My London Adventure

You know you’ve been in London a while when…

…You don’t make eye contact with people on the street

Here, that is not a thing. You mind your own business. Plus, if you make eye contact with the street vendors, they might try to sell you things, and you have somewhere to be. No thanks.

…You’ve been asked for directions, and can give them

We must have this look like we know what we’re doing.

…You know which line on the Tube to use without consulting a map

Wanna go to St. Paul’s? That’s the Central Line.

Wanna go to Covent Gardens? That’s the Piccadilly Line. And you may or may not stop there, depending on the direction you’re going. You might have to go to Leicester Square and walk.

Also, the Bakerloo and Northern lines don’t currently stop at Embankment because of work they’re doing on the station.

See?

…Crossing the street is no longer a frightening prospect

We don’t even have to look at the arrows anymore. And, we know how to read the patterns of traffic. Watch those blinkers! (They don’t always use them before they turn).

…You learned to use the maps on the bus stops

They don’t label every stop on every route. And they don’t always stop at every stop. Make sure you’re paying attention and push the button, just in case.

…You learned sometimes the bus is faster than a Tube

Don’t try to take the Tube to Waterloo station from Holborn, you’ll be walking extra. Instead, take one of the at least four buses that stops there. They stop right at the entrance.

…You found the buses are nicer than the Tube if you have the time

London is beautiful if you aren’t surrounded by cement. And you don’t have to walk down any stairs to get to the bus.

…Squeezing onto the Tube at rush hour is no big feat

You move down into the car. You use all available doors. And most importantly, you let people get off the car before you try boarding.

…You know the peak times of the Tube

9ish in the morning is a bad time to travel, as is 5-7ish. Also, don’t expect a seat around lunch time.

…You have the thought “oh, those Americans,” before you realize that used to be you

We were coming home from Richmond last week and there was group of students, much like ourselves, who were being loud. We could hear them from the other end of the car. That used to be us. It isn’t so much anymore.

…You say “sorry” instead of “excuse me” when you run into someone or need them to move

I’ve also heard “cheers.” “Sorry” is the one I use.

…You know you either walk and drink your coffee, or you wait; don’t hold up the people behind you

I do not walk and drink, I would spill coffee down the front of my shirt. I wait until I have stopped moving, like on the escalator or at a Tube stop to take a sip.

…You watch movies and think, “been there, done that”

London Movie Collage

…You also know what else is going on outside the frame of pictures

Shakespeare’s globe is on the other side of Millennium Bridge.

The Houses of Parliament are next to Big Ben.

…The constant noise of the city doesn’t phase you

Listening to people walk by my window is even entertaining sometimes. Sirens and car horns don’t even keep me up anymore.

…The loud silence on the tube is not a thing you feel like you need to fill

There’s this odd silence on the Tube. No one talks.

We used to talk on our way places. Now, it’s almost like conversation ceases when we board. All you hear is the Tube rushing through the tunnels and maybe the wind whistling through the windows.

…There’s a certain level of organized chaos that goes with all public places

I spent yesterday morning in Camden Market. While I was alone, it was interesting to see people interacting with each other: vendors with customers, parents with their children, friends, couples. It was interesting.

…The prospect of the Bank/Monument tube stop walk, while dreadful, is no longer foreboding

It’s a long walk, but sometimes it must be done.

…You know you stand on the right side of the escalator and walk on the left, period

There are signs everywhere. And you do not want to get in someone’s way.

…You know bicyclists don’t follow all the rules of drivers or pedestrians

Sometimes, they get off, walk their bike across the street, and get back on and keep riding. Sometimes they don’t stop at the light. You’ve gotta keep a pretty close eye on them.

…Awareness of your surroundings is key

Don’t get run over by a bus because you were watching for bikes in the wrong directions. Also, just being aware of who is around you is good. Don’t let that creepy guy catch you unawares.

…You expect to visit the grocery store again in about 3 days’ time, if not less

Seriously. Things here will spoil in that amount of time, especially the fruits and vegetables. If you don’t really need it today, wait.

…You know which side of the road to stand on to get on the bus

Which way did you come from, which way do you need to go?

…You recognize the landmarks they use on the bus stops

Toward St. Paul’s? Know where that is in relation to my flat. Toward Holborn? That’s near home. Toward Aldwych? I can get us home from there.

…You know you have to ask for the check, or you’ll be sitting a while

Servers will clear your table and still not bring you the check. Ask. Or you’ll be late. On the upside, I’ve never felt like they were rushing me out the door.

…You know you don’t call a taxi; it’s cheaper to get on the bus

Taxi’s are the most expensive way to travel. Besides, a little walking is probably good for you.

…You live in a flat, not an apartment

And apparently not a house, as everyone keeps reminding me. Whatever.

…Seeing people in full business suits is not strange

That’s a perfectly expected way to get to work. So, nice shoes, nice clothes, on a bike.

…Topping up your Oyster Card is different from renewing it

They made it very clear. We needed to renew them because topping them up was just going to add money to them which would then be deducted every time we used it. Not what we wanted from the world.

…You regularly offer people a “cuppa tea” when they come over

But really. We’re all studying? “Anyone want some tea?” All stressed out? “Can I get you a cup of tea?” Just had dinner? “Would you like some tea?” I’m bored. “I’m making tea for myself. Anyone else want some?”

…Movies all of sudden start making even more sense

The uniforms in Harry Potter are standard issue for the schools here, except for the pointed hats; here, they wear top hats.

…Accents are not a thing you notice anymore

It’s gotten harder for me to be able to tell if someone has an accent. I’ve just gotten used to the British accents, and all the other accents, too.

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