THE BLOG

Living in London: The 18 Month Itch

28/01/2016 10:04 GMT | Updated 27/01/2017 10:12 GMT

In many ways, moving to a new country is like dating someone new. First there's the getting to know them stage; you're a bit uncertain and insecure as you tentatively seek out information, armed with a generous dose of superficial judgement. Stage two equals the exhilaration phase. You've decided you like it so you're swept up in the moment, thrilled at the prospect of something so new and exciting. You're blind to faults, you go with the flow...

It's going to take 2 weeks to open a UK bank account? No problem! I don't mind draining my savings while I wait, it's obviously a very thorough process...

The supermarket is only open for 6 hours on a Sunday? That's fine - work life balance right? I'll make sure I've got no plans between 12-6pm to grab those groceries...

The Piccadilly line has severe delays [again]? That's ok, I'm fine with a 2-hour commute, think how much of my book I can read...

Rose coloured glasses, anyone?

But once those come off, around about the year-and-a-half mark, say hello to the itch. Now, it doesn't mean it's all over red-rover, but consider it a significant speed bump that needs attention. I know, because 18 months in to living in London, my eyes are starting to wander.

So, what's the deal with London? Firstly, I'm amazed at how one city can elicit such emotions from one person - most days I swing from love to hate, often both in the same minute. And they're not moderate emotions either; I'm talking full blown adoration to complete annoyance. Jumping on a tube just in time rather than waiting another 2 minutes? Fist pump. Standing in a puddle as I jump off the bus? Deep, deep sorrow - not my new shoes...

It's not like London's flaws haven't always been there, it's just I hadn't noticed them during the honeymoon phase. But that doesn't mean the end for me and the Big Smoke - finding and accepting the UK's vibrant capital as one big contradiction full of stark contrasts and daily personal tests, makes it easier to manage my love-hate relationship. I'm finding the good in these 'oh god, London why?' scenarios:

It Can be Suffocating Yet It's Easy To Escape

If you don't like crowds, don't move to London. I've become overly familiar with other people's body odours in the last year and a half, and trust me, it's not a pleasant experience. The daily commute, the grocery trip, Friday night drinks - it's all a rather crowded affair. On the bright side, it's easy to escape from London's hustle and bustle; a 2-hour flight will have you in an entirely different country, or even better, you can indulge in a staycation at a local spa resort; Runnymede On Thames in Surrey is a fave of mine.

It's Expensive Yet The Best Things Are Free

A little sob involuntarily escapes from me due to London's exorbitant prices, sometimes three times a day. A cheeky morning hot beverage? £3.50 - sob. My weekly travel card £38 - sob. A low key dinner and one drink - £32 - sob. Yet, just like the song says, I have to agree that the best things in [London] life are free - there's no joy like the happiness I feel when I simply wander the streets of this city, visit a museum or peruse a gallery.

It's Freezing All The Time Yet It's Great For Fashion

Summer lasted about a week and the skies here are endlessly grey. This took a lot of adjusting to for the girl who'd grown up on the beautiful beaches of the sunny Gold Coast, Australia. Yet despite the negative Celsius winters and the endless drizzling rain, the fashion here is fantastic. You never look out of place in a chic hat, you can wrap up in luxury coats and thigh-high boots actually have a purpose.

So I guess it's true, for every wrong there is a right and for every London-test there is a triumph. At the end of the day, despite my love-hate relationship with this complex, infuriating, addictive city, I'll always keep coming back for more...

The post first appeared on Pearls Of Style.