Do you know what they say? If something does really well continue to do that same thing over and over until everyone gets sick of it.
Haven’t heard that one? Well you have now. Following on from the wild (for me) success of 9 Ways Living in London Will Change You, here’s 9 MORE ways. Fun, right?
But really, living in London is a constant lesson and I feel like I’m constantly noticing new behaviours and habits I’ve picked up in the (relatively) short time I’ve been here. So here’s 9 more I’ve noticed recently!
Never had hayfever before? You do now.
I have never had hayfever before in my life. I thought it was just a fancy way of saying you have the sniffles. I didn’t think it was a thing that could affect your entire day and reduce you to a hacking, weeping, snot machine incapable of basic function. One-a-day allergy tablets have taken pride of place on my bedside table next to the Pill, and regularly gets taken like it’s an as-many-as-you-can-while-still-operating-heavy-machinery-a-day allergy tablet. And I mean, even then, it’s not like I drive a car anymore.
You become the lowest maintenance version of yourself
I’ve never been particularly high maintenance. I don’t like spending a lot of money on beauty products, and my relationship with shaving can largely be described as “reluctantly obliged.” But I got my hair done every 6 weeks, and regularly got my eyebrows threaded. I wore eyeliner every single day I stepped outside my house, and you bet I was wearing a bra and not wearing trackpants.
Since moving to London a bit over a year ago, I’ve had my hair coloured twice. The second time was literally just this week. I didn’t shave my legs at all between the months of October and January 2017, and I’ve gotten in the habit of casually picking off the chipped remains of my nail polish while walking down the street. I do my own eyebrows when I can be bothered, and a bra has become largely optional. I went to the movies on Saturday night in what could loosely be described as pyjamas. I can’t wear eyeliner anymore because of the aforementioned hayfever but to be honest, if I wasn’t so sleep and sun deprived I’d stop wearing makeup altogether.
Meanwhile though, your hair and skin will start doing the wildest shit possible
My hair has never grown faster than it does here, and I don’t get it. I used to be obsessed with having long hair – like sleep in coconut oil and take weekly progression photos obsessed. I cut it off and never looked back, and now I’ve somehow hacked hair growth by moving to London and washing it in gross limescale water and air-drying in extreme pollution.
I have heard that a lot of people have the opposite reaction though and start losing it by the handful. Acne breakouts you thought were left behind in your teens come back with a vengeance. And for me, my eczema that really only flared up in what Brisbane calls “winter”, is now a year round pleasure that’s affecting more areas of my skin than ever before.
You become excited by the prospect of fresh air.
Perhaps this half explains why everyone spends so much time in parks and green spaces in London, and why we’re all obsessed with house plants. It’s not long though before your appreciation for other cities and towns in Europe begins to include how good the air tastes, and how clear and fresh the water is. Legitimately, these two things feature in my recommendations for Amsterdam and Oslo – drink the tap water! Breathe deep this fresh air bequeathed to us from the Gods! Dance naked in the streets in relief, for thy Lord hast not forsaken thee!
A little scratchy throat isn’t something to be too concerned about
A day or two with a sore throat used to be a sure-fire way to get me to the doctor. But with a combination of the pollution, passive smoking and aforementioned pollen, a sore throat for a day or two or 30 is totally normal.
Legit, I recently had a sinus infection that I let get so bad that I had to attend an Urgent Care Centre to deal with the painfully swollen lymph nodes in my jaw and relentlessly bloody nose. I waited in the waiting room with a number of exciting characters for 3 hours before being manhandled by an overworked NHS doctor for 5 minutes and prescribed two different types of antibiotics. Good Times.
You are immune to gross things
You are no longer disgusted, surprised or amused by vomit on the side of the road. I don’t care what day of the week it is, if you live even remotely near a Belushi’s, vomit is just part of the scenery now. Dog poops every couple of steps? No worries. Black mould in your bathroom? She’ll be right. Mouse infestation? Well, that’s just London innit? This is your life now.
Your concept of spacious and affordable becomes warped real fast.
I once walked out of a viewing for a 2 bedroom flat in Brisbane, thoroughly annoyed and thinking about writing a sternly worded email to the real estate. I thought the flat was wildly overpriced at $400 a week because the rooms were too small and the apartment block was too noisy and crowded. These days it would seem like the most affordable palace I’d ever seen, and not just because it was built in the last decade (not the last century).
Your priorities change, dramatically
I don’t really want to put too much emphasis on how much time I spent in shopping centres back home, but lets just say I’m now at about 1% of that, and only when under duress. In Brisbane, going to the mall was a fun day out, but now I am on the clock, in and out as fast as I can so I don’t impulse buy something. I used to be all for it, but I can’t get past that feeling I’ve wasted my money now. When I’m already penny pinching, splurging on a new pair of boots just seems illogical – especially when the cost of those boots could probably get me to Berlin and back.
You put on weight, and you aren’t 100% sure why.
I mean sure, you’re probably drinking more and eating slightly worse because you’re suddenly existing on a diet akin to what you consumed at university, except now you don’t have the metabolism to cope with it. But you still go to the gym regularly, and you definitely walk more because you don’t have a car. So where are these kilograms coming from?
I’m sorry to say it, but the only people I’ve known to move to London who haven’t magically gained weight are extreme gym users. If you’re a light to moderate gym user (like me (lol)), expect to pack on a few. Of course, this is all totally anecdotal because I don’t actually go around surveying expats about their weight gain, BUT I was warned about the Heathrow Injection before I moved here. And I laughed and said I wouldn’t allow that to happen BUT HERE WE ARE.