Travel

8 Things You Don’t Fully Understand ‘til You’ve Lived In London

There are things that only Londoners get. If you are planning to visit London you should read this before you go, so that you have a chance of understanding it too…

London is just the most amazing city, but you can never experience it the right way just as a tourist. You must spend some time living there and going through all the things that make this city so special.

1. The 2am bus

london bus

You’ve been out partying/meeting up with friends in central London on a Friday night, and with a sigh, you get on the bus home.

As usual, the driver doesn’t greet you when you get on, but rather stares angrily out the window. Once you’ve sat down, you hear someone’s swearing in Portuguese, three others are having a heated debate in Arabic, a girl is crying on the phone in Spanish and two British teenage girls are trying to impress the boys next to them with hysterical giggles.

Somehow the person next to you still manages to snooze peacefully (while drooling on your shoulder). At least one-third of the passengers are drunk.

You get stuck in traffic around Piccadilly and Oxford Circus, cursing the fact that the tube is closed. The driver, once traffic eases up, seems to be determined to speed up whenever possible and then hit the breaks when turning or just before a stop.

At one stop, you also have to wait a really long time as a passenger boarding decides to have an argument with the driver about his malfunctioning Oyster card.

By the time you get home, you swear you will get a car—even if you have to pay congestion fees, can’t find parking and will mostly be stuck in traffic using it.

2. The morning bus

You are late for work and decide to catch the bus to the tube instead of walk. By the time you get off, you are contemplating if you can sue someone for “damage caused when packed like sardines on public transport.” Probably not possible. After all, you aren’t in America.

3. The Tube

london tube

You use the tube to get to work in the mornings. If it rains, you know that you have to be early as adverse weather conditions could halt the trains. If it’s sunny, you know that people will be fainting like flies due to the lack of air conditioning, so you are early in case of an emergency.

If it’s snowing, you show up an hour in advance or blame adverse weather conditions and don’t show up to work at all. After all, chances are that the tube, buses and half the cabs will stop running anyway.

It’s rush hour traffic and, against the odds, someone vacated their seat as you got on, so you get to sit down. You feel like you’ve just won a million pounds. They also left a copy of the Metro behind, so you pick it up to read. It’s the one thing that every Londoner has read by the time they get to work and you don’t want to feel left out. Besides, the tube is the perfect place to read as no one will talk to you. Ever.

As you are reading, you look up and someone smiles at you. You feel your heart beating faster. Should you call security to report suspicious behavior? Or, are they just a tourist who doesn’t understand how to behave on the tube?

You decide they have to be a tourist and get off, minding the gap.

4. Mice

Every time you move houses, you expect to be greeted by furry friends in the new place. Even if there aren’t any when you move in, they will eventually come to visit.

You have the number to Rentokill in the contacts on your phone, and you’ve seriously considered getting a cat. The only problem is that you aren’t home enough to keep it company and your housemates may be allergic.

You don’t have a place on your own. Are you kidding? That’d be at least two thousand pounds a month.

5. Tea

tea in a cup

If someone comes round with good news, you put on the kettle. If someone calls to tell you about a tragedy, you put on the kettle. If you watch the news and see a disaster, you put on the kettle.

At work, when you get bored, you put on the kettle. When you come home after a long day, you put on the kettle. When you come home after a great date, you put on the kettle.

There’s simply no occasion that doesn’t call for a cuppa.

6. The world’s your oyster

Anything and everything can be had for a pound and not just at the 99p store. After all, it’s only one pound to fly to anywhere in Europe when Ryanair and Easy Jet have tickets on sale.

7. International love

international love

At work, at gym, on the bus, at the local restaurant and possibly even in your home, there are at least five different nationalities at any one time. Being single, you learn the concept of international love fast.

8. Sun

The sun is out. You put on your shades and head to the nearest park immediately. There’s not a moment to waste. Of course, you bring your brolly with you because it might rain later.

When all is said and done, London’s not too bad, innit? In fact, it can be blooming marvelous—at least on days when it doesn’t rain…

About the author

Maria Montgomery

Writer. Social Entrepreneur. Foster mommy (twins). Change maker. Foodie. Health freak. Nature lover. Creative nutcase. Blogger (Confessions of a Dizzy Blonde). A friend of mine once described me by saying “One minute she’s like the Dalai Lama, the next a dizzy blonde” and maybe that does sum me up…

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