Reflection: Four months abroad, one month in the United Kingdom

The 19th of October saw the fourth month of my absence from New Zealand. Four months of being in a foreign land. One month of that (plus a week or two) has been settled in London, United Kingdom.

I haven’t posted much since I have been here – excuse being that settling in has been time consuming – mainly just being lazy is the truth. Anyway, from now on I will be contributing to the category on my blog called “The London Story” which I have already posted a bit into already, but nothing as overarching as this post might be.

Brief run over of the events since arriving and settling:

  1. Flew into Heathrow Airport on the 5th of September, a 1 hour 50 minute flight from Zurich… it then took me almost one and a half hours to get across London to Greenwich, my new home. (just using the Picadilly line and the DLR)
  2. I paid my first rent…but to the old flatmate as he was the only one still on the lease due to the letting agency being useless.
  3. I started buying some of the things I needed to live in my new city: sheets, pillows, duvet, towels, etc
  4. Met with Ben Mourra from ScreenCult – a connection I’d made through some industry connections back in New Zealand. He arranged for Gero Renker from Program Framework to meet me – from just that one meeting, Gero was interested in providing me a job. The next day I met with another of PF’s directors, James Butler, and left with a job offer as a Project Server Consultant. I arranged a start date of 25th of September (a week and a half from when we met), due to going to Oktoberfest that weekend.
  5. Went suit shopping for the first time in my life on my own… bought one from a place called Next – which is kinda like a Hallensteins and Glassons style/priced shop.
  6. Went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! This deserves a post of its own when I finally get to sorting my photos out from then 🙂
  7. Bought, work shoes from Asda (Britain’s Walmart) the morning of my first day of work in Dartford. Had to go to Asda because the day before I was in Munich for Oktoberfest and hadn’t found shoes before I left (apparently business shoes are all weird here).
  8. Since that first day I’ve been to (not that its very noteworthy since I don’t get to explore or experience):
    • Southampton
    • Oxford (just outside)
    • Milton Keynes
    • Solihull
  9. I’m giving online dating/friend connecting a go… I know it seems strange…I never would’ve considered it back home, but without the social outreach of working alongside younger people, its going to be hard to meet people in this big lonely town otherwise. I can only attain a certain amount of social diversity through the friends of my flatmates.
  10. Hrmm… I think there’s more… but I can’t remember… I promise I’ll be more current and therefore not let things slip through the cracks in future. 🙂

Things I’ve learnt in summary so far, I may expand on them later:

  • Being able to get around your city to most important places within 15 minutes is the dream. Wasting between 1 and 3 hours in a day for transport just within the city you live and work is normal here – talk about lost time.
  • Do not underestimate the costs of transport in London. It will be one of your most costly expenses.
  • After the public transport haven of Switzerland where one company had an integrated system across all the regional ones, having to poke around blindly to discover where to find timetables and tickets and so on for so many disparate systems in and around London is an absolute bother. What’s that, you’re one stop outside of London? NO OYSTER FOR YOU. (Oyster being London’s only saving grace for public transport unity)
  • Everything here is expensive. Thank god groceries don’t have VAT (equivalent of GST) on them otherwise I would probably be in more monetary trouble than I ended up being.
  • I miss people more than I could have ever hoped – and I rely on friends more than I knew. Keeping busy travelling all the time with Contiki made it easy to keep the mind occupied and not worry about those things – you had people to enjoy and experience things with. Now, being settled and having to get into a schedule of normal life, its hard not having someone to catch up with after work, or having someone to cook dinner for… early days yet of course, I’ll slowly start making friends but working at a place where everyone is 15+ years older than me doesn’t help that. Eh, there are other ways and I’m getting there 🙂
  • Real estate agents are still extra scum. Over 2 months of trying to finalise all this flat stuff… and its still not sorted. They ‘found’ my rent payment a week after I paid it, which was a week overdue because they hadn’t given me account details until a week into the month… only just last week did they finally sort out the deposit stuff, which they haven’t even signed off yet! AAHFAFHYUHEWFUYH.

I have some deeper feelings too, but I’ll go into those in separate posts as they don’t relate to London directly. They are things I’ve realised or learnt about being alone and doing this travel. It’s given me time to think about things that I didn’t previously have a proper chance to do, and that’s changed priorities or solidified only vague thoughts that I had previously.

Anyway… I think that’s all that’s properly dawned on me so far… a lot of those realisations seem to imply negative feelings towards London so far, but for the most part its just because I’m already noticing what I liked better about home… I’m sure positives will start to bubble up once I make a few more friends and start getting involved in some of the happenings that this city provide.

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Geek, wanderluster, pochemuchka, wannabe-polyglot, photographer and UK-resident kiwi here for the travel.

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