Four months in London last Tuesday, so, here is my London experience to date, in brief:
- Great summer. Quite an unusual summer for London, long and hot, but I loved it. Well, compared to Romania, it was not that hot. I saw Brits feeling as if they were being boiled, but I think I only wore sandals for a month. And I always had a cardigan in my bag, which I actually used most evenings. In fact, the reason I loved this summer was because it felt like spring to me. I love spring but I never got to truly enjoy it in Romania as it was always too short. Extreme heat always took over quite quick after winter.
- Awesome autumn. I actually got to wear my autumn gear. Just like spring, Romanian autumn is very short as well. And thanks to my nanny job, I get to spend most mornings in the park, looking at the changing colour of trees, playing with crispy leaves and looking for fallen chestnuts. I never did that back home. Having a “normal” job makes you miss on all the great things in life, darn it. Who ever invented jobs, by the way?
- Multiculturality. I live with my sister and with her Indian boyfriend, I work for a British family and I am dating a Tunisian guy. I love that I get to be around such different people and the amount of lessons learned is priceless. I now know I can adapt to different cultures really fast and more important, I don’t mind. In fact, I think if you choose to live in a country and refuse to adapt for various reasons, you should go back to where you came from. You can hold on to your values while embracing new ones, it won’t hurt you, trust me. Also, my tolerance is increasing day by day. Nothing feels unacceptable anymore, but rudeness. This I can’t get over, not even if it is someone’s religion.
- As a waitress, I got to assist to the wedding party of a mixed couple: brown, short, beautiful Indian girl and tall, skinny, blond British boy. The party was in Indian style, the groom wore the traditional Indian wedding outfit and the guests were all age range, both Indian and British. While serving drinks, I took the chance to ask the Brits how they felt about the party. Everybody had a blast and a lady in her 60′s told me that she liked these times, when people formed mixed families and that she had an Indian and a Chinese in her family whom she loved them deeply.
- I was invited to a garage sales. I was walking to the tube station, minding my own business, when this cute Indian girl dragged me to her garden. Together with Mustafa and Sarah, she was selling toys and other kids stuff. She suggested I should try on some bracelets, which I did and she said they looked lovely on me and they were only one pound, all three of them! What a deal! I couldn’t help buying them and then she told me to enjoy them. These kids were like eight years old and that Indian girl, well, she had commerce in her blood, I swear.
- London’s entertainment offer is huge. My prerogative is to see all the musicals and as many plays as possible. So far I have seen two musicals: Wicked and We Will Rock You. I could have done better, I know. I will catch up, I promise.
- Halloween. I didn’t dress up but I will do it for sure, next year. I walked the Camden Town on Halloween day and it was spectacular. I remembered my first real Halloween in Toronto, where everybody was dressed up, all day long, everywhere I went. In Romania, Halloween is a bad joke, just a reason for people to get together and drink. Of course, it is not part of Romanian culture and like all the glossy celebrations we borrow, it turns into a lame fiasco. But Halloween is awesome if done properly. Not to mention the candies, yummy yummy in my tummy.
- Antique markets and charity shops. I have found the greatest things in these places, from books to home decorations. I have made my tiny bedroom awesome, I filled up my bookcase with fine books I cannot wait to read and I pretty much gave a homey feel to our apartment. Antique markets are mostly beyond my pockets for the moment, but I love to wander around them. I love their smell and how every single object has a story.
- Museums. Tate Modern is still my favourite. All in all, I truly feel blessed I am so close to the world’s most amazing works of art, that I can go and look at them whenever I feel like it.
- A spot that is mine. I sometimes go there to gather my thoughts, to look at beautiful London, at the beautiful strangers, to eardrop to all the languages of the world spoken around me, to feel lucky for being here. I won’t tell you where this spot is, I don’t want all my fans stalking me there.
- Restaurants. I can eat whatever cuisine I want, at all times. I already have a favourite Italian and Spanish restaurant. And Indian, of course. That would be the one I worked for. My love for the chef and for his Crispy Bhajia will never die.
- Atilla. A Hungarian man, age 30. I met him in a club and he told me he had discovered the secret of happy life. I asked him to share it with me. He said he needed my phone number for that. I told him he seemed like he was looking either for dumb customers or to get laid. Or both. So I suggested he should write a scientific research on this secret, get a Nobel Prize, then both money and chicks should follow. Conclusion: the secret of happy in life doesn’t come with the secret of getting laid. But Attila is working on that as we speak so just be patient for a bit. Meanwhile,try to get people to bed the old fashioned way: a movie, a dinner, a drink, a stroll in the park etc. It might work but what do I know. Attila is the expert.
- Four days weekends. This will be the main reason for me to be reluctant in looking for a 9 to 5 job. I can totally live with oh, you are just a nanny! thing, because I know my Friday night is on Wednesday night. And because I have my morning coffee in the park. And because I have a two hours break at noon, when the child is napping. And because my work consists in playing with a lovely two year old, that melts me down with hugs and kisses.
- Trip to Milan. It was totally unplanned and out of the blue but who am I to say no to a vacation? I didn’t like Milan. I liked the surroundings though. And being on top of the Dome. I miss Rome. And I have Florence, Venice and Napoli on my list. But for now, I am planning a weekend to Paris. Sometimes I cannot believe I saw Niagara Falls but I never went to Paris. This has to be fixed.
- Last but not least, Alain de Botton started following me on Twitter. I almost cried when I saw it and I am not very sensitive by nature. Not even Titanic made me cry!
I came here with a thirst for life, after the agony I had to go through in Craiova, Romania, for a year and a half. In fact, the only great time I had during all those long months, was in the five holidays I had to take, so that I didn’t have to kill myself. Living day by day in a town where nothing ever happens and where the the only options you have are a theater, a cinema, a park, few clubs, bars and restaurants, sucked the life out of me.
I apologize to all the people living there, I don’t mean to sound snob or something, but this limited, quiet lifestyle is not for me.
Bottom line, I have found what I was looking for. I am falling in love with London, more and more, every day.