Travelling changes you, it has to. You learn to be more self-reliant, seize opportunities and problem solve.
Chatting with a few expat friends the other night got me thinking as we are at so many different stages of London life and settling in. I’m a lifer, I think we are settled here in the UK for the foreseeable and it’s not just my accent that has changed. It really got me thinking ‘what else has changed?’. Well, may I present my version of ‘Ten signs you’re becoming a Londoner’. The terms were decided with much
1. You are able to expertly apply make-up no matter what type of transport you are on; tube, cab, bus. *Bonus points – Boris Bike.
2. No gym is necessary. You tube surf, tourist dodge and have a favourite attack position in pavement Umbrella wars. *Bonus points – Walking down the left side of the escalator is not just common, but necessary (and you get to practise more tourist dodging as you tutt and herd them back to the right hand side).
3. You know every small garden/church yard/bench to eat your lunch on within a mile of your office. *Bonus points – you begin to consider Essex the ‘countryside’.
4. Curry is your default takeaway and you have your favourite flavour; generally something hot enough to scorch eyebrows for the boys and something tasty and mild for the ladies. Any deviation of curry-house and dish feels a little like you’re cheating. *Bonus points – You’ve discovered Bombay Potato Toasted Sandwiches. And you also know there is no going back from this anti-diet delight.
5. A daily commute of 40 minutes with one change is considered normal. You feel like you’ve won the commute trifecta when;
a) The train isn’t delayed
b) You score a newspaper
c) You can slip your bum on an actual seat
*Bonus points – you get ‘your’ seat – you know that one on the 8.17 train, one carriage in, second door, window seat closest to the door
6. You no longer even notice when your double decker bus goes passes the gothic wonders of the Houses of Parliament, just huff in annoyance that the media scrum are blocking the road and delaying your already late journey to work. *Bonus points – tutting or teeth sucking.
7. Nothing people are wearing surprises you at all. A pink-spandex all-in-one; barely a blink. Russian soldier uniform complete with moustache & shiny boots; meh. A parade of Power Rangers running through Shoreditch; yawn. *Bonus points – Your legs aren’t just white at the end of winter, they are a lovely shade of blue.
8. The tube map is imprinted on your mind, and you plan nights out by proximity to tube station. *Bonus points – Street level navigation is soley by pub.
9. You support a Football team. *Bonus point – even when they’re losing *cough* *Liverpool* *cough*
10. ‘Alright’ is a greeting not really a question, you eat ‘sarnies’, ‘crisps’ and ‘sweets’ for lunch, and pie is served with parsley sauce. *Bonus points – You spend more than your monthly rent on lunch at pop-up/kerbside lunch bars.
0-3: Still a noob.
4-8: Many things to learn grasshopper.
9-11:Not a bad score, settling in, you are getting to know the lay of the land
11-15: Almost a London Ninja.
16-20: Don your Pearly coat, it’s Pie Mash n Liquor all the way guv’nor!
What’s your score? What would you also suggest?