London First Impressions

Published in Personal - 4 mins to read

I’ve now spent a little over a day in London, the city that is now my home. Of course it doesn’t feel like such, at least not yet, everything is novel and unfamiliar, and in many ways it feels like I am visiting for a week, rather than here for the foreseeable. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for that to change.

The move was somewhat from one extreme to another, so there’s a lot to take in, but surprisingly I don’t feel too much about it either way. I think the busy-ness of having to run errands all day and not even making a dent in my to-do list has dulled any particular sense of either anxiety or excitement about being here. In a way that’s a good thing - I’m not sat here consumed by regret, nor do I feel like I’ve made a horrible mistake. It’s going to take a good amount of acclimatizing but so far I still believe I could be happy here.

Obviously it goes without saying that London is overwhelmingly industrial. The architecture is largely brutalist, the colour green is at a premium and everything is dirty. Perhaps the most obvious difference is how loud it is compared to Guernsey - I knew this was going to be the case, but it’s going to take some getting used to. In a way, I quite like it for now, it’s nice to hear the sounds of people everywhere and feel like the place I’m in is alive, but I am acutely aware of how quickly that particular novelty might wear thin. I am also fairly lucky in that my bedroom is, actually, fairly sheltered from too much noise.

The flat is in need of a little TLC, but so am I, so at least we have that in common. Having my own space is a huge relief so far, and I’m excited to try to transform it so that it reflects my personality, as well as tidy it up a little. There’s been multiple trips to Argos already and I know there’s going to be plenty more in the next month, but all the walking is good for me, and wearing a mask all the time is probably doing me some good against the air pollution too.

Although I can’t say I’m planning on spending much time in the flat - the idea is very much that I just sleep and maybe eat here. I walked to the office today and from the outside at least it looks incredible, I can’t wait to go in on Monday. On my adventures through the city this morning trying to find somewhere to get a phone contract, I saw all kinds of interesting buildings, old or new, big or small, which made me stop and stare for a moment. It’s a little strange to think that soon, it’ll all just be normal to me, and I won’t give so many of the things I’m fascinated by today a second look. There were, unsurprisingly, a million food places that all look amazing and well worth checking out, but I need to figure out a strategy that allows me to do that without excessively damaging my wallet or my waistline. Borough Market was awesome, and I think I’m going to be a regular visitor. Tower Bridge & London Bridge are both cool, although nothing on the Brooklyn Bridge, and similarly the north bank skyline is cool but can’t hold a candle to Manhattan. I’ve not succumbed to the temptation of Deliveroo just yet, but I feel like it’s a matter of time. I’m planning on heading on my first run tomorrow, and on making my first visit to the local climbing gym later in the week. There’s a huge amount to look forward to.

The general attitude towards the pandemic is far less lax than Guernsey’s (with good reason), but also not as strict as I thought it might be either. Wearing masks indoors is generally mandatory but few wear them outside. I haven’t been paying attention too much to the general state of the UK or London, or plans to ease restrictions, other than the dates set out by the government, but I guess I ought to start. Similarly, mayoral elections were held on Thursday, and I should probably find out who won, especially as the only candidate I’m aware of running was Count Binface, who I sadly presume didn’t garner the winning number of votes.

It’s going to take a while for London to feel like home, and I suspect until the end of the pandemic is upon us I won’t be able to fully realise the potential of living here. But so far, I think we’re off to a good start.

See other posts in the Moving To London series