13 Comments

  1. Susan Bowles
    May 3, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Justin, what you have experienced is not far from my experience when I first moved to London, however I was simply moving from Edinburgh!

    It is still a culture shock even being in Britain, I was shocked with how much walking you have to do, when home in Edinburgh I do nothing but drive.

    I would recomend spending some time simply walking around london, adventure into different parts that may look borig on the map. London is made up of multiple towns each with a different feel. You will notice the architecture change and the general environment with each town you venture in to.

    I have spend 5 hours at a time walking and exploring beautiful London.

    Enjoy it

  2. Paula Robinson
    April 1, 2011 @ 12:06 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. It got me thinking, what mine would have been if i was in Australia and what i would be saying. I really don’t know if i could stand a 24hr flight but i hope i would have as much fun as you’re having!

  3. Laurel
    March 31, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    It’s funny how the little things like saying “Alright?” instead of “How are you?” make you home sick, but it’s true.

  4. Katherina
    March 31, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Enjoyed this post. I’ve got several of my close friends living as expats in London…the same occurs with spanish people – you can find them everywhere. I guess that’s a big advantage of London, its so international!

  5. Jeremy B
    March 31, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    Interesting take on life in London as an expat. Didn’t realize fast food was so prominent there. Even though England doesn’t have the best reputation for its culinary offerings, I can see how easy it would be to gain weight there.

    • Andrew
      April 2, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

      From my meager experiences British food is like most northern european and naturally a bit heavy and fried. London is a big city and has tons of fast food of all different types, and with such pervasive public transport it is easier to avoid walking as much. Add the winter cold where it sucks to be outside at all, it is a great mix for gaining weight. This I know from Germany too.

      • Frau Dietz
        April 4, 2011 @ 10:55 am

        I feel the need to stick up for my homeland here! :) British food certainly does have a terrible reputation, a reputation which was at one time not undeserved, but of all the traditional classics – roast beef with yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie, pork with crackling, steak and kidney pudding, game pie, cornish pasties (yeugh), gammon, kedgeree, lancashire hotpot, scotch eggs, toad in the hole, bangers and mash, fish and chips… Eton mess, apple crumble, lemon posset, treacle tart… I could go on… and on… – yes of course all they can be done badly, yes a number of them aren’t exactly good for the waistline (everything in moderation!), but British food has long since shaken off its reputation for dull and stodgy food and is capable of the most fabulous, modern takes on its classics. Restaurants, pubs and gastropubs all over England (my experience of Scottish food is limited, and I have none at all of Welsh) frequently offer some of the most wonderful, flavoursome takes on traditional British food that you could imagine.

        And of course London offers fast food – and plenty of other awful food – it’s a huge city, but why on earth would you eat lunch at Subway (or worse) when you could go out for Vietnamese, Indian, Sushi/Japanese, Lebanese, Chinese, Turkish, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Scandinavian, French, Moroccan, Italian… the list goes on. I’ve been away from London for a year and there are of course plenty of new eateries that will have sprung up in the meantime but I would be more than happy to recommend some truly fabulous places to eat!

        On a final food point: I had to google “northern Europe” to see which countries were included :S but looking at the list, I have to say I’m hard pushed to find similarities between traditional British food and those dishes served in Scandinavia and the Baltics! :)

        One last thing: please, please don’t avoid walking around London. Apart from anything else, the public transport system is absolutely terrible ;) For me, walking is without question the best way of discovering any city (although London’s also pretty good on the back of a scooter!). As you wander, look up, look down, look all around you: I challenge you not to find something interesting to look at, even if you’ve walked down the same street 100 times.

        Wow! I had no idea I had any pro-London cells left in my body – guess you touched a nerve ;)

        • Andrew
          April 4, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

          Thank you for such a wonderful reply.
          I have no doubt that British and English food can be really lovingly prepared. There is also no doubt of the wonderful mix of nationalities in London that offer their take own take on food. I am a big fan of asian food (as presented to westerners anyway) and I miss mexican (as presented to Americans) a lot.

          I used “northern European” food to be a contrast to that of the Mediterranean countries. Things here above the Alps seem to be far heavier than the food I have seen traveling around near the Med. The climate forces(forced? is it still true in the age of heaters? dunno) this to an extent.

          From an expat as well as a worker point of view London can be a very different place than someone who is there to travel or growing up had far more time to explore. I agree in the idea that London is walkable. I Love walking around and exploring alley and sitting in a restaurant for an hour to try something tasty and new. Though if I had a job to get to and due to cost had to live quite a ways out of the city, I certainly couldn’t think about walking (apparently riding a bike is suicidal too) and grab food wherever and whenever I could. This is a different view of a city, though I don’t necessarily think other cities are much different. There are many little places I like to eat in Freiburg, but I often choose fast food due to restricted time/money at lunch hours. Public transport vs walking is the same thing, although here at least bike riding or walking is a viable option.

          Note this may not be what Justin or Jeremy (or heck even me in my first reply) were talking about but it is a point I wanted to make. Travel in a place and life there can end up with different ways of dealing with a place. Thanks for defending your city. :)

  6. Justin Morris
    March 30, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    Sure thing Ian, but I’m not too sure about the whole Fosters thing!

  7. Nicole
    March 30, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    Definitely! Drop me a line when you get here, always good to meet people from the blogosphere!
    I just started a site to help people making the big move over to London from Aus, so check it out if you want! http://www.moving-to-london-from-australia.com/

  8. Ian [EagerExistence]
    March 30, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    Thanks for the heads up! Looking forward to my own Expat experience coming up. If you’re still in town, we could get together for a Fosters :-p

  9. Nicole
    March 29, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Such a true account of what it’s like arriving here and not really knowing anything – apart from the fact you’re now living in a big bad city of 9 million people!

    I arrived here 5 years ago from Melbourne and I forget how much of an adjustment period there was…now Im just another Londoner rolling my eyes when I have to wait 2 minutes for the tube and saying ‘Alright’ with the rest of them!

    Enjoy your adventures!

  10. Frau Dietz
    March 29, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    Ahhh… that photo made me almost feel a bit like I might miss London.

    …No it’s alright, I’m over it ;)

    Great to hear someone else’s expat experience in my home town!