for 1 summer I had earned enough money to support myself while at uni for the rest of the year. That was
back in 2006. Come 2010, I came over again and this time I stayed around for longer. 2 years and a few jobs later I was getting the hell out of there, vowing not to go back. Now, in 2015, after 3
years in Poland and a great 3-month trip to South East Asia (the story will continue), I am back again.
Some things have stayed the same, while the others have changed tremendously. After about 6 weeks of living in London again here's what I have learned:
1. Prices of flats have gone up. I used to be able to rent a double room for about 500.00 GBP. Not anymore. People offer you absolute S****holes for 750 GBP. And 9 times out of 10 they expect a single person to move in, sorry no couples!
2. The population has grown from 7 to 9 millions over the last 2-3 years. That means even more crowds on the tube.
3. It's more difficult to open a bank account in this country than to get a job. A fact. Since my one was closed due to inactivity, it took me nearly a month to get a new one. 2 proofs of address, several phone calls to HMRC and trips to different banks later, this is finally sorted.
4. My Londoner walk I had managed to develop over the years is gone. I seem to walk like a snail in comparison to those people!
5. It takes at least 1h to get anywhere and you WILL make that effort to see you friend for a tea / coffee. Yup, your friends will become your family and in emergencies you can count on them.
6. Those black cabs aren't designed (affordable) for normal people. If you are late for last tubes from the party, a night bus is the affordable option.
7. Transport prices are disheartening. Don't even try to convert to your own currency.
8. That one time your Oyster doesn't beep in properly and when you get off, you get charged like 6 GBP for a full single fare... Or you forget to beep the interchange on overground and it charges you as if you entered zone one... Not that you took a route all around the city just trying to avoid spending the fortune #@(*@%#
8. You will spend a fortune on your Christmas flights, just to be with your family.
9. A lot of people seem to be too busy to meet up. Want to see a friend over the weekend? Better plan a month in advance and sign yourself up on a waiting list!
10. Job hunting is draining and getting a job rarely happens overnight. Although there are jobs out there, It takes a lot of patience to get one.
11. Even though the prices of rent have gone up by 11% over the last 4 years, the salaries have only been raised by about 4%. How is that fair?
12. Almost every person you have a conversation with will ask you where you live. Yes, people will judge on whereabouts in London you live.
13. You will pack your lunch to work, eating out on everyday basis is too expensive. This ain't Asia!
14. You will miss the sun and warmth.
15. They're is so much construction going on! They're building like there's no tomorrow!
16. There's more cafes in local towns and the range of restaurants has increased. Fancy Romanian, Polish or Thai food? They're probably within a mile from where you live, and probably all next to each other!
17. That sunset or sunrise you see on the DLR / Overground... ahhh... it still makes you smile.
18. The cultural diversity hasn't changed. It is still amazing. Good luck with trying to find a "real" Londoner.
19. Apps such as WhatsApp and CityMapper will become your live savers - first one for keeping in touch with your Mum abroad, the latter one for finding your way to where your friend lives.
20. London Thames riverbank by night... I still love you. The Houses of Parliament at night are the most romantic view I know!
Thank you for reading.
Hello stranger! My name is Bogna, but you can call me Boogie. I come from Poland, but have lived in a few different countries, including UK and USA. In the past I have been a summer camp counsellor, special needs teacher, cruise ship photographer and IT Support. I am the author of BoogiePlanet.com This website is all about the experiences I encounter in different cultures and the World I see through my lens. You can help me fulfill my dream to be a travel photographer and perhaps to inspire you to travel by liking my page on Facebook, or following me on Twitter.