They say ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’, but I absolutely abhor that saying as it provides the illusion that people can only enrich their lives through the typical ‘fun’ activities. Today, I celebrate my second anniversary in London and I feel that the years have flown by not simply because I was having fun, but because this great city provides a multitude of experiences that will cause any individual to detach from relative time.
There are many things that embody life in London, which although some may be found in other European cities, I personally think they sum up my experience in this city. Below is a humble list of the best that London has to offer to any European who decides to settle here for a not-so-mundane life!
1. Bars that actually contain adults
Isn’t it nice to occasionally go out with friends in an environment that is free of uni freshers and anything that falls in the 18 – 24 age bracket?
2. Free TV Show audience experience!
British TV does not always produce the highest quality of programmes. However, it is quite cool that you can actually attended filming sessions as part of the audience and see the stars in action.
3. 99% chance of seeing you favourite musical artist
It doesn’t matter if your idol is a band, DJ, pop princess, or general teenage-obsession-of-the-moment, odds are that they will rock up to the O2 or any football stadium for a concert
4. The joys of a Night bus ride
Night buses in London are possibly one of the craziest places to find yourself in the wee hours of the morning. Despite this, the commuters are a sight to see, with their random banter, inappropriate remarks and unhinged behaviour.
5. Curry, curry, CURRY!
I always thought of curry as that yellow powder my mother adds to her meat dishes to annoy me. Then I went to Brick Lane, and I was instantly converted!
6. Chinese food that isn’t made of plastic
After tasting actual Chinese food, made with actual imported ingredients, I feel bad for those people back home who live in the illusion of Sweet and Sour Pork and Lemon Chicken on some friend noodles.
7. Free newspapers on weekdays
They say newspapers are making a retreat as a result of electronic substitutes. Thankfully, this is not the case for the free papers they give out at Underground Stations, which keep you company on your daily commute.
8. Museums that are actually interesting
Can you imagine if someone in Malta told you he/she was going to a Museum on a Sunday? Instant laughter. Thankfully, there is nothing to laugh about the numerous museums found in London and the artifacts they house – not to mention the exhibitions that change every other month
9. Need a new shirt? Primark is only 30 mins away
Let’s face it, all your friends come to London with the excuse to ‘visit you’, generally between large sessions of shopping. Living in the city is added bonus when you want to quickly dash to Oxford Street and pick up something new
10. Online shopping is much more fun…
…because you can get literally anything! How frustrating is it to try and purchase something from a website and then they don’t deliver to your home country? Won’t happen in London
11. You will always find personal time, no matter how crowded a place is
While this may be somewhat depressing and lonely, I find it quite interesting how I always manage to have ‘me’ time on a jam-packed train.
12. You cringe at the thought of adding yet another plastic card to your wallet
It is a rite of passage to fill your purse/wallet with as many plastic cards as you, unless you want to miss out on those important offers! Nectar Card, National Rail Card, Starbucks Card, Costa Card, Nero Card, University and Library Cards, Oyster Card, Boots Card, and the list goes on and on and on
13. You jump at the idea of a House Party
House parties are the cheapest and safest way to enjoy yourself (at the general expense of the host). Need I say more?
14. You get into sport, even if you never liked it
I was never a big fan of sport, but I ended up getting into it when friends offer you football tickets for a couple of quid. There is also the possibility of tennis matches, rugby games and so much more!
15. You become an expert in managing rainy days
When it rains back home, you see people literally running for cover. When it rains in London, you simply put up your hood or get out your brolly, turn up the music and soldier on.
16. You learn the art of ‘swearing politely’
Most countries always stereotype the Brits as being polite individuals. I also think this is true when you piss them off, as they rarely use the ‘colourful’ insults other nationalities employ (NB:- the look on their face is also quite comical when you translate a foreign insult for them!)
17. Appreciating the fact that you’re multilingual
I love the fact that I can understand the locals in London, but they can never understand me when i’m talking to my Maltese friends.
18. British people love a good accent
I ALSO love the fact that the locals enjoy hearing foreigners speaking English in an accent – it makes you feel special (until they assume that your linguistic skills are inferior to theirs)
19. Embracing a globalised world
It is a remarkable thing to be able to exposed to individuals from a multitude of religions, cultures, races, sexual orientations, political views and so on. Everyone blends in in London, no matter how much of an outsider you think you are!
20. Developing your European Identity
Even though Brussels is described as the capital of the EU, it is London where many Europeans decide to settle. Such a mix of nationalities gives you a greater appreciation for your own national identity, and it also allows you to develop a better understanding of your European one
and that is how two years of your life fly by!