It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to muster up the energy to write on this blog o mine. I’ve been overwhelmingly busy with travels, moving to a different country, finding a job, a place to live and prematurely packing up my belongings for a return back to the states. My bad, blogosphere. To fill in the gaps, I decided that I wanted to take the plunge after Spain and once again pack my bags and call a different country ‘home’ for an undetermined amount of time. I‘m noticing more and more that every year, I take a trip or make a decision that is bold, potentially nocuous, and usually extremely thrilling (re: other blog posts about couchsurfing and moving to Spain after very little premeditation, but instead heavily equipped with a fervent desire to battle the morass of routine life). But, I like to think of all my Dionysian endeavors as just me being an intrepid traveler extraordinaire and those pre-adult years aren’t going to last long, right? (oh wait, I’m 24 and should have a steady job and woah. I AM an adult, not a pre-adult, and I should be saving extra money with every paycheck so I can afford a house to fill with all my devil spawn in the far future. Instead I am choosing to trade in my monetary capital for cultural capital).
Anyways, it’s just in my nature to listen to my gut and irritating intuitions who on the reg dare me to travel and live in different countries. And to be honest, most of the time I feel like there’s a dare competition between my gut and the mission control center that is my brain whereby my demanding and vociferous inner self always tries to stir shit up in my head by telling all my brain circuits that I should leave Spain after my teaching/learning bout is finished, and move to London without a job or place to live and just see what happens. Alot of the times I don’t act on these intuitions and alot of the times I do. In this case — on moving to London — my inner gut prevailed over my parents and my own pragmatic sensibilities to move back to Los Angeles. Nonetheless, I made it to London, nabbed a job and got a decent place to live all within three days of arriving. Lady Luck was most definitely on my side those three days. And looking back on it, that was probably the most reckless thing I have ever done in my life and hopefully the last time I will put myself in a situation like that. But, where there’s a reckless story there are also life lessons learned and I’m glad to say that I’ve got a few I will be able to spout when I’m on my death bed and need a profound monologue to wrap things up and sprinkle lessons to all my family: “Tony, never move to a foreign country without one of those new fangled rolling suitcases.” That’s what I call sound life advice.
But, living in London. Here’s what I have to say about that. I think that it should be experienced by everyone at least once in their life. And this is just a few of the reasons that support my claim. This list is by no means comprehensive, but its a good start for all you folks who are planning on possibly moving or traveling here and have incipient plans that need to be man handled:
- This is the one that tops every list that mentions why London is so amazing and I’m just going to jump on the bandwagon and say it’s pretty fucking great that the Tate, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, and the Science Museum are all free. London is one of the most expensive cities to live in (after Hong Kong and Tokyo), which means that you are always searching for cheap ways to enjoy her vast amounts of cultural offerings. So, you can see the Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra’s corpse, and The Book of the Dead in one day and on the house. boom.
- Taking into consideration how this city will leave a dent in your pocket after one night out, I know that I will never rightfully be able to complain about prices anywhere I live in the future. Now that’s what I call a lookin at the cup half full because I refuse to endlessly complain about the prices here.
- Anyone who says that your food eating habits will consist only of under flavored fish and chips, can as my London friends say, “sod off.” London is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world and you can find just about every range of food here (I also happen to live in a community with the largest percentage of Muslims, so a five minute walk outside my flat will bring me face to face with 65 quid samosas and chotpoti).
- You get to say the word ‘quid.’
- You don’t necessarily have to be a futbol fan to live here, although it gives you major street cred with the locals, especially if you are from the states and you regularly use “futbol” the European way and not to describe a bunch of hunky dory men head butting each other like a bunch of goats trying to improve their status in a herd. But, I just prefer to howl “Manchester United” and raise my fist in the air like I know what I’m talking about, but really I’ve just seen “Green Street Hooligans.”
- And yeah, it rains here. But it never really lasts that long and sometimes its not enough to get you totally drenched (but on the other hand, enough to annoy you and make it feel like someone is aggressively spitting on your face). Personally, I happen to love rain and the smells that linger when a fresh coat has doused everything. So go ahead and rain on my parade, London weather.
- Laughing to myself whenever I need to go somewhere on the tube in the direction of Cockfosters: “This trains last stop is Cockfosters.” teehee.
- Free Haircuts.
- this CAT CAFE!
- Or how on my way to work I’ll walk by mysterious wooden structures and find out later it was erected in commemoration to Geoffrey Chaucer, and that he lived in the same neighborhood as I did for 12 years. I automatically feel seeped into a lost time (re: midnight in paris kinda thing) and closer to a history that I read and marveled over in school.
- the Music!! There is an endless selection of bars and venues to visit where you ears will be met with some truly creative and original sounds. It seems like everyone here is in a band or tried to be in a band and failed or is trying to get you to be in their band, but either way this place is chock full of some great music! And with a history that paved the way for bands like the Sex Pistols, the Jam, and the Who, this place has the music credentials for all you music lovers, snobs and aficionados.
- the slang and feeling lost and also excited about using new words in a freshly polished fake English accent: “Oi, yestuhday I was totully knackered and we legged it to Brighton and ran into Kate Middleton!” “Blimey, are ya takin duh mickey outta meh?”
- The MARKETS! The god damn markets are some of the best I have ever been to. Brick Lane Market tops my list as it is one of the only places that allows unregulated commerce and has an an authentic feeling of community and team cooperation between all the stall owners. (story detour: Inspired by a woman I met about a year ago, I decided to write poetry for people on the streets during the Sunday market. I sat with my typewriter and had a sign that said: Poem Store. I would write a poem on the spot about a persons chosen topic and they would pay how much they thought it was worth. I initially tried this at Camden Passage Market and was dismissed by all the stall operators. I tried again — this time successfully — at Brick Lane Market and was welcomed from other stall members and met a loud bunch of eclectic characters. So this market automatically wins in my book as an off the radar and authentic experience into London culture).
And now that I have told you the reasons why living in this city will be unforgettable if you ever decide to take residency on her, I don’t think one can live here forever (at least if you are from sunny California). My flight home is in a few hours and I’m both elated at the fact that I moved to London and equally bummed I couldn’t make it last longer. My decision to return back home also might be a bit precipitated since my flat was broken into three times, causing me to freak the fuck out and have mini mental breakdowns whenever someone the least bit dodgey looking comes close to my homes gate. Not a fun way to live. But once you have reveled in Londons’ streets and hollered at taxis and been nearly run over by them, it’s time to get the hell out. I am also at the portion of my trip where I am listening to alot of Best Coast as a means of being closer to the best place on earth: sunny southern california. Nothing like taking a long adventure away from home, to fully acknowledge the beauty of your roots (home to the ocean, babes, sun and waves) is where it’s at. It’s like when I was living in Madrid and never had access to crunchy peanut butter and then I was finally able to get my hands on a jar and I realized how integral my gooey little sandwich topping friend was to a happy me.