Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Year in London

This past week marked the one year anniversary of James and I arriving in London together (James has lived here before but my first time).

A few of the things I/we have done and achieved this past year:
  • Found jobs.
  • Found a place to live...three times! We are about to move again into our own 2 bed flat...ahhhh can't wait for the privacy and space of not living in a share house.
  • Travelled to some placed in Europe neither of us have been before.
  • Travelled to parts of England I've never seen.
  • Done the channel crossing on a Ferry.
  • Been to the theatre several times.
  • Made friends and reconnected with old ones.
  • Learnt that getting lost in London is part of the fun and not to panic.
  • Finally adjusted to the way of the head down, earphones in, steel yourself for the squashed journey.
  • Kept my accent, no duvet, flip flops and crisps for me, it's still doona, thongs and chips :)
  • Discovered some of the best places to shop, although like most people I suppose, the perfect pair of jeans still eludes me.
  • Found "our" restaurant, a lovely little Korean place we love to go.
  • Learnt that the Brits don't do coffee like the need to ask for an extra shot or it tastes like hot milk!
  • Learnt to appreciate the small things, like sitting in the park and reading a book, because quiet time and green space is rare.
  • And many many more....!

I'm quite proud of myself for making it through the first year relatively unscathed. It was apparently the coldest winter on record and for someone who doesn't like the cold that was a big achievement on it's own. Although the British culture is so similar to Australia, there are also many differences which you don't appreciate until you live here. So there have been some tough days in there, I won't lie, I have missed my friends, family and the space and way of life Australia has to offer. But then I just have to walk out of the building at work and see the London Eye peeking over Westminster Abbey at the end of the road, or walk through St James's Park and spy Buckingham Palace and I realise that London too has so much and we haven't yet scratched the surface.

Exploring Soho....

We have done a bit of travelling outside of London and in Europe since we arrived so we decided this weekend to do a bit of exploring in this exciting city we live in. Friday night we met an old colleague of mine for drinks and dinner and a bit of a gossip. We headed to Souk Bazaar for dinner and it comes highly recommended, lovely Moroccan food, too much for us to eat!

Watching a bit of TV the other night we came across Top Gear with Jeff Goldblum as the guest of the week talking about his play, Prisoner of Second Avenue, looked at each other and thought, why not! That's the wonderful thing about living in London! So we booked some cheap theatre tickets and headed out yesterday to see the play at the Vaudeville and explore Soho afterwards.

The play was very good, Jeff Goldblum is perfectly cast as a quirky, eccentric New Yorker who has a nervous breakdown.

Then it was off for a wander around rainy Soho for some window shopping and food. Despite it being "summer" here, it was about 19 and rained all afternoon. A few people lately have recommended Cha Cha Moon in Kingly Court near Carnaby St so thought we'd check it out. It's by the same people who came up with the Wagamama concept, but I have to say I enjoyed the food far more. Cheap, full of flavour and lovely Malaysian style dishes which seem to be hard to come by in London (unless I'm looking in the wrong places!).

We followed this up with another romantic wander in the rain under the umbrella and came across SNOG, a frozen yoghurt place that does natural, green tea or chocolate yoghurt with toppings of your choice (photo of the ceiling in SNOG). The chocolate with fresh raspberries was delicious! And fat free :)

Heading home through Earl's Court we saw this woman dodging the crowds with what looked like all of her possessions, piled up with suitcases and the two dogs! And I think it's a struggle getting on the tube in the mornings with just myself, how she managed I'll never know!