A Month in London
As of today, I’ve made it a whole calendar month in the big city. I’m mostly impressed at myself that I’m still yet to get hit by any kind of vehicle, but it’s only a matter of time before I get mown down by an electric scooter. Seemingly inevitable motorized accidents aside, there have been plenty of thrills and spills already in my short time here.
I’ve bumped into a lot more Guerns than I had planned, although yesterday I deliberately hung out with three of them and it was nice to have some of the familiarity of being from the same place and living there no longer. I’m slowly acclimatizing to the sheer number of people everywhere, although I’m acutely aware that that’s only going to get worse when international travel resumes caveat-free. I’ve already escaped at the weekend three times, once to Redhill and the North Down’s Way and twice to Brighton, where I got to swim in the sea. The beach was again comfortingly familiar, but still nowhere near as nice as the ones back home.
I’ve loved working in our big office by the river and getting to meet so many of my colleagues in person. After having worked with my team purely over Google Meet, getting to see them let their hair down in a pub gave me a newfound appreciation for them as people and our shared working relationship. I’ve been on a couple of dates, although I’m fast remembering how much work that takes and how boundless my capacity for awkwardness is. I’ve got another tattoo; sorry Mum. I’ve eaten like a king and loved it, and have discovered that the temptation of Deliveroo is on average only resistable five days a week. I’ve spent a couple of sessions in the sensory deprivation tank and enjoyed the peace and quiet it affords even more than usual, and the insights into my own self have been illuminating and jarring in equal measure.
I’ve half-decorated my living room, but there’s still boxes everywhere. I’m telling myself it’s because I’m considering moving out in November, but really it’s just because I’ve lost momentum and it seems liveable enough as it is. My bedroom still has strong “single male living space” (aka student halls aka serial killer’s hideout vibes) and needs some kind of personality injected into it. My flat still has no internet because Virgin Media suck. I joined a running club and realised that their social pace is faster than my social pace, and also that I still need to make an effort to make friends, rather than sign up for stuff and expect them to fall into my lap. I got my hair cut but someone new for the first time in what I think is six years. He was a gruff Turkish man who also burned the hair off my ears with a ball on a stick doused in some kind of purple liquid and set on fire; he did not tell me about any part of this procedure before performing it. I’ve been to three climbing gyms and absolutely adored them all, and I feel the most in love with climbing that I’ve ever been.
Obviously it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The girl from the dates did not take it well when I said I didn’t want to see her again, even though in my eyes I deployed unparalleled respectfulness and tact. My Deliveroo habit is on course to bankrupt me, while my rice cooker languishes in a corner begging to be used. I am convinced that the air here is already killing me, but I haven’t got round to getting any houseplants yet. Pints are ludicrously expensive and I refuse to adjust my expectations and stop complaining about it. There are still no gigs, whereas I could’ve gone to several in Guernsey. Every time I look at the Thames I am half expecting to see a body floating by. If I want to climb outside, there are a couple of boulders as art installations in parks, but past that I have to take the train somewhere, and if I want to climb trad then it’s a couple of hours. The sea is also too far away for my liking, even if I’ve already made a couple of pilgrimages there. And most egregiously of all, the floor with the pool tables on in the office is shut.
Overall I’d say it’s still going surprisingly well. I’m impressed that I’m doing such a convincing job of appearing to be holding it together that I’ve even fooled myself. London is a solid 8/10 so far, would strongly recommend.