Sunday, 20 July 2014
So to anyone considering a move to London? Come. Stay. Find your corner(s). Read the Standard and your local magazine. Don’t read the Metro. Download the tube app. Make an effort to make and retain friends. Enjoy alone time. Walk around. Explore. Invite your non-London friends to stay and show them your favourite areas. Join a gym. Play team sports. BUDGET. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Everyone else is haemorrhaging money too – just plug the gaps where you can, don’t keep a car, say no to things sometimes and ask for a raise as soon as possible. Then ask for another one a year later.
When I moved to London 20 months ago I hated it. I always said I’d never move here, which of course meant just nothing at all. I could see that some bits of London were good, but generally it was dirty, crowded and people were rude, unhealthy and unhappy.
But now. But now. Something clicked about six weeks ago. I no longer walk around feeling self-conscious and trying to keep up with London. I amble down the street and I know how to get around. Where I used to hate that people bumped into each other on the tube and didn’t apologise, now I understand that we’re all just trying to get where we’re going with minimum fuss and we’re all part of the same tribe. It is, in fact, a mark of being on the same side, that we don’t feel we have to apologise to one another. And that’s when you know you’ve been had. You’ve been Londonised. And it’s kind of a warm fuzzy feeling. Tourists are perpetually in my way, but I stop and give them directions. Last week, I witnessed three spontaneous acts of joy or kindness within two minutes on my commute home (Piccadilly Circus to Ealing Common, most days, if any Londoners are wondering). You see what you look for. I work my 45 hour week, I party with my friends, I go on dates, I pay my taxes and I own this city! At least that’s how it feels lately. I am triumphant! I am…happy. I know, it’s weird.
So here’s why.