In the previous post I was focusing on the negative aspects of living In London, outlining some of the more frequent complaints that various foreigners have when moving to this city. I sympathize with many of them as I either used to or am still complaining about certain aspects of the life here. However there are plenty of things you can love about this city and I wanted to share a couple of them with you as well. Just so you have the full picture, in case you’re considering visiting or moving here!
Diversity of everything! People, nationalities, backgrounds, restaurants, places to go to. And that’s truly brilliant!
You’d rather spend time exploring nature, and enjoying the calm walks in parks or forests? No problem, go to Richmond Park and you’ll get deer running around free, or if you don’t mind going a bit further out – take a train to any smaller town around London and enjoy the slow life happening there.
Maybe you are more of a party-hard type? No problem either! Soho, Shoreditch, Clapham and many others look forward to welcoming you in their rich night life!
Or maybe you like to let some culture in to your life once in a while? Stay tuned for multiple exhibitions in London’s museums, plenty of theatre plays or concerts of any genre!
What about if you’re not from here and you’re missing your home country’s food? Or you’d just like to try something new? Go around the corner and find an international shop which has a variety of products from around the world on offer or google a local Turkish, Iranian, Indian, Chinese (you name it!) restaurant.
I really think that just about anything you can think of, you can get or arrange here in London. Well, maybe not including missing friends or relatives from your home country, but that’s a different story…
People smile, care about the customer more, ask how are you, try build relationships (never mind that they’re not truly genuine) – you’ve got to get used to it. Of course, there is a chance that you’ll get a bad service, but my experience is that in general it is more friendly and customer-focused than in Poland.
I guess that it really depends on where you are from as well. I feel that in Poland gastronomy is still a discipline where we have a lot to learn from others. In France on the other hand it is more common to ask a lot of questions about the dishes, try to mix them up, make special orders with or without certain ingredients – be a high maintenance customer in other words. Here in London you wouldn’t always get such a possibility, sometimes it’s just ‘Sorry, we don’t do this’ and that’s it.
The culture of dining out in the evenings. Something you need to get used to if that’s not common in your country, but a nice way to connect with friends and enjoy the diversity of restaurants in London as well.
My lunch in Poland was a proper warm dish around 3pm, some meat with rice and salad, for example. My dinner was two sandwiches at around 6-7pm. It still often is like that, but I also started going out for dinners in the evening, while eating something lighter for lunch (eg. a salad or sandwich). It is quite a shift for me and it takes time to adjust to. I know that for example for you Italians or Spanish out there what I write here might be a bit weird or confusing as I realise that in general in your cultures you tend to eat bigger dishes towards the evening. For me however it really was a hard ask to eat that much so late when I wasn’t used to it 😉
Even if you’re not convinced to this idea at the beginning and you’d rather not eat supper or just eat something light usually, give going out for dinner a go! You don’t need to eat a steak or a burger, you may start from a simple salad. It’s not that much really about the food, it’s more about catching up with your friends or work colleagues and a relaxing evening.
Standing up (refer back to the previous post), nice, don’t have to look for a pub for hours, just stand there for 2-3 hours and relax with your colleagues or friends. Brilliant! Do it and don’t care about sitting down or being inside. End of story.
Visiting new towns
Not literally though. London is like a collection of various smaller areas. Whichever district you go it feels slightly different, it’s like visiting a new town. Comparing Greenwich with Kilburn or Clapham with Shoreditch or South Kensington with Soho? It’s just not possible. Each of them has their pros and cons, each of them has their own vibe and each of them is soooo different. That kind of goes back to the first point about diversity as well.
I have just moved to another area of London and it’s so different from where I was before. It feels really cool to kind of still know where you’re going and how to get to work and stuff, but at the same time also feel the thrill of a new adventure when discovering new places in this area. I can only suspect that it may be similar for some other big cities like London, but I have never had such an experience before in Poland, living in cities with less than a million people. Even if you’ve moved you’d always go to the city centre for a drink or a party. It’s not the case in London and it is exciting!
I could probably also add more practical things to the list, like the amount of opportunities, good pay, great education, good base for flying anywhere in Europe or the world, lots of nice coffee shops, places to visit… but then the list would be really long! Let me think about the practicalities and maybe write a separate post about it.
I must say that writing such a list is a great way to keep positive about your new home. It’s good to remind yourself once in a while what you like about your new destination. It will help you adjust and stay excited! So stop complaining (although sometimes it’s just needed!) and write up a positive list for yourself! Whether you’re in or outside of your home country 🙂
Have you lived in or visited London? No matter if you’re a British or an expat let me know what you enjoy most about this city! Maybe I’ve missed something out?