A while back there were some pictures trending the internet, pretty much implying that London is only nice and fun if you are rich.
I beg to differ. I am not rich and I was even less rich when I first moved here. While I can’t do everything I would like to do (seeing Cumberbatch on stage, for instance), I am very much enjoying all the things I get to do here, perfectly aware that anyway, it is much more than I could do in Romania, ever.
Therefore I invite you to see the glass half full and maybe convince you to try to make the best out of your stay in London.
Half of London’s surface is public green spaces.
Wherever you are, you will find a patch of grass nearby to take a walk, collect your thoughts and relax that mind of yours, stressed out by the upcoming rent. Or practice yoga/mindfulness, read a book, do your homework, do home office (ahem!) or, weather permitting, work on your tan (don’t hurry up to buy a bikini, it won’t happen often, five times a year, best case scenario.
You won’t mind the rain anymore.
I remember when living in Romania I used to stay indoors when raining. I would cancel all that could be cancelled and stayed inside. I can’t do this in London because I will never get anything done. But anyway, rain in London is not as bad as I expected. It doesn’t happen everyday like one might think and it is usually a mild drizzle.
You get in shape, free of charge.
If you are on a tight budget and common transport is a luxury, you will cycle. You can thank Boris and the TfL later for that tight body of yours and for that lovely glow on your face. If you are one of the lucky ones that can afford public transport, I am telling you, you will still exercise greatly. Bus and train rides are very good core exercises and changing lines is pretty much walking very fast/running/climbing (steps) etc.
You have no choice but to talk to people.
Bus, tube, streets, even your home is full of people. Yes, your home, you heard that right. If you are lucky enough, you won’t have to share the bathroom with more than two people. Good luck with that. Bright side: you will always have company if you feel like it. Or even if you don’t feel like it. More than often you will have to lift your head from your screen to say hi or sorry or thank you. I think that’s good for you.
You will read more.
Books, Metro, The Evening Standard etc. Commuting takes a big chunk out of your free time and you don’t want it wasted. So you will read. And reading is sexy.
Tips for cheap reading: 1) Download Kindle on your smarthphone and buy ebooks. The classics are free on Amazon, by the way. 2) Buy books from charity shops. One or two quids for a book is pretty much a bargain. 3) I am big fan of Audible. I pay 8 pounds a month which allows me to buy an audio book per month. It’s more than enough for me as I don’t commute much (I know, I am privileged, don’t hate me).
I can’t stress this enough. London’s most beautiful museums are free and awesomely organised. After a couple of hours walk in any of them, few more neurons will be born in your brain. Isn’t that awesome?
All kinds of food in one city.
You can’t take this for granted. It is well known that immigrants feel closer to their homes through food. Hence the culinary very yummy diversity in London. Immigration makes the world a more interesting place, ain’t that right?
You will feel rich when travelling abroad.
The pound is strong outside London. In most of Europe, parts of Asia, Central and South America you will feel like a king. For example, I laughed hard when they charged us 25 euro for lunch for two plus drinks in Tenerife earlier this year.
You will become aware of the SUN.
Have you seen how things unfold on a sunny day in London? Basically, the humans take over the green half of London’s surface. They lay down and simply soak up the sun. It is a beautiful image. I don’t believe in God but if there is a God, Sun should be God. IT is the only one that can stop the Londoners rushing up and down the streets,IT is that mighty. (A sunny day might also last a couple of hours so drop everything and go soak it up when it’s up. You never know when you’ll have another chance).
You get to call HOME the most amazing city in the world.