I’ve lived in London now for more than seven years. I’m originally from Brighton which isn’t at all far in terms of distance, but has quite a different feel.
Like many people I moved here for new opportunities and new experiences. In my own case, when I came here I started off as a political intern, including working in Parliament, something of course I could only have done in London.
I am the first to admit I have a bit of a bittersweet relationship with London. It will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I met Nisha and because it is the most inspiring and ‘alive’ place I’ve ever lived. However I also find it impersonal, overwhelming and expensive!
I was thinking what I will miss most about living here and I think I can sum it up in five points:
1) The people– Of course I primarily mean the people I have counted as friends, colleagues and peers. Also though, everyone who makes up the city. Not a week goes by when I don’t meet, read about, or hear about someone new here that inspires me.
2) The opportunities– Obviously there are many amazing opportunities in terms of a career. Much more than that though, whatever you like, you will find it here in spades.
Working 😉 #Coffee #cafe #charity #ethicalbusiness #meetings #bricklane #lovelondon #socialenterprise A photo posted by Nisha Kotecha (@nishakotecha) on
For example, I like coffee. If I lived in a small town I might be able to frequent the one decent coffee shop. In London I was able to track down a recent winner of the World Barista Championships, who made me my first ever flat white in a pop up space in a men’s clothing shop. Whatever your passion, you will find a place that caters to it and people who care about it as much if not more than you do.
#londoncocktailweek guide- this is the fifth consecutive year for me and my now wife 🙂 #drinkupldn #cocktails #spirits #london #rum #gin #vodka #tequila #whisky #whiskey #brandy #mixers #ice #cocktailbar #cocktailshaker #cosmopolitan #margarita #daquiri #angosturabitters #mojito #drinks #alcohol #bars #bourbon #cachaca #vermouth #liqueur
A photo posted by Alexander Peter Swallow (@oneswallow) on
3) The cultural mix– I’d say this is my number one favourite thing about London. Of the places I have visited worldwide, only New York and Toronto have some similarities in this sense. I have been a private tutor for Tamil children; lived in a majority-Bangladeshi area; lived in a Jewish area where I mainly shopped in a Polish shop; and seen my best friends from Romania move to this country and thrive in London.
4) The global nature of the city– London’s history and global reach are amazing. It’s hard not to sound arrogant when saying it, but there is a feeling you are at one of the centres of things.
Being here during the London Olympics and Paralympics (especially as I lived two tube stops from the Olympic Stadium) was an amazing experience.
5) The way it endlessly reinvents itself– London never stays still. If you visit an area, by the time you next visit it will have new things to see and do. Since I’ve been here the whole of the Olympic site has been built, the tallest building in the UK has gone up and much more besides. Those are the big changes, but in a million little ways too, London changes each day.