It’s been almost seven years since I moved to London from Spain, so I thought I’d share the things that I’ve learned so far.
- Probably the most important one, at least to me: Appreciate the sun because it only comes out once a month. The days are gloomy most of the time, so it seems to be a big deal here when the sky is clear, which is rare and the longest it has lasted is a week.
- Speaking of weather, always bring an umbrella. Don’t trust the forecast because it’s always unpredictable. It can be sunny one minute and start pouring the next and you’ll end up “soaked”, as they say in here.
- The words “sorry” or “excuse me”. You use them for everything, even if you’re not sorry at all.
- Commuting takes the longest time ever. Seriously, I could be in another country by the time it takes me to get to central London from where I live.
- Party’s over at 3 am. What is this? If you’re from abroad, you will understand the frustration because when the music stops playing at a night club in London… that’s when people in Spain are just getting started.
- London is so diverse, which I love. There are so many people from so many different places.
- “X” at the end of every sentence. Until this day, I still don’t understand the main purpose of it… Are you blowing a kiss for every message that you send?
- The phrase “You alright?” is one of the phrases that I thought I wouldn’t use but it’s pretty handy. It’s like a “Hello, how are you?” and most of the time you’re not expecting an answer but it’s a nice gesture.
- You learn that being Asian isn’t always being Chinese, Japanese, Filipino or Korean. There are a large number of ethnic communities living in London, from Pakistan, India and so many more.
- There are so many accents in this country. Accents are very regional and varied, so the pronunciation changes and it gets thicker depending on where you are.
- Living here is expensive and the closer you are to Central London, the more expensive it gets.
- British people take queuing for things really seriously. Especially when it comes to sales. There will be a long queue of people just to get that extra per cent off. Brits do love a bargain.
- Friday’s are for fish and chips. I remember in high school, everyone would be so thrilled about it because it was a way to celebrate the end of the week, but really, you get tired of eating the same thing.
- Christmas feels like a religion and the hype is extraordinary. From Christmas markets to Winter Wonderland, it’s that time of the year when everyone seems to love each other, even if you hate them.
- Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Caffé Nero, Prêt A Manger… Choose your player, you can’t love them all.
- Finally, not everyone looks like David Beckham or Emma Watson. Oh well…
There are probably a lot more things that I’ve learned throughout these years this list is just the beginning. From my experience, I would say that you will hate living in London at first but as time goes by, you learn to love it. That’s if you meet the right people of course. They will become your “cup of tea”.