Well I’ve been here a month, more or less, so I figured I should have a proper go at summing it up so far (in proper blog format, not dot points).
Honestly? I’m exhausted.
As an incredibly unfit person, I’ve been walking for hours every day and cramming in as much as I can, taking advantage of the time granted by my self-inflicted unemployment. This has been a huge shock to my poor body/feet, but I’m getting slowly getting used to it.
First up: the flight over here. With all the plane crashes in the press lately I was absolutely terrified. And because I can’t sleep on planes, I spent 24 hours in a state of panic, quelled only by the occasional smugness of having ordered a vegetarian meal – which meant I got to eat about 20 minutes before the rest of the cabin. I didn’t even get drunk as I usually do, instead I listened to all the blogs I’d read about surviving long flights and drank lots of water and moisturised. Dear god I’m getting more boring the older I get.
Anyway it was relief and a fairly easy trip through customs when I landed early the following morning, so all was well. I caught the tube to my hotel in Baker Street, had a loooooong shower, then went exploring. I did the usual boring starter things – bought and set up a sim card – then I went and checked out where I’d be meeting up with a former client of my old work in Piccadilly Circus. Finally I did the hideously touristy thing of walking down Oxford Street, which was super busy, but also quite beautiful.
The following day I met up with Kim, a lovely Kiwi who’d worked with my old company. She helped me with my CV, put in a good word for me at her company and was generally super lovely and helpful. Afterwards, although I was walking around like a hideous jet-lagged zombie, I managed to check out the National Portrait Gallery (good but creepy, especially if statues freak you out. Doctor Who nerds will understand my fear), the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, walked down to Buckingham Palace and Green Park, checked out possibly the worst Beatles memorabilia store, wandered around Regents Park (gorgeous) and went Sherlock filming location hunting (found the street they film 221B). And, in an effort to keep myself awake to a decent hour, I bought cheap tickets to go see my favourite musical Wicked (£17!).
The next few days were spent checking out other museums (Victoria & Albert, Natural History, Tate Modern, Highgate Cemetery), as well as generally exploring Camden, Covent Garden, Soho and South Bank.
I also ticked another thing off my bucket list, which was to see a play at Shakespeare’s Globe. It was the Merchant of Venice with Jonathan Pryce, and it was fantastic. The funniest thing I found about it were the planes that flew overhead during the performance, the stark contrast between the faithfully constructed Elizabethan theatre with it’s thatched roof and wooden beams, and the roar of jumbo jets heading to Europe or Africa, drowning out the sound of the actors for a minute or two as they passed.
I also was introduced to my new housemate, Simona, a friend of a friend of my parents who had very kindly agreed to let me crash on her couch. She’s lovely, makes me tea in the mornings and know’s so much about London history I get awesome lessons about the suburbs we go to when we go exploring on the weekends.
So now I’m a resident of Surrey Quays, a suburb south of the river on the Jubilee line (arguably the most useful of the Tube lines). As all my English friends back home are staunch supporters of the north side of the river, I headed over the bridge with trepidation, but so far so good. It’s much more multicultural than the fairly whitewashed Sydney suburb of Surry Hills that I’m used to, but I like it.
I’ve got loads more to write about, but I think that’s enough for now (can’t put it all in one blog post!)
To finish up I have to tell you about my favourite moment in London so far. It happened when I was having a coffee at the Tate Modern, at the little cafe on the third floor. The place was packed, and despite my bloodhound-like search for a powerpoint to charge my phone, I ended up sharing a window table with an older Italian woman. The view of St Paul’s was gorgeous, and she turned to me, smiled, and pointed at the church.
London. It’s exhausting, it’s expensive and it’s busy. But she was right. There’s so much here that sometimes you have to stop and sit back in awe.
Til next time, kids…
Listening to: Fall Out Boy
Watching: Daredevil (TV series, not the shit movie)
Reading: Sense and Sensibility
Current man-crush: Charlie Cox