In September, I celebrated my five year anniversary of moving to London. How crazy is this? It still feels a bit surreal when I say it out loud. When was at my 18th birthday, blowing the candles of my London-themed cake, and when did I get drunk in celebration of having spent five years over here? In those five years, I’ve changed, I’ve grown up (at least the candles on my cake say so) and I’ve learned a thing or two. Not only about the big smoke, but also about life, about myself and about adulting.
So here are the ten things I learned from my five years in London.
Buying groceries in London is expensive
Ok, this is obvious, but not so much when you’re 18 and have never lived alone before.
In my first year of uni, I lived above a tiny M&S, which was super convenient but broke the bank numerous times. Just before I went home for Christmas I had to ask my mum to send me some money for the bus and for airport food. Why? Well, because I’d spent the last three months being too lazy to go to a normal people shop and ate M&S ready meals at least three times a week. She was not pleased, to say the least.
Obviously now I don’t do my weekly shop in M&S. Not that this has helped with saving…
You don’t get to hang out with the Royals, like at all
If your acquaintances back home are anything like mine, they will ask you “How’s the Queen doing” every time you meet them.
Surprisingly, I don’t spend my days drinking tea with the Queen, so no, I don’t know what she’s been up to recently. But should I get the chance to chill with her, trust me, you will know. It will be all over my Instagram!
The names of places are not what they seem
Seriously, who made up the way ‘Southwark’ is pronounced? I always have a little giggle when I hear some poor tourist pronouncing it wrong. Marylebone, Holborn & Clapham are other favourites of mine. Half the time, I am not even sure if I’m pronouncing Marylebone correctly, but I would never admit it (again).
Sorry, I have turned into a London snob, and this will happen to you too if you moved here.
A night in with a bottle of wine and some pizza beats a night out in central, 9.8 times out of 10
I don’t know if this is just me being an old lady in the body of a 24-year-old, or just the fact that going out in London is a hassle, and everything is always SO busy.
I think it’s more the second one because I do love a good night out (or a few in a row) back at home. BUT who can bother to get all dressed up, travel for a good 45 minutes on the tube, which at this point is full of drunk people, just to spend a week’s pay in a sweaty club, when you can sit at home in your activewear/PJs and drink discounted Campo Viejo accompanied by Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations? Not me.
Yup, I am a grandma.
There are special rules on the London tube
I honestly thought rush hour in Sofia is mad. Little did I know, it’s actually an easy ride compared to London. If you’ve been late for work because you’ve not been able to get on five consecutive trains, may I guess you live on the Northern line? Yea, same. Then we eventually get on the 16th train, only to have some creep make eye contact and smile at us. Um, excuse me, what? Keep your eyes to yourself, weirdo. AVOID eye contact at all cost.
And don’t forget to apologise if someone else steps on your brand new Stan Smiths (I am still into this trend, OK?!)
Londoners are rude, and you will become rude with time too
Never did I think I would be one of those rude people who huff and puff when a tourist (or non-Londoner) walks extra slowly – how dare they? I have places to be, things to do! And DO NOT EVER stand on the left-hand side of an escalator.
There are rules (see above), and you must follow the rules. It’s fun when I go back home to Bulgaria and people are not aware of those rules, so I end up being stuck between all those clueless commuters and I can’t even say anything, just roll my eyes and wait for the escalator to reach the top.
Passive aggressive looks, sighs and groans become a large part of who you are, and if you try and argue this, I will not believe you.
It is acceptable to be drunk on a Wednesday
My uni days are over, but mid-week drinking is definitely not. People here like to drink, it’s not unusual for the after work pint to turn into shots and a wild night at Zebranos.
Basically, everyone is constantly drunk, and you learn to be ok with it or are too drunk to care. I still can’t get why people like to get pissed on a school night, but here we are. The problem comes when you have to get up the next morning and go to work, even if your head is about to explode.
You end up finding out who your real friends are
When I was younger, I always wondered why my mum has only a handful of friends. I was always surrounded by people, made new pals all the time, and was quick to call someone a friend. When I first moved to England, all my ‘friends’ back home promised to keep in touch, come to visit, wait for me to come home.
I came here and met a ton of people, who I was quick to trust and let in. Fast forward to now, I have a handful of friends back home and here.
And this is ok because I know it’s the ones who matter the most who’ve stayed. *so deep*
“I hate people” is something you will start saying A LOT
Never have I heard someone who lives in this city say they enjoy a stroll down Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. If you ask me, or 99% of Londoners why this is, the answer you’ll get is “because people”. There are SO MANY people here, you end up hating them.
London is magical and beautiful
There are days when I hate this city when I am upset and nothing is going to plan… but then I remember how lucky I am to be living in one of the greatest cities in the world. I remember how beautiful London is, how many amazing memories I have made over here, and how much I love showing it off to everyone who visits.
I am so proud to call this city my home and to have had this dream come of living here come true. I love you, London!
Now, if someone wants to donate a few million to my bank account so I can have the glam lifestyle I deserve, slide into my DMs. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed diving into my mind, and I want you to tell me something you’ve learned in the last five years!