Taking a break from finishing up my Tort Law mock assessment to write this blog post. The goal was to have time during the day to blog and publish it by noon EST (for my majority audience), but I was too busy. Anyhow, I finally managed to find time to shoot for the blog over the weekend with George; a photographer I met during CFW London.
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a photographer who was as pleasant to shoot with as my favourite Jodianne Beckford (our chemistry is just undeniable). I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was when shooting with George. The weather was horrible (freezing) but we pushed through. George was very creative with location and direction so I knew the photos would be amazing. To celebrate my first blog shoot in London, I decided to write about the 10 lessons I learned since getting here.
- London rent is INSANE. Prior to moving here, I lived in a 700sf apartment at Yonge & Eglinton (in Toronto) and paid $1275/mo in rent. It was my dream apartment, mostly because it allowed me to fit a ridiculously large dining table (I love to entertain). When planning the move, I figured I’ll have to downgrade to likely 300sf for the same $1275 CAD/mo. I also thought I’d be moved into my perfect Notting Hill mezzanine studio (with a balcony) by my second week here. Well… let’s just say it’s been 1.5 months and I’m still staying with family. I’ve temporarily given up on house hunting. I need time to recover from the horror of viewing 90sf studios that cost the same as my 700sf apartment.
- Not everyone is your friend. I first moved away from home in September 2009 to attend university. I was scared, it was my first time away from home, away from my best friends (my siblings + childhood friends). I didn’t know how to make new friends. Luckily, most of us were in the same predicament, so it made it easier for me to step out of my comfort zone. Fast forward to now, I’m finding it a lot more difficult to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to making “social” friends. School friends were fairly easy to make, I have a great group of girlfriends at school with whom I fraternize with the most. With social friends, I have to be more careful about people’s intentions for wanting to be friends. I’ll leave this one up to God to direct me towards genuine people.
- The Tube isn’t as bad or scary as you think. I think the only day I felt slightly freaked out to take the tube was on my first day of school (2 days after arriving in London). I mostly felt that way because there was a bomb attack at a tube station, anyone would be startled. Every day after that has been fairly easy. I have my Tube Map iPhone app which allows me to figure out the best/fastest routes on my own (so necessary), it’s allowed me to feel a lot more confident to travel via the London Underground. I also find the Tube fairly fascinating; on most days I get to watch many women engage in their full makeup routines on the train, 100% unphased by onlookers.
- You notice how different you sound. This didn’t occur to me until about the third day of school. I kept being told that I sound ‘so cute’. It made me realize that all the ‘like yeah’ in my vocabulary is VERY noticeable to my English classmates.
- It will take FOREVER to get a bank account. I’ve been here since September 16 and still don’t have a bank account. I need official proof of address to get a bank account (because I’m living with family) and I can’t get official POA without a bank account. Luckily Barclays Bank decided to be nice and gave me an appointment for Thursday.
- Groceries (especially cheese) are MUCH more affordable. Coming from Toronto (as a habitual Loblaws/Sobeys shopper), I found groceries here to be super affordable. I like to eat pretty fancy things, but I never spend more than 25 GBP on weekly groceries.
- READ the crossing directions. I can’t count the number of times I almost walked into traffic either because I followed a crowd or I didn’t read the ground directives (look left/look right). Crossing still freaks me out here, everyone jaywalks and no one really respects the rules of the road. The best thing to do is to be super cautious until you feel 100% comfortable.
- Londoners drink A LOT. I’ve come across drunk people on Tuesday night while making my way home from the library.
- You walk A LOT. I’m still wearing my heels though… despite the painful feet at the end of the day.
- People take their dogs EVERYWHERE. In restaurants, on the tube, in shops… you name it, I’ve seen it. I may just join them soon enough.
There you go! The top 10 things I learned since moving here. It’s been rough, but now that I’m better I’m finally enjoying the city in all its glory. PS: for my Toronto beauties, don’t forget to purchase your ticket to the Black Bloggers Brunch.