I know that when I was young and naïve all those one year(s) ago, I imagined my life in London not to be full of glamour, but to be full of exciting, fresh and new opportunities at every turn. With the new batch of graduates lunging into the London scene this summer with the hopes and ambitions of really good graduate jobs, I thought I’d shed a light on London life, and what it’s really like.
Firstly, and I think this should definitely be cleared up straight away; YOU WILL GET LOST. I’ve lived here coming up to a year, and I still have to frantically OCD check the underground boards and do the thing when you’re walking, realise you’re going the wrong way so pretend someone has phoned you and turn around things. All I can say is god bless Citymapper. Download it before you get here, it shits all over Google maps, and then when you get lost, you can blame it on technology instead of your incapability of following a moving blue dot.
YOU WILL RUN INTO SOMETHING RANDOM. That’s just the nature of residing in a multicultural hot pot, there’s always something crazy going on. I’ve been to Japanese festivals, roped into Hari Krishna rallies, watched RADA performances, and seen Shakespeare plays on passing barges. So if you’re every wondering what to do one nice weekend, have a look on TimeOut, but also just grab some friends and pick somewhere on the central map, Trafalgar Square always being a good place to start. I can guarantee you will run into something weird and wonderful.
When everyone moves to London, they plan their first few weekends out with seeing friends and visiting museums. Let me just clarify, right now, that YOU WILL NOT SEE ALL OF THE MUSEUMS. You will always go ‘Oh yeah I really wanna see so and so’s exhibition at the whadyamacallit but you won’t. Time slips away in London, and that time is not meant to spent surrounded by hundreds of thousands of tourists ogling the Rosetta Stone.
YOU WILL BECOME A DOUCHE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. This is just a given. Accept that you are no longer a nice person and deal with it. You will get to your destination quicker.
YOU WILL CRY. Like the above, deal with this. By all means take that 5 minute break to go and cry some of those feelings out. Are they gone? Good! Those feelings don’t belong in London. See you’re learning.
YOU WILL ENCOUNTER A HIGHER CONCENTRATION OF CRAZY. Even people you thought were normal are usually crazy. Living in London ensures that people eventually become mentally ill. I don’t even wince when a drunken homeless man breathes on me at the bus stop asking for 20p any more. He is a mild puppy version of crazy in contrast to some of the motherf*ckers you will unfortunately come across.
In no way shape or form will you ever hear the words ‘Yeah I’ve been saving loads of money since I’ve lived here’, come from anyone’s mouth. YOU ILL SPEND ALL OF YOUR WAGES EVERY MONTH. Every last penny will be spent on clothes, booze, food and random trips out. Get used to this, anyone that saves in London lives in a box room in Epping and eats beans out of a can cold.
YOU WILL BECOME DEPENDENT ON COFFEE. I should probably save this for ‘Surviving your first job in London’ to come soon, but I think it’s also applicable to your social life. You will be knackered all the time and the only way to overcome this is to wire yourself off a drug that’s actually legal.
YOU WILL MOST LIKELY DRINK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. Drinks after work on a Friday? Yeah you’ll only stay for one. 6 hours later and you’re stumbling home still early enough that you will get up before your teenage self would on a weekend, but you’re ashamed that you’re stuffing a midnight McDonalds into your mouth in a hope that it will soak up all the white wine spritzers you were having with your colleagues. You must do this because you promised yourself that this Saturday you were going to go and see that exhibition at that museum you’ve been meaning to go to.
And lastly but probably most likely, YOU’LL WANT TO LEAVE, but ultimately always stay, because despite all the above but because of all the above, you frickin’ love London.