I’m in London this week and loving it! It always feels great to be back in the city that holds such a special place in my heart. It was my first home after I got married, a place where I met the most amazing people with a great sense of humour, began my journey to becoming fit (as a result of chasing trains) and learnt it is not actually a cell phone but rather a mobile phone! Having lived in the Middle East most of my life, moving to London was indeed a culture shock at first. But I’m really glad I got to experience it as I always proudly say London helped me ‘grow up’. I soon discovered it was the land of ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself) and so began my journey from having everything done for me to doing it myself.
So today’s post will be a trip down memory lane as I recall my days in London as a freshman all those years ago. The mature me today laughs at the immature me back then. So please take no offense and laugh along with me. 🙂
- When I first discovered there weren’t that many skyscrapers in London …
For someone whose used to being surrounded by skyscrapers, not seeing any as we left the airport was an unusual sight.
Lesson learnt: What seemed old-fashioned at first was actually depicting a lot of history, which is an important characteristic of any city and what London is best known for. That being said, Canary Wharf remains to be my favourite part of the city for its modern architecture. 🙂
- When I discovered it rained pretty much all the time …
I was absolutely thrilled with the weather in London when I first arrived. It was not sunny and drizzling! It was perfect and I was beaming with joy. I LOVED it. My husband just smirked at the time and told me he’ll ask me again in a few weeks time. *Fast forward a few weeks ahead* .. Will it ever stop raining? It’s so dark and gloomy all the time …
Lesson learnt: it might be okay to leave your keys or phone behind, but never ever step out of the house without an umbrella. Don’t let that brief sunny spell deceive you either. The weather changes every few minutes!
- When I discovered it takes a minimum of 3 weeks for anything to be delivered (not talking about food obviously) …
We had moved into a new place of our own and I was pretty excited to set it all up. But what I thought would take weeks ended up taking months. To say I was not amused would be an understatement!
Lesson learnt: while it is good to be impulsive, sometimes you just need to plan out much in advance to avoid any surprises.
- When I discovered I have to pack my own grocery bag AND carry it back myself too …
Haha, I will never forget this day. The cashier was scanning the items and piling them up on the side while giving me the glare. Well, I glared right back coz why weren’t the items being packed for me? My reaction when I was very politely asked to do it myself …
Lesson learnt: I think my main issue here was opening up those plastic bags!!! Ok, maybe not entirely but how do you open up the bag as quick as possible without making the other customers wait? Please help me figure this one out!
- When I discovered there was actually a left and a right when it came to using the escalators ….
It’s pretty simple! You walk on the left and stand on the right. Yea, simple when you actually get a hang of the really fast moving escalators on the tube stations. My initial approach used to be to get on the left then squeeze to the right. Of course the commuters behind me were never too amused …
Lesson learnt: Even a minute wasted can mean waiting an extra 3 mins (or more if it’s rush hour) for the next train/tube to arrive. I realised this once I became a proper Londoner and it was always a case of running down the left hoping to get on the tube before the doors closed.
- Getting a hang of the British slang ….
It’s no secret the Brits speak the most poshest language on earth, but what I did not know is that they have their very own slang words which could be a bit of a challenge to understand initially … at least it was for me!
Friend: ‘Hiya! You alright? Hope you’re not too miffed about the game last night! Don’t worry, I’m only taking the mickey! How much quid do you owe me for losing the bet?
Lesson learnt: Don’t try too hard to fit in as you’ll start learning and using these slang words without even realising it and then Bob’s your uncle! Am pretty chuffed with myself for coming up with that! 😀
Just like all of us are different, each city has its own characteristics as well. If everything was the same then travelling would become quite boring. The key lies in embracing the culture of whichever city you’re living in and making the most of it.
Thank you for your warm hospitality London! It’s always great to be back ….
Until the next post, Let’s Keep it Strictly Lighthearted!