14 Jul How To Be A ‘Londoner’ – My Foolproof Guide
The horns are tooting, underground is beeping and people are bustling about everywhere – this is London, a city that truly never sleeps. I can’t get over how big it all is. I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, continually gaping at my very own Emerald City. But the gaping must stop. Let’s get down to business. When you arrive in London first thing is first – become a sophisticated Londoner. ASAP.
Given my extensive time here thus far (a week) I have devised a foolproof plan to becoming a Londoner in no time.
Step 1: Talk the talk.
Use ‘love’ a lot at the end of most sentences and when posing a question.
As I made my way to the accommodation via underground on my very first day I soon realised the lack of elevators at most stations. So my very heavy red suitcase and I got well acquainted that day as I tried to drag it up the many steps when changing trains. However, I didn’t struggle for very long for each time a British gentleman would kindly rush over, offer his help, “are you alright love?”. When I politely declined they took my bag anyway and rushed it to the top of the stairs, “take care of yourself love”. Completely dumbfounded I thought, hey I could get used to this treatment. At that moment in time I knew I was going to like London and every day I’ve heard someone use ‘love’ at least three times.
Step 2: Walk the walk (or take the tube or bus because walking is slow).
One thing I have observed is that the streets of London are constantly filled with people. There is no time to waste here; everyone walks with speed, determination and focus. Due to the large population and largeness of London in general, the easiest way to get around is either by bus, underground or overground train systems or the cute taxi’s we’ve learnt to love thanks to shows like Sherlock Holmes. Cars are something that can only be desired if you wish to pay a hefty city road tax and sit in heaps of traffic for long periods of time (no thanks). Or you can walk most places … If you like getting rained on.
So basically become an absolute wiz at taking public transport so that you can impress everyone with your super skills. At first it all seems quite a bit daunting. The underground map at one glance resembles something a two-year-old child might draw. There are all these colourful lines criss-crossing everywhere and it almost feels like you’re in a real life game of Monopoly getting off at places like ‘Mayfair’ and ‘Oxford Street’ and ‘Leicester Square’ (I have yet to find the exact location of ‘GO’, but once I find it and go past it that hundred dollars is mine…). I take the double decker red bus to work every day and thanks to Robyn, our Program Coordinator and Queen, I now know how to use an app that tells me how to get from A to B. Alternatively to ease yourself into the complex system you can take an open bus tour around the city (highly recommend!) that we were lucky to do on our first weekend. I got to see Big Ben in the flesh (you are no Londoner unless you’ve taken a selfie with Big Ben).
Step 3: Eat. Eat all the time (because frankly everything here tastes amazing and you only live once).
For our official welcome dinner we headed to the Mayfair area where we were completely spoilt and enjoyed an evening of fine dining at Quaglino’s. The wine was nice, the pasta was delicious and the desert was up there as one of the best I’ve ever had (a chocolate tart with caramelised peanuts and coffee ice cream). On Sunday we headed to a pub in Covent Garden for a traditional British Sunday Roast consisting of an array of veggies, potatoes, pork, gravy and this delicious pastry thing called Yorkshire pudding. We headed to the official M&M store for desert where I overdosed on m&m’s self-service, amazed by all the colours and combinations, I filled up half a bag! Coffee here is also quite good and if you ever feel like being healthy head to POD for an affordable concoction of leafy greens and other delectable plant life.
Step 4: Balance.
As I said before, London is a city that never sleeps and to become a true Londoner you must learn to balance social life with work life.
My work life is great – I work in an animation studio nestled in amongst the trendy streets of Shoreditch between the hours of 9 till 6.30 completing marketing related projects. So far my social life is also great. On the Saturday a few of us went on a fun pub-crawl around Shoreditch, introducing us the social side of London life. Pubs are a big thing here and going for a drink after work can happen any day of the week. Like on Monday, when all the interns gathered at the pub after work for happy hour and to discuss our first day. Or one can go on a Thursday, as I did when everyone from the office went out for drinks.
Step 5: Dress like a Londoner.
Fashion can be a very subjective and personal matter but if there is one thing I suggest (from experience) ensure you bring some sort of rain preventive attire or mechanism with you AT ALL TIMES. You may think it’s sunny, but you are most likely wrong. True it is summer here right now (not an Australian summer that is for sure!) however the sunshine likes to mess with you and enjoys playing hide and seek behind the clouds so most likely it will rain at some point during the day. If there is one step you must follow, make it this; a Londoner always dresses to impress while remaining well weatherproofed.
Follow these 5 easy steps and I can assure you will be a Londoner in no time.