Firstly, my apologies for the lack of posts over the last 7 months – I’m quite sure you’ve all been on tenterhooks for this blog revival, so please sit back, get comfy and enjoy the mediocre anecdotal prose that follows.
Oh, and Londoniversary is totes a real word.
If you hadn’t guessed it, today marks exactly one year since I made my move to London. What better way to celebrate than writing myself a little thing or two about the journey so far?
I reckon I’ve learnt a lot about what it means to be a Londoner over the last year and some days I actually feel like I’m not such an amateur anymore…. This is usual swiftly followed by a feeling of total inadequacy when attempting to figure out a fancy drinks menu, or what it means to catch a night bus.
So, what have I mastered?
Work / life balance. Everyone works really weird hours in London and there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as 9-5. Rather, one day you work 15, and the next you work 3. Given I’m not the sort of person that thrives on structure, I’m kinda cool with this. When I first moved, I felt an sense of immense guilt if I came in to the office late one morning, or left early, despite the fact that I knew overall I was working well over my hours. This feeling has evaporated, and I now relish the buzz of having a total shit ton to get done over a period of a week, followed by a period of relaxation to make up for it. FYI, when I say relaxation, I mean hangovers.
Yep, when you talk about work / life balance in London, what you’re really talking about is how on earth you plan your midweek hangovers effectively. There’s certainly an art to it and I’ve discovered that going hard between the hours of 5pm and 9pm (we’re talking Tequila) and then promptly hitting the hay tends to work when you’ve got the age old problem of needing to get stuff done the following day. Another way of ensuring an effective midweek hangover, is to make sure you rope a colleague in on the excessive drinking… that way, you know you’ve got someone to wallow with / motivate you in your sorry state.
I’ve also mastered the art of picking a good venue for a date. By date, I don’t just mean the romantic type – I also mean the friends / mother / colleague / Awkward Happn Meetup scenarios. In London, you just have too much choice, which means you need to work to a certain set of criteria:
Don’t go to a ‘pop-up bar’ with a queue. It’ll be wanky. Please refer to exhibit A (an £8 drink in a tin can). This is particularly important when arranging the Awkward Happn Meetup given that queuing only prolongs the period spent without an alcoholic beverage and thus intensifies the awkwardness.
Do go to somewhere where you already know the rough price of a drink. You don’t want to be hit with a nasty shock, especially if you’re meeting up with your mother, and you haven’t quite figured out whether you’re adult enough to be paying for the bill on the reg.
Do try something new. Goes without saying that despite the huge number of options in London, it is all too easy to get roped into hanging out at the pub that is situated 50 metres from your front door (Every. Bloody. Time)!
The final point of wisdom I’ll share is a great one, and it might shock some of you to hear it – LONDON IS ACTUALLY A FRIENDLY PLACE.
Ok, so you’re right in thinking the tube isn’t a place where lifelong relationships are built, yet, that’s not to say the city is as stuck up as it’s portrayed to be. Today, I sat and ate lunch in Soho Square and randomly met an Italian artist who talked at me about his dog for a good twenty minutes. How great is that? (I LOVE DOGS. Did i mention I love dogs? DOGS ARE THE GREATEST).
Back to the point. Maybe the reason it’s perceived as a difficult place to meet people is because there isn’t always a wealth of people who are exactly like you. In fact, there may even be a wealth of people who are exactly the opposite of you, and therefore you have to put a little bit more into it, to get something out. But when you get a little something out, that something is so much better than all the other somethings you could be getting in a lesser place. So yeah, to summarise – not everyone is an arsehole here, and if you allow it, London welcomes you with a big warm crazy hug which you won’t want to let go of.
Over and out! Oh, and for the record… I never did invest in that fancy pair of trainers… and my feet continue to punish me for it.