It’s also angry, and lonely and expensive and awe inspiring in its ability to rip the rug out from under you.
Ah London. What a magical, mystical and maddening place. A place where you can walk through Soho and not actually hear that much English. A melting pot of noises and people and colours.
I made that jump that so many young Aussies have done and will probably continue to make.
I applied for my Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa. AKA my 2yr visa to go on a working holiday in London. So nearly a year ago, I packed up my life in Melbourne, moved back in with mum and Dad in Perth for a few weeks, then boarded Qantas’s 17hr long haul flight direct to London Heathrow.
Yes, it was absolutely terrifying to get on that plane.
Making the London move has been something on the back of my mind since I was 14 yrs old, so to finally be on that plane was nerve wracking for a trillion and one reasons. Would London live up to my expectations? What were my expectations? I honestly can’t answer those yet- ask me in about 14 months. But what I can say, is that I’ve learnt a boat load of things.
Europe is wasted on the brits
Honestly, it really and truly is. The ability to jump on a plane on a Friday night, spend the weekend in an entirely new country, back into London Sunday and then back to the grind on Monday constantly blows my mind. My British colleagues all think I’m slightly off my rocker that I’ve got a tendency to do this. But honestly, when you have a full time job, why wouldn’t you? You can get supremely cheap flights (my 66quid return to Dubrovnik for example) and see the weekends as mini adventures or simply tasters of new places.
The tube is genius but awful
The tube is a necessary evil. Whoever thought of shoving people like sardines into metal tubes and hurtle them along railway tracks underground was either mad or a genius. For all its pitfalls, delays and temperature control issues, no one can deny that the tube 9 times out of 10, gets you where you need to be with minimal hassle.
Ahhhhhh public free health care, what a concept (cough cough America). While getting a GP appointment is about as painful as a root canal, I can’t deny that when push comes to shove, the NHS get going quickly, efficiently and politely.
There is plastic. EVERYWHERE
This is something I genuinely struggle with. The massive supermarkets here just LOVE plastic. And plastic for the dumbest things- let us choose how many peaches we want- I don’t want to buy the 8 in the plastic sealed plastic punnet but that’s the only way I can buy said peaches at Sainsburys. Yes, you have to pay 10c for those massive reusable bags. And yes some shops are trying and actively moving away from plastic use. But c’mon London. Up your environment game stat.
Australia is such a young country
Seriously. We're SUCH a young country it blows my absolute mind. Go anywhere in Europe and you can be transported back centuries. Australia- not so much.
Everyone here is borderline alcoholic
There's a pub I walk past on my way to the station after work. Every single day, no matter the weather, it's always full. Always. And getting a pint is almost always the answer to any question here. I thought Australia had a drinking culture, but I feel that the Brits put us to shame.
Will I live here forever? Will I try and get sponsored from work? Will I go back to Australia? Will I try and get a visa for elsewhere in Europe?
I honestly have no idea how to answer these questions because I’m just enjoying the roller coaster that I’m currently on and am trying to avoid picking a path for as long as I can.
Because in a place like London, you never know what’s going to come around the corner tomorrow.