Friday, May 7, 2010

London and the Aussie Sheep syndrome

This is a blog Im bringing over from my old myspace account... At the time i was living in London (only for 5 weeks though) working as a nanny, and this is my account of the impression the place left on me... by the way please excuse the lack of punctuation and spelling mistakes, when I used to blog it was when I really had something to say and let my mind fly onto the screen and not worried about editing it...

Its hard to write about london, because its so big and every area is so different, but ill try! one thing that i can tell you, which comes as no surprise, is that its really expensive! just to travel into london from where I live and come home again costs me about £10 which sucks alot, since im really trying to spend as little as i can. Its hard not to spend money here, and i really try not to! just getting around costs money, i feel like even though i havent bought anything or done anything ive still spent more than i wanted to. but thats just this city for ya!

ive been to a few areas, i went with fran to brick lane which is a (apparently) bangladeshi area, and is well known for a massive array of curry houses to choose from, that are also pretty cheap. we had a curry which was pretty decent and walked around checking out pretty awesome (but expensive!) vintage shops. i found it pretty punky and alternative, with that grmy cool feeling, but fran felt like it was a bit put on.. i dont know, see it for yourself and decide!

i walked around tower hill (but didnt go in, for £16,50 i can get alot on portugal or croatia), in the city, the cathedral, trafalgar square and westminster (both of which i will never set foot in again - too many ppl, tourists and overpriced everything). Its definately a great place for history, there are always things to do and see... i went past a malaysia week festival, where they had music and art, ppl selling sate sticks, and bamboo fans and coconut drinks served in hollowed out coconuts... its an incredibly diverse city, with so much to do. but as i said before, its rarely cheap!

when i first got here i stayed with 2 friends in east acton. when i mention where i was staying alot of ppl pulled a face cos apparently its a bit dodgy... it didnt, and still doesnt, seem any more or less dodgy than where my ex lived in amsterdam and that got faces pulled as well! it was strange to first get there because it felt like being at home... driving on the other side of the road, everyone speaking english... i went to the supermarket and saw the same brands, the same kinds of foods - heinz baked beans, pies... and i immediately felt like being here wasnt challenging enough. i heard aussies in the supermarket, things were familiar and not hard to work out...i felt like id made the right choice in not going to live and work in london for the long term. it was just too easy. i had friends here and it seems like alot of ppl who are in london hang around with pretty much only aussies, maybe a kiwi or sth african scattered in there, and when hearing everyone talk about their holidays, everyone goes to the same places, with the same tour companies, to be surrounded my aussies. i wonder sometimes what everyone gets out of their experience when living and working in london? it seems like everyone does get to travel alot and thats great, i think travelling makes you a much more rounded person, but it seems like they just take alot of holidays, theyre not travelling. and if you dont understand the difference then i guess youre one of the holidayers ;) i dont really have a huge problem with that, its all personal preference, some ppl have full on jobs and the last thing they feel like doing when they get home is to organise a holiday in a country where half the websites are in another language etc. i can understand that. but i think alot of ppl arent getting the most out of their time away from australia...

why do ppl leave australia, to live in london and be surrounded by aussies? its such a multicultural city here, but it seems like alot of ppl who come here from abroad hang out with their own. but when i was living in amsterdam my circle of friends was so broad, an aussie, a sth african, americans, swedish, german, austrian, norwegian.. i used to hang out with a chick from peru... there were alt of indonesians in my first job in laren/blaricum, and it makes life alot more interesting. if i wanted to hang out with aussies i would have stayed at home. and ive since found out that alot of aussies are sheep. it seems like a big move to come and live overseas for a year or 2 and leave everything behind, but since coming to london for these 5 weeks ive seen its NOT a big move really...its surely different here, but its not THAT different. we come over here and go to aussie bars with aussie friends, go on aussie tours with other aussies. pamplona, sail greece/croatia, oktoberfest... those are all cool things to see and to experience but yeah, sometimes i think ppl go just to go, cos half their mates are going... but this is all coming from someone who goes everywhere alone, because no one ever wants to go where i go, or can take time off or whatever. and alot of the time i just see a cheap flight and book it without consulting anyone. mainly beacuse i know what most of the ppl i know, are like. i cant really count on them to come with me, ive been bailed on ALOT so now i just book stuff, if someone wants to come then awesome, if not, i have no problem being on my own.

it sounds like im bagging out all the aussies that come here... and on one side i am. on the other side i understand why ppl come here, you can earn a fair bit, you already have friends here and its an easy start for ppl who have never lived overseas before. I had the luxury of going on exchange and so that was my introduction to living abroad and it was very hard sometimes, esp since i went to germany and spoke not a lick of german. but i came out of that a much stronger and experienced person. i wonder how much stronger and experienced ppl are who come with the masses of aussies? i guess it depends on how you are before you come... some ppl are real homebodies and to leave their comfort zone is a big thing. courage has nothing to do with the things you do, its the reason you do it. if you do something that scares you, then youre brave. going to live in london for me personally isnt brave at all, its very safe and easy. however for some others to go that far away from family and friends is a big step. but over the years i think ive figured out that my comfort zone is being out of my comfort zone.

i think london is def a place ppl need to see, and its a huge and expensive place... i think to really get to know it, you need to be here a while.. i havent seen ALOT and ive been here 5 weeks. you can earn alot, its a good base to travel from cos of the number of airports and budget airlines (which is in a steep decline atm). the only thing that i dont really love about it is the amount of aussies living here as sheep. funny thing is, im friends with alot of them! and dont really hold anything against them for it, its just the masses im not a big fan of.

another thing thats worth mentioning is the drug scene. coke is big here, cos its so cheap. ive been to 3 house parties and the mirrors racked up with lines of coke have been in the bathroom, on the living room table, or on the bedside table like a buffet. ppl give out pills like theyre offering around a bag of chips. funny thing is the pills here are so weak that ppl need to take 5 or 6 to get a similar effect of the ones in australia, so im told. and theyre not expensive either. some ppl are so into it that they get a blood nose from the coke, and its apparently their body telling them to "harden up". but then i sit there drinking booze all night killing my liver and brain cells (which dont grow back mind you) so who am i to judge?

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