© 2018 by Ilaria Vigilante.

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  • Ilaria Vigilante

Living in London

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

How it was to move from Italy to London

London Bridge

Why did I decide to move again from my hometown to another place?

Truth is, I am a traveller. After a year spent in Dalian and two years in Venice, I went back home and in little more than eight months I was starting to feel restless, again. However, it took a while before I realized what was really going on in my mind.

I needed to learn some new stories, to visit other places and experience life elsewhere.

The final decision took less than a day. I decided to reach my sister in London, and the next day I had the plane ticket from Orio al Serio airport to London Stansted.

Moving North

It wasn't the first time I visited London, or Great Britain in general, but I have always been here as a tourist. Everyday was organised so that I could see the most of attractions in a few days. Now, I can't deny the distinction between the way I used to see London in my touristic trips and the way I start to see it now. Living in this huge city is reeeeeally different and the Difference with the capitol D is knowing that I'm going to stay. Seems obvious, right? Only, realizing this kind of stuff isn't immediate or easy in any way.

First things first, I make an appointment to get my National Insurance Number, which will allow me to work in the UK. It has been pretty easy, and in a week I did my interview at Walthamstow Job Centre, the nearest to my apartment. Then, I passed the first week sending applications online... To be honest, I was still trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. I will maybe talk about this in another post.

Lloyd Park and William Morris Gallery

Anyway, the neighborhood I'm living in is nice, lively, and has almost everything at hand. On the main street we have the market every couple days, the tube is less than five minutes walk away, and so are the mall and the groceries store. There's a funny acoustic in the street, though, and from the apartment I can hear everything that happens outside. Some people are really loud, but I'm getting used to it. I can lean on the balcony and watch them, trying to imagine their stories...

There are some things that still look weird to me, though. For instance, I don't know if I will ever be able to feel comfortable with the left-driving; I never know which side I should look at first when I cross the street, so I always end up turning my head in every direction while I'm crossing. You might have heard that Italian are crazy at driving (I don't think so, especially if compared with the Chinese cabbies in Beijing); however, I wouldn't put it past a London bus driver, though it is pretty fun to sit in the front at the second floor! And how much I love the Oyster card? Maybe it's just because in Italy we're used to buy tickets or membership cards for every single transport, and finally having only one thing for all of them is so convenient. Moreover, they're mostly on time. I know it sounds like a stereotype, but even in Milan we're used from five to ten minutes of delay, so we really don't notice if the train arrives a couple minutes later. The weather here isn't that bad, since it's springtime, and much cooler than the hot, humid weather we have in Northern Italy at the end of May. Even if I did expect it, I was surprised to be able to wear long jeans instead of shorts - I know, many people already wear them no problem, but I'm very sensitive to colder weathers. I imagine I should get used to that before winter arrives. Brrr.

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