I have been in London for two weeks. Basic skills have been surprisingly the hardest part of moving here. At the end of the first week, I lost my phone and oyster card. Literally, the only two things you should not lose when you’re in London. However, after a week of fixing my predictable mistakes, I think that it made my navigating, foraging, and decision skills so much better than when I first got here. For example, the tube map is virtually tattooed to my brain after having no google maps to tell you what train to get on or what stop to get off on. Finding a place to eat at night or a grocery store to shop at is relatively natural now even without picking up my phone to look on yelp. And Instead of scrolling through social media on the above-ground rail, I find myself looking out at the absolutely gorgeous views that the locals may take for granted.
Foraging for food, so my new roommates call it, has been the best way to experience London so far. When I arrived, my program housed us in Kensington in a basement apartment which if you ask any local, is the most expensive area of London. This is amazing considering the Hyde Park that I run in every morning, the safety we have at night, and the crazy rich neighbors with really cute pedigree dogs. The caveat to this is that all the food to be found in the area can be really fancy. Even the grocery store on my block, my professor of management calls “posh”. Food usually involves a tube ride or a significant detour into an alley. This means that since I’ve been here I’ve eaten in so many different neighborhoods: Chelsea, Soho, Fulham, Battersea, and even Greenwich. Going for dinner or finding a cheap coffee shop lets you experience the different vibes that each part of the city has to offer. I recently had a local that reminded me that Londoners do not live in their apartments, they live in their neighborhood restaurants, pubs, and markets and I have grown fond of that lifestyle. My favorite meal so far was in Borough market, albeit a pretty touristy spot, for lunch all the surrounding workers come out of their offices by the Tower Bridge to enjoy greek, Italian, Asian, and fusion food stalls. I had the best sandwich in my life (featured in this blog post) with fresh parmesan grated on top. My roommate had a greek bowl which looked equally as amazing. We sat amongst the coworkers on a bench watching them all finish and head back to the office and then we got a street donut – which I would also highly recommend. Overall it has been an insane adjustment to London, there have been some learning curves and mistakes and more learning curves but I feel like I am finally settling into the city. We will see what the next two weeks have to offer! Follow along to see more adventures (and maybe a few less mistakes).