Before moving to London in 2016 I was a hardcore Anglophile. Give me any movie with Hugh Grant, or Colin Firth and I was there. The accents, that quintessential British charm, and architecture that looked like it was pulled out of a storybook was enough to make me completely fall for this city before even knowing it. Yep, I was that dork who had a British flag Iphone case…without having been there once.
Having lived here nearly three years now I can confidently say that I do love this city, but there are definitely a couple things Love Actually didn’t quite tell me.
1. It looks like the movies
Like I said before most of my love for British culture came from films. When moving here I imagined all the building painted with a crisp white with colored flowers on the porch stoops, and gold colored doorknobs. Now I’m not saying these don’t exist…but the reality is most of the movies I watched were based in Central London and neglected to showcase the quaint British style homes that actually look like this.
2. The Food is Trash
The number one thing my anxious family members said (I think mostly convince me to stay) was “Don’t eat the food, it’s terrible over there!”. This was self-debunked within my first week of school (to my left) with a shrimp sandwich and chips that made me write off my family’s advice as fake news. But seriously, as the weeks and months would go on I began to get really confused over this myth. Maybe it refers to the UK as a whole but London has diversity shooting out of it’s ears and the food shows that. You can get anything from Italian, Chinese, Nepalese, Korean, Caribbean, Indian food etc. right at your fingertips and that’s just to name a few. And to give credit to the Brits some of my best meals to this day are a good ole Sunday Roast, English Breakfast, and of course…Fish & Chips.
3. Everyone is polite and has fancy British accents
Now this one is completely perception based but in my perception, this one is laughable. Outside of Buckingham Palace London is home to the most variants of accents I’ve ever heard, so much so that some can literally be pinpointed to the borough you’re from. From “roadman” to “chavy” to “Northern” and “Liverpool” and don’t even get me started on “Cockney”.
4. London’s CRAZY Expensive
Being a student there isn’t exactly a magic button that gives you more money because you decide to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. For me I’m able to live and study in London because of my FAFSA loan, which means living on a student budget. With that said I live a pretty decent life here and I’m not rich by any means.
Yes, London CAN be expensive, if you make it. But if you’re willing to make a couple budgeting sacrifices , i.e having flatmates or trading in that dinner in Leicester Square for a Tesco Meal Deal once in a while London can be an amazing and wallet friendly place to live..if you do it right. Regardless with any big city there’s always TONS of free things going on and London loves students so always be sure to ask for a discount wherever you go.
5.It’s ALWAYS raining
Another one I’m really confused about. Alright, alright our weather isn’t the best. I’ll admit I have the odd days where I’ll look out the window to a grey London sky and wish I was lying on a beach in the Bahamas but hey, can’t have everything.
Although it’s not always sunny it definitely does not rain all the time, in fact I’ve had weeks go by without a single drop, so I don’t know…thank global warming I guess? Personally I choose to see the glass half full, because of London’s sometimes slacking weather, it makes you cherish the sunny days to the fullest. And when the sun hits those cloudy London skies…it really does feel like the movies again.