Living in London: my first impressions

London Eye

“We’re still in that fun period where everything slightly new is exciting and worth telling home about.”

Like 8 million other souls, I can now say I live in London. South East London, mind you, in the depths of zone 4 suburbia and country fried chicken takeouts. It’s no Notting Hill, but we have a garden and a room twice the size of a zone 1 studio. I think we’re doing okay.

I do feel a little on the edge of it all, away from the sirens, lively street markets and general hustle and bustle. But as Tom likes to say, “he’s a zone 4 or 5 kinda guy”. Me? I think I’m a “zone wherever works for now kinda gal”. And for the short term, South East London suburbia is providing everything we need.

It’s been about two months since we left New Zealand. We’re still in that fun period where everything slightly new is exciting and worth telling home about, like how much cheaper yoghurt is over here and how cold it is already.

Here’s a quick round-up of my favourite novelties so far:

1. A fox lives in our back garden.

He sleeps on top of the shed and walks with a limp. Although he’s probably a pest and gets up to all sorts of mischief around the neighbourhood, I kinda like having him around. ‘He’ might be a girl but there’s no way I’m getting close enough to find out. So I’ve named it Harry.

2. Chocolate is cheap. And abundant.

There are so many new varieties to try! This is excellent. We’ve been working our way through the entire Green & Blacks selection, which incidentally, is available in New Zealand. The dark ginger is my favourite flavour so far.

3. We pay £15 a month for prepay phone credit and receive unlimited internet data.

Yes, unlimited. I don’t even want to know how much we’d have to pay for that back home.

4. It’s fun playing the ‘guess where we’re from game’.

Until people guess Australia, South Africa, Canada, America, England (?!) and then look at us blankly as if to say, ‘where else could you possibly hail from, strange creature?’

5. It’s equally fun seeing people’s reactions when you say ‘New Zealand’.

English people who know NZ usually ask us why on earth we moved here from ‘paradise’. One bank teller actually spent a good ten minutes trying to convince us to get back on the plane and go home. People who aren’t familiar with New Zealand either: a) stare at us blankly, or b) say something completely random and inaccurate about our weather.

I could go on, but I won’t. Ginger chocolate is calling my name.

Jess x

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