The First Month of London Life

In my earlier post last month I let you know some of my thoughts from my first few days living in London. Now that I’ve been here over a month I thought it was time to update you on how London life has been going since then!

Google Map London
Map of London

Maybe you’ve never visited London and are curious to know what it is like living here. Maybe you are planning to move over soon and want to know what to expect. Or maybe you’re a seasoned London Kiwi already, in that case I’m sure you can relate all too well to how the start of London life plays out!

Here are some of the trials, tribulations and triumphs I’ve experienced in the first month or so in London.

Starting out in London

Why is basic life admin so hard over here?!

How am I meant to set up any bill accounts to get proof of address so I can set up a bank account if I can’t get a mobile plan or sign up with a utilities company without having a bank account? (Thank God for a boyfriend with a British passport who can get all of this sorted right away so that I don’t have to!)

There is just so much to do all the time!

Watching sports in pubs with friends, bottomless brunches, going shopping in Oxford Circus or at the huge westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, sightseeing at Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London and Kiwis in London meet-ups. I could easily fill up every weeknight and weekend with activities. (Only issue- my bank account might start to hate me a little!)

Expat friends vs. UK friends

It’s almost weird how many people I knew back home are over in London now (I’m looking at you East Auckland) but it’s great having friends! And by extension yay for lots of new Kiwi and Aussie friends too! But will I ever actually get to know any British people besides the people I see at work? Maybe I won’t lose my kiwi accent after all…

Dealing with the NHS

How the hell am I meant to get my hands on the prescriptions I need for any medication I take if I can’t go to a GP until I have a permanent address? There are NHS walk in centres, and they’re free but it turns out there is often a two hour or so wait time (I have so many better things I could be doing with my precious weekend!)

Expat Kiwi Problems

Why do I only miss marmite, milo, vogels, pineapple lumps and jaffas when I am overseas?! And how am I gonna get my hands on my favourite natural skincare products from Skinfood NZ so that I don’t break out all the time? (Hint: you can find them on Amazon UK.) Is it too early to ask my mum for a care package yet? (and at minimum $50 postage will she even agree to send me one?)

The Tube – Do’s and Don’ts!

Ok so there is a few positives in all of this- now that I have a job (albeit a temporary one) I’m starting to get the hang of the London Underground in rush hour.  I have learned to not fall over even when not holding on, how to squish myself in like a sardine with all my fellow commuters and how not to lose a limb to the closing doors in the process.

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As you can see despite the odd drama I’m starting to settle in to London life a little more (cue smug chuffed with myself face.) 

At this rate I’ll be a right Londoner in no time!

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A Kiwi freshly arrived in London

So I’ve just done the typical 20 something kiwi thing and moved to London. It may seem like an easy next step seeing so many young New Zealanders have done it before me but it turns out leaving everything behind and setting up a new life in this sprawling metropolis on the other side of the world has both its highs and its lows. Before I tell you more about them here is some of my small observations from the first few days in Londontown.

First Impressions from the first few days

How British

Ooooo look red double decker buses, red post boxes, red phone boxes and  black taxi cabs! It’s all SO British! 

Navigating the Underground

Wow this tube thing is a wee bit confusing compared to other subways I’ve used. Some trains running on the same lines don’t end up in the same place, hope I don’t get hopelessly lost! Take me back to Paris where the metro is all so easy!

Touristing but not

There’s all these places that seem so familiar from the news and movies like Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster and Buckingham palace. Pinch me, is this real?!

So where is that…?

But then there’s all this stuff I don’t know, like where all these suburbs are?! This city seems huge!  And like where should I try and find a place to live? How do I know where to avoid and where is super expensive and where all the hip millennials like me (ahem) hang out?

Grocery Shopping

Ahhh touring supermarkets, one of my favourite things to do whenever I get to a new country. The ready meals are really great and not too expensive here, which is quite ideal! Other than that there’s not too much weird or different stuff though, there’s sour cream and cottage cheese and blue top milk. It’s just like home except less expensive : )

Clothes Shopping

Yay for Topshop and H&M and Primark! I know, I know we have some of these in little old New Zealand now but the range is no way near as good. And everything is soooo cheap here too… oh wait, 35 pounds is more like NZ $65… maybe not as cheap as I thought! I really need to stop converting prices. 

Unpronounceable Places Names

I may come from New Zealand’s most British City and living in Christchurch has prepared me well for knowing how to say Leicester and Worcestershire but how do I pronounce Southwark, Marylebone, Chiswick and Walthamstow?!

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So many new things to figure out before I can properly settle into London life! I’ll be sure to keep you updated soon on how the first month has turned out.