Over winter break, I spent 2 and a half weeks in London to visit my family. I had not been there since the summer before my freshman year of high school, so I looked forward to the new adventures lying ahead. I had already done all the touristy stuff before, so I had more time to explore (which I actually ended up not doing too much of). I even got to see one of my old friends from high school, Hiroki, since he goes to college there! I had always thought that I would prefer to live in London if not New York City, and I still do. However, like every city there are things I love and hate about it. Do not even get me started on my love/hate relationship with the MTA.
While London is a really nice place, I do not miss it entirely. Growing up as an extroverted, loud, New Yorker, I just did not fit in with some of the lifestyle of the more reserved British folk. I overall would still love to live there, but there are things I can go without.
1. How Material Items are MUCH more Expensive There
There is a downside to having been a math nerd in high school. Basically what I am saying is, shopping always made my head spin. I went to Zara at the shopping mall there, and saw this cute sweater that was on sale for £20. Now being from New York City, I would usually find that to be a good price, if it were in dollars. Thing is, $1 was equal to £0.75, so what seemed like a good price for a sweater was actually around $26-$27! It is not a huge difference, but being in a different country with a limited amount of pocket money had me acting more frugal than usual.
2. How I Almost Got Hit by a Car EVERY TIME I Crossed the Street
As many people know, Americans drive on the right side of the road. This means that we look left first, then right when crossing the street. Now with this direction set in stone within my neck and head, I practically almost died every time I wanted to cross a road. It was also quite stupid since there were literally signs on the ground in front of me that said “LOOK RIGHT”. Muscle memory can truly be your enemy if you travel around the world.
3. The Food
I cannot really say much about this. I grew up in NYC, so there is not really anything I have not tried before. I do think our McDonalds tastes better though (probably because it has a higher fat content that contributes to the taste). Everything just seemed the same as American food. I probably have eaten more burgers and fried chicken there in the span of two weeks than I do in a year in the US. I do however miss the one thing I would order from Nandos though! I think it was a sunset burger or something like that.
There is a flip side to every story, so let me tell you the things I love about London that I do miss. In fact, these are the things that are driving me to book the next plane ticket out for my next break (if I have enough money, of course).
1. The Legal Drinking Age
(This was on my cousin's snap story) I am 18 years old, and I reside in the United States. This means that I have to wait until I am 21 to crack open a cold one with my boys (and gals). I mean, as a college student we all know the drinking age has not really stopped us from consuming liquor, but do you know how nice it was to present my real ID card and get granted entry. My cousin’s friends even thought it was quite funny how I didn’t know what or how to order at the bar since I do not do so in the states. I almost always opted for the fancy cocktails that tasted so much better than my mediocre homemade creations. I also just had to stock up at the duty free in the airport just because I could. (DISCLAIMER: I am not an alcoholic.)
2. My Family There
My family there includes my uncle, aunt, and three of my cousins. Before this time, the last time I saw them was about a year and a half ago, and about three years before then. They are the extended family members that I prefer to be around as opposed to others. I absolutely love my Tito Noel and Tita Leah for letting me stay with them and for taking care of me. My youngest cousin there, Skye, is a bit of a mini menace, but is also one of the most adorable kids ever. Lastly my two uglies, Godwin and Everest who have tolerated me, my attitude, and my antics every time I see them. They are both also good looking and single, ladies (as far as I know) *winky face*.
3. My Cousin's Friends
As I mentioned in a previous article, my cousin, Godwin, had introduced me to some of his friends. Let me tell you that they are some of the most chill people I have ever met. It was so nice spending time with people without drama or beef attached to them. They were all so friendly and I really wish I could see them again. I also apologize for how drunk I was the last time I saw you guys, whoops. But hey Weenie, you did something right for once by sharing your buddies with me!
I really would love to go back to London whether it be for vacation or for school. I even asked my advisor if I could study abroad there for one semester, so I am looking into it! Until then loves, I will just stick to New York City and Oswego.