I don’t actually hate much of anything, to be honest, but it’s easier to write that down than, ‘what I dislike quite a lot’. I’m hoping to make this a regular feature of my blog as I think about the things in my life.
Today, I’m going to focus on living in London. There’s tons of like, love, dislike and hate as a resident and an expat. This summer, I’m hitting my 12th year of living in London, which is almost as many years as a post-university adult as I did in the US (once I hit 13 years it’ll be even…wild).
Things I love:
- Activities. So much to do. So very much. And lots of it is free or low cost. And they advertise it every week!
- Fabulous food. There’s a huge number of fabulous restaurants and you could eat at a new one every single day for a year and still not go though them all.
- Great markets. I love, love, love Borough Market, though my wallet can’t handle it too often. I can also walk to a few markets at the weekend where you get local sellers of food and household goods. Brilliant.
- The Transportation – this you’ll see on all the lists. Honestly, though, being able to get around without having to drive is a pleasure. I love being able to read while seated on the bus, get from one end of central London to the other so very quickly on the tube, and then there’s the option of riding down the Thames.
- Walkability. London is a very walkable city. Even in my city suburb, I can walk a mile or two and get to a variety of shops. And unlike where I grew up, there are actual sidewalks!
- Diversity. As I walk or ride around London, I will hear so many accents of both visitors and residents. Even my field hockey club has at least seven or eight different nationalities represented (probably even more). And it’s a lot more accepted than many other places. I love that I have friends from all over the world.
- Sport & Fitness. London has so many sports to play or watch. I love the fact that I’m still able to play field hockey at the age of 47. And I’ve made some fabulous friends through the club (as well as met my husband through it).
- Sun. Late sun in the summer. When it’s sunny in June, you can hang outside in the light until 9-something p.m. It’s amazing. Revitalising.
- Travel. It’s so much cheaper and easier to travel around Europe and to many other places. I love that I can hop on the Eurostar and be in Paris in just a few hours. I can spend a day in Paris. A day. And it wouldn’t feel like I was rushed. How cool is that?
Things I hate:
- Dirty. London can be a dirty city. I wash my neck every single evening because there is just so much grime that ends up there. And when I haven’t taken the tube too often and then return, I get the tube snots (don’t ask). Some areas of London are dirtier than others, but it’s certainly a city thing.
- Transportation. Summer tube rides stink. And I mean they are smelly. And hot, even though it’s not that hot outside. It seems like the tube is often closed down or has problems. The words ‘Weekend Rail Works’ strikes fear and anger in the hearts of London all over the place.
- Transient. I’ve made multiple friends and then they leave. London is a place many people come for a few years and then they move on. It makes friendships fast and furious at times, difficult to hold onto, difficult to make.
- Summer. I miss the summers of the US. Typically, where I grew up and lived, summer was a time of sun and heat. Lots of sun, much heat. Not so much in London. I’ve enjoyed a few lovely summers, when the sun comes out shining, but there have been even more where it rains or is grey more often than not. Bah.
- Winter sun. The sun comes up after 8am and sets before 3:30pm in mid-Winter. That’s if you get sun. Depressing.
- Customer service. It’s okay. But nothing like what you get in the US. I’ve gotten used to it, but getting myself set up the first few years with phone, cable, etc, was a challenge.
I’m sure I’m missing on a few things in both lists, but you get the idea. I could do the same if I were to write about any place I’ve lived. What you need to know, though, is that I am so happy to be living in London. I love my life here. It’s LONDON!