Moving to London was one of the most difficult and most rewarding decisions of my live. In my early twenties, I was in a job where I had got the most I could get out of, in a country where recession had hit bad and progress was out of the question. The next reasonable decision was a job change, but I took it one step further and changed countries. The obvious answer was London – because it’s the one place that I synonymise with endless possibilities – and it does not disappoint!
Over the past 18 months, I have learnt a lot – from getting to grips of the media world to understanding agency life and getting used to the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘9 to 5’ in this big city – no siree – it’s work hard till you make it – and ‘making it’ just keeps getting harder.
Overall, the experience so far is better than I imagined and I wanted to share the highlights:
Chop chop – or don’t bother at all
London is the ultimate race of life, on steroids, with Olympic level competition, against yourself and on a daily basis. Pressure is high, we all feel it – but just like everything else in this city, the rewards are exaggerated and it’s definitely worth it in the end
Patience is no longer an option
Before I came to London, I never understood why people run when the tube doors are beeping (obviously closing). Now I get it – because Londoner’s are spoiled – we have no patience to wait on the platform for 1 minute until the next train.
7pm end is an early end to the day
If you want to finish work at 5:30 pm – then you are better off starting work at 6 am and work through lunch – packing in as many meetings in there to make sure that you can justify leaving work “early”. Doesn’t matter what field you’re in – bankers and lawyers have it worse – but the general gist is, if you finish by 7, it’s a good day!
Thursday is the new Friday
Friday’s are for downtime – as opposed to what they used to be during uni days. Thursday’s are for going out after work, catching up with friends and celebrating that the week is nearly over. Sorry Friday, you no longer hold all the happiness.
Citymapper saves the day, everyday
Travel would be such a challenge without apps – from CityMapper to BusLondon – travel apps are what make the Londoner’s world go round. Without these, you would be standing at a bus stop for ages wondering when the bus is going to turn up or not know how to get from a to b in the least amount of time possible.
Authentic precedes mainstream
When I first moved here, I loved going to Oxford Street and Hyde Park, but I was falling into the tourist trap and being stuck in crowds. In London, it’s all about finding the tiny coffee shop that not mainstream and having a unique, authentic experience – not the standard one.
Londoners are Active
One of my favorite things about London is how people look after themselves. They go to the gym frequently, seek out places to exercise and are a more active bunch of people compared to many. 90% of the people you meet here are gym members, and are into doing the best for themselves.
Sun out = pilgrimage to park with a picnic
The standard move for any Londoner when the sun is out is to make the trek to a park, picnic in hand. I absolutely love this tradition, and it’s predictability. Granted that London has 2 months of sunshine in total (spread over the course of a year), it’s one nation that takes full advantage of the glorious sun. Festivals are a standard, BBQs are a must and having a good time is always guaranteed.
Every hour, day and month in this city has been spectacular and this experience keeps getting better – so thank you London – and here’s to the next 18 months!