Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Birthday to Remember

Magic Dust: Red Velvet Cake from Candy Cakes

A View from The Top (aka Primrose Hill)

Greek Food Explosion at Lemonia

A Fitting Finale: Cake and Coffee at Le Pain Quotidien

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not a Tourist

You must be thinking...what sort of blogger sets up a new blog and then vanishes for two weeks. Well, this one has simply been awfully busy. And would you believe it; I haven't been back to Charing Cross Road or to any of the museums or even to see a play last two weeks. Instead of doing all the things that tourists do, I've been busy making London my home.

But it's hard and it's quite involved - this whole process of settling into a new country. Some things are just the same and others completely surprised me. So here they are, the top five surprises in my transition from a tourist to a Londoner:

1. We can all agree right now that London's pretty. There are all those houses, hundreds of years old, and yet they look so gorgeous, so well maintained. And then you start going round with agents to look for a flat to live in and reality hits you.

Central London has what they call "conversions" - old-time houses split into apartments - and they are really split any which way. The "downstairs" where Jeeves and other servants used to spend their time ages ago is now nicely described as a lower ground floor apartment, but is actually a dingy basement. And if your agent ever describes anything as cozy, you probably wont have standing room after you fit in the furniture.

The good news is that I am past that and completely settled into my apartment.

2. Healthcare is AMAZING!!! I mean, you register with a doctor and then everything is free. Just how cool is that!

3. Being a student has tons of advantages. You don't pay council tax, you get loads of discount on public transport and there are actually restaurants near my school that offer "student rates".

4. Will a Londoner please explain to me why you need a license to watch TV. So in London, you first buy a TV, then you pay for the connection. But that's not all. You then also pay for a license so you can legally watch your TV. The logic truly and fully escapes me.

5. Free broadband is everywhere and it is actually a lot faster than I've seen anywhere before.

And a bonus point, but this is something you probably knew even as a tourist - Londoners continue to be obsessed with weather. We've been having an awfully mild winter and you would think it would make people happy but here goes - every conversation starts with "Isn't the weather...."

Before I go, just a little pointer here. Classes have been really hectic but I promise to be a good blogger and be back with more updates. So do check back same time next week.