It’s been about two and a half weeks since I moved here. I am still not home (it won’t feel like home until I have internet access in my apartment), but I look forward to settling in. Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts:
1. Just before leaving Norway, I noticed that I was using the word “practical” too much. I described everything as convenient and useful. Now that I live in London, my new over-used word is “ridiculous.” No water pressure in the shower if my flatmate is doing the dishes downstairs? Ridiculous. Purely decorative balconies, with no doors from the house? Ridiculous. It takes 14 days for Virgin Media to connect me to the internet? Ridiculous. I can’t buy one beer; I have to buy six? Ridi. no, practical.
2. I like British friendliness to strangers (let’s shorten it to FTS). Norwegian FTS doesn’t exist in cities. French FTS doesn’t exist at all. American FTS goes way too far (There is no way the sales assistants at department stores like my outfits that much). British FTS is all about small talk.
3. Small talk, contrary to popular belief, does not necessarily revolve around the weather. The important question is how you got to where the small talk took place. Did you take a bus or a train? How delayed was the London underground today? (Apparently, this last week was historically bad, tube-delay-wise.)
4. The London School of Economics and Political Science (let’s shorten that to LSE) wasn’t joking when it described itself as “international” and “diverse”. I don’t think I’ve met any English students so far. I’ve met plenty of Norwegians though.
6. There doesn’t seem to be ANY connection between what the weather is like and what the English Londoners are wearing.
7. Although I like to believe you can do anything in London, being spontaneous is a lot harder here than in a tiny city like Oslo. It takes you two hours to get anywhere, and once you’re there, so are thousands of other people.
8. I think I will start speaking British English with an American accent. Queue is a distinct word, more specific than line. Flat is shorter than apartment. As long as we aren’t sharing rooms, I live with my flatmate, not my roommate. Our flat isn’t flat though; it has stairs.
9. Most of the advertisements on the underground are for books or cultural events. I like this. And I like that I see so many people on public transport reading novels.
10. I also like that no matter where you go, there will be a pub serving fish and chips and an assortment of beers on tap. I am writing this at my new local pub, surrounded by families, couples, the pub’s dog, and a few people like me, with laptops and coffee.