So it now has been about 6 months since I have moved to London. It’s really hard to believe that!!!
To prepare this post I took myself on a journey to the past with my journal, to remind myself of my first impressions of London city. Below you will find a couple of thoughts I first had about the city.
What struck me first is the amount of people on the streets. Well…everywhere, in fact. It’s pretty overwhelming when you move from a city of 500,000 people to one with over 8 million of them. What I had to learn was to actually stop paying attention to all of them. I know it sounds strange – ‘start ignoring people’ – but so far I can’t see any other way to deal with crowds in the tube, in the bus, on the streets, in coffee shops, in restaurants… If you allow it to bother you, you risk losing the ability to admire the beauty and diversity of the city. I still don’t feel fully comfortable with these crowds, but I’m learning to ignore my anger.
It’s funny how tourists start bothering you with their uncoordinated moves, taking pictures everywhere and blocking tube gates 😀 It’s especially funny when you used to be such a tourist yourself so many times before! It really made me think and realize that I need to respect the time and life of the local residents – the fact that I’m on holiday does not mean I can suddenly stop in the middle of the street and take pictures blocking the passage.
What is good about it though is that I don’t feel like an alien living here. What is great about this city is that it is so diverse. There are so many people from around the world living here, which for me means that I don’t need to feel different or like I don’t belong here. Even if you are working in a rather British environment, there are so many possibilities to meet people from all over the globe and feel less lonely in this huge city.
I always thought of Poland as being very bureaucratic. What I experienced here really surprised me though. The amount of paperwork I needed to provide in various places and offices was just ridiculous. Workplace, background checks, estate agency, NHS, bank…They now know absolutely everything about me! Just to let you know – Poland is in the European Union, so I didn’t need any visa to come and work in the UK. I probably am lucky – it saved me so much extra work! If you ever decide to come here – be prepared for all that.
Ok, so for me, a Polish person, a typical evening meal after work is most usually a sandwich. May be a fancy sandwich, but is still a sandwich. So far I associated late and abundant dinners mostly with Mediterranean countries and would have never thought that the British do it so often as well. But in fact, every single Brit that I met here goes out for dinners with friends at least couple of times a week.
I was opposing to this quite a bit at the beginning, just because it was not my usual thing to do and I have already had sooo many changes going on. Now on the other hand I see many good things connected to that and I really enjoy dinners out.
Pros: regular meetings with friends, opportunity to try good food and new places, clean kitchen 🙂
Cons: additional expenses, staying late at work to meet friends at 8 pm (not efficient to go home and then back to the city), a lot of time spent outside of home.
Are there any more pros you can see?
I have never seen this amount of take-away coffee in my life! Haha
It is getting more and more popular in Poland as well, but it’s also more expensive in Poland than UK, taking the salaries into consideration (when you convert the currencies the prices are really similar). As I am a coffee-lover it was good news for me that I can have a good coffee-shop coffee almost every morning. The one that I can really recommend is Carpo, near Piccadilly Circus – heaven!
And last but not least – the amount of opportunities available in this city. Various kinds of opportunities – employment, development, fun, sightseeing, travel, restaurants… The opportunities are almost endless and this is what still keeps me excited about this location.